The nonprofit Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and several other organizations have released guidance to help schools meet the social and emotional needs of students as they return to school after prolonged closures. The 53-page document focuses on five main areas: building relationships between schools and families, supporting teachers, creating a supportive learning environment for students, using data to shape curriculum, and using strategies that support students. The document includes essential questions that principals, teachers, and school leaders should ask as they make plans to reopen schools—for example: How will we connect with students and families whose voices have not traditionally been elevated? How will we ensure clear, consistent, and culturally responsive communication that keeps all staff, students, families, and community partners informed and engaged? How will we use data to identify effective strategies our school will build on this fall to create supportive learning environments and promote social, emotional, and academic learning for all students? The guidelines also recommend steps that school leaders can take to prepare for the fall, centered on each major area.
On the laundry list of skills and content areas teachers have to cover, creativity doesn’t traditionally get top billing. It’s usually lumped together with other soft skills like communication and collaboration: Great to have, though not as important as reading or long division.
But research is showing that creativity isn’t just great to have. It’s an essential human skill — perhaps even an evolutionary imperative in our technology-driven world.
Salesforce has announced Work.com for Schools to help school administrators make data-driven decisions on when and how to return to campus safely, facilitate communication between teachers and families at scale, and support students remotely.
Bryan Lee, a rising senior at Harvard University, has spent the last several months building a videoconferencing system called Congregate. Its purpose is to recreate the moment of walking into a room and choosing which group of people to sit with.