Branching Minds is excited to partner with The Jed Foundation (JED) to bring essential resources to high school classrooms through the Branching Minds Support Library. Informed by direct research with high school students about what they need as they graduate, these new support cards offer concrete tips, tools, and resources on a comprehensive range of topics geared toward helping students manage the transition out of high school. Carefully curated and evidence-based, these resources provide teachers and students with accessible and actionable advice to aid in this critical — and often difficult — transition.
We all have strengths and weaknesses, but in K-12 education, student weaknesses are often a focus of attention, while strengths fade into the background. Over the past decade, there has been a movement in education to capitalize on student strengths while using instructional practices that promote growth in areas that might need improvement.
Attendance plays an important role in a student’s school experience and learning outcomes — they can’t learn if they’re not there. But throughout the pandemic and following, attendance concerns have skyrocketed. A report from 2021 found that the rates of chronically absent students was 22% — double the rate from before the pandemic. Recent findings also show an increase in school refusals among students struggling with their mental health.
My experience in education has made me a true believer in the good things that can come from a fully implemented Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) practice. I worked with students who went from ditching daily to being eligible for graduation because they found a person on campus who saw their abilities and recognized them for their efforts until they grew toward success. When looking for a solution to behavior problems and disproportionalityon campus, PBIS is typically at the top of the search list. Many educators hesitate to invest in PBIS, though, because they have heard it is just “points and parties.” But a PBIS system, when implemented with fidelity, is so much more than acknowledgments and celebrations. And it is not a replacement for campus discipline procedures! Rather, PBIS is the behavior and attendance branch of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). Just like MTSS, PBIS is a three-tiered, evidence-based framework that enables the success of all students while improving social-emotional competence, academic success, and overall school climate. This blog will share the why and the how behind creating a campus-based PBIS practice with integrity.
It is widely recognized that students' sense of well-being plays an important role in learning outcomes. Therefore, it is no surprise that schools have a growing need for systemic practices that better support students' social, emotional, and behavioral needs. In a lot of cases, classroom teachers are the first people to recognize when students have an escalated need for support. Yet, most teachers do not have the training or available time that is needed to address intensive social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students on their own. This is why schools need to ensure that a system of support is in place along with practices and procedures for early identification and the implementation of supports and services before issues become escalated.
In education, I know what keeps me awake at night.
I would imagine that each professional in their chosen career, when asked, could identify the thing that keeps them up at night. For the day trader, it might be an unexpected stock market crash. The comedian could lie awake in fear of an empty auditorium. Restless nights may come to the dentist who lays awake thinking of drilling the wrong tooth, or the professional athlete who misses the field goal to miss the playoffs.
After over a decade in the school setting, I have a healthy collection of thank-you notes from students, colleagues, and mentors. These notes are reminders of my relationship with the individuals who took the time to write them. Often on hard days, I revisit these notes for encouragement and to remember my connection to those individuals.
Teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic brought about all kinds of challenges. My colleagues and I were relieved when we could go back to in-person learning, but it quickly became apparent that our students seemed to be missing a lot of important social-emotional skills. Unfortunately, the lack of socialization opportunities over the past two years and trying to re-learn how to engage in school left them falling behind in this area.
The educational landscape is changing rapidly, and student behavior is at or near the top of the list of concerns. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 84% of schools report a negative impact on student behavioral development due to the pandemic, and 87% report a negative impact on students’ socio-emotional development (NCES, 2022).