As districts across the country prepare to welcome students back into buildings for in-person learning, prioritizing health, safety, and the social-emotional development of students will be key—especially when it comes to accelerating academic achievement.
The reopening process for the 2021-22 academic year will be a challenging one; one that requires school and district leaders to anchor their work in belonging, care, community, and inclusivity.
A newly released brief from the U.S. Department of Education—titled the "Return to School Roadmap"—outlines a set of guidelines to help educators, school leaders, caregivers, and school communities safely return to in-person learning this fall.
News: Today, ED released the “Return to School Roadmap,” a resource to support students, schools, educators, & communities as they prepare to return to safe, healthy in-person learning this fall. #BackTogether https://t.co/zJMBlm0ahZ pic.twitter.com/8NbNIjIOE9— U.S. Department of Education (@usedgov) August 2, 2021
This roadmap builds on previous guidance outlined in the Department of Education's ED COVID-19 Handbook and covers three landmarks that, when combined with a comprehensive district-wide plan, can ensure that every student has the support and opportunities necessary to heal, learn, and grow.
- Landmark 1: Prioritize the health and safety of students, school personnel, and families.
- Landmark 2: Build school communities, and support students' social, emotional, and mental health.
- Landmark 3: Accelerate academic achievement.
Below, we summarize key takeaways from the roadmap and share how Panorama's platform, resources, and professional development align with each of the three landmarks. As you consider ways to build safe, supportive, and equitable learning environments in the upcoming school year, we hope that these recommendations and resources can act as a starting point.
Prioritize the health and safety of students, school personnel, and families.
- Work to ensure that the health and safety of school communities are the top priority as districts resume in-person learning.
- Families need to feel that their child is safe and healthy, and that they are supported as caregivers.
|U.S. DOE Recommendation
"We must re-engage parents and families as they return to school and return to work... we must welcome families back in authentically, listen and seek to understand their concerns."
Use the Panorama Family-School Relationships Survey—developed with Dr. Karen Mapp at the Harvard Graduate School of Education—to elevate family perspectives and establish a continuous feedback loop with your parents and caregivers.
Learn how Saddleback Valley Unified (CA) used Panorama's family surveys to have a conversation with families and act on their needs during distance learning.
"Communicate frequently with families – in their home language – and work to build their confidence that children will be safe in-person... respond to their needs, so that all families feel comfortable sending their students to school this fall."
Panorama’s online professional learning library, Playbook, contains research-backed strategies and activities designed to help school leaders and educators engage with caregivers in authentic and inclusive ways.
Build school communities, and support students' social, emotional, and mental health.
- In order to create a strong foundation for students' academic success, we must prioritize their social, emotional, and mental health. SEL can foster the safe, supportive, and equitable learning environments that ground students. It can also create the conditions for students to be able to engage in rigorous academic content.
- Families need to feel that their child is supported and set up for success in the transition to in-person learning this fall.
|U.S. DOE Recommendation
|"Assess the social-emotional needs of students and staff."
Use Panorama for Social-Emotional Learning, a research-backed SEL assessment and analytics platform, to measure SEL and school climate and identify opportunities for additional support.
Panorama for Social-Emotional Learning also includes survey measures for adults. Understand teacher and staff perceptions of well-being, capacity for SEL, and job satisfaction.
Panorama for SEL also includes student check-ins that can be administered on a more frequent basis to get a quick pulse on student SEL and well-being.
The platform allows administrators and educators to engage in data-based decision-making around SEL supports, with the ability to disaggregate data and group students for differentiated SEL interventions.
|"Invest in effective strategies to address the social and emotional needs of students."
Every year, Panorama’s Teaching and Learning team designs and delivers professional development for thousands of schools and districts on a variety of topics, including: SEL data inquiry and action planning, strategies for adult SEL and well-being, and mindfulness-based practices for educators and students.
In addition, Panorama’s Playbook, contains hundreds of evidence-based and research-backed SEL interventions, activities, lesson plans and strategies that are low lift and can be effectively embedded into the classroom or school building. These resources come from Panorama's expert partners, including: Second Step, Move This World, Open Circle, and Character Strong.
Accelerate academic achievement.
- There are still many unknowns when it comes to the 2020-21 academic year, but students will be returning to schools with heightened stress and anxiety. Supportive adults and family-school partnerships will play a large role in creating safe, consistent conditions that support students’ academic, social, and emotional development.
- Families need to know that their child is engaged and excelling academically.
|U.S. DOE Recommendation
"Invest in evidence-based strategies to address lost instructional time, especially for students most impacted by the pandemic."
"Identify gaps in academic opportunity."
Panorama pulls together all of the most important information on your students—across academics, behavior, and social-emotional learning. We make it easy to identify at-risk students, build intervention plans, and progress monitor in one place.
"As we start the 2021-2022 school year, schools and communities must address gaps that were exacerbated by the pandemic and build our education system back better than before."
Panorama Student Success helps schools and districts
Learn how the Morris School District (NJ) has been using Student Success to address systemic inequity.