This school year is in full swing. This is an exciting and busy time for both students and educators! As children are back to their busy schedules - with homework, home responsibilities, and extracurricular activities, it is important to support them and make sure they have the resources they need to succeed. The Newark Trust for Education has compiled useful tips from educators on how to navigate the transition from summer to school.

Build trusting relationships

Colleen Troiano, a school counselor at Salomé Ureña Elementary School, shares the importance of recognizing that students have a lot on their plates during the school year, and advises that “having consistent, trusting relationships with students is key.” She adds, “If we can make those connections, if we can be that safe space, that’s a huge win for us.”

When students trust their teachers and the adults around them, they aren’t as afraid to ask for help or reach out to obtain the additional resources they might need. Learners benefit from feeling valued and respected and knowing they have teachers who care. Courtney Davis from Roseville Community Charter School says, “There needs to be trust re-established with adults at the school.” Ultimately, strong relationships between students and teachers will help facilitate a strong learning experience and help improve mental health and behavior.

Incorporate regular check-ins

Learners are navigating new relationships, schedules, and learning materials. This can feel overwhelming as all changes are. Educators should consider regular check-ins with students to ensure they’re getting the support they need. Providing opportunities for extra tutoring or one-on-one time to go over particular concepts or lessons that may be challenging is also a best practice.

You can even allow students to write their own contributions to the check-in agenda to ensure that all the items they want to discuss are covered. Weekly or biweekly check-ins help learners know they have a designated time to get more help and support their teachers.

Help students set goals for the school year

Remote learning has changed how students learn, so the return to full-time in-person learning is a big adjustment. Courtney Davis from Roseville Community Charter School says, “Getting used to the demands of in-person schooling will take more time for some students.” Goal setting helps set expectations for the school year and is a fun way for learners to set specific objectives they want to achieve. Educators should encourage students to set both short-term and long-term goals that they can work toward throughout the year.

Setting goals produces positive outcomes, giving students the motivation and focus they for the success. They also help foster inner drive. Goals can range from improving in a specific subject area, to making new friends at school – or even trying a new activity for the first time.

Make sure that goals are clear and attainable and figure out the best way to track them. Teachers can work with students to ensure they are making progress and prioritizing the successes they aim for.

Since COVID began, learning has been disrupted. This school year, it is important to work in partnership with students, families, and communities to support students’ needs. This can be augmented by taking the time to establish trust, incorporating regular check-ins into our busy schedules, and helping learners set goals. They can view their successes, which, in turn, will inspire them to set goals in other areas of their lives.