Nearly four months into the academic year, with 2022 right around the corner, there is still a lot of time remaining to provide support to students who have been impacted by the trauma of disrupted schooling. For years to come, students will remember their pandemic school experience and the disruption and trauma it caused. They will also remember what the return to in-person school was like: their thoughts about their schoolwork, their readiness for the next course, and the feelings of being reunited with peers and ‘school.’ More importantly, they will remember gratefully the time, attention, and personalization they received from caring adults who designed just the right educational support necessary to ensure their success.
Sometimes with the onset of the holiday season, it can be all too easy to think that half of the year is almost gone by the time school resumes, so why bother? Isn’t it too late? It is never too late to reach out and provide the time, attention, and personalized support needed to help students recover lost learning or to ensure unfinished learning and prerequisites are in place. This is especially true for the most vulnerable students who were experiencing a gap in achievement even before the pandemic started. Innovative solutions such as high-dosage tutoring designed to provide targeted support to students who need it - can be implemented with ease, offered during the school day or during out-of-school hours with a tutor invested in ensuring that asset-based and curriculum-aligned instruction gets students back on track.
Thinking back to my own experiences of school I certainly cannot claim the impacts or trauma of a pandemic experience. What I can claim is the impact and trauma of the sudden and unexpected loss of a parent during my junior high school experience. I became disengaged from my schoolwork feeling a level of abandonment that was impacting my desire to attend school. I fell behind in my coursework and withdrew from social interaction and activities. It was a situation that required “intervention” even though on the surface, it appeared that everything was just fine.
I vividly recall an administrator who stepped into my disrupted world. He recognized I needed support. He was persistent and checked on me daily, engaging with my teachers about my progress, securing after-school help to get me back on track, making sure I had transportation, and ensuring that a counselor was checking in. At that young age, I thought he was intruding. Of course, it turns out this involvement and persistence - his caring - was exactly what I needed. He was my Champion. This administrator possessed an “it’s never too late” mindset, a mindset that can carry this generation through the course of healing socially, emotionally, and academically from the impacts of the pandemic.
During this season of reflection, it is with thanks and gratitude that we think of people who helped us along the way during our school years. We can name educators who extended a hand of help and support because they recognized the need even before we recognized it.
Without a doubt, those investing in personalized learning, customized to what a student needs most to recover, will be remembered long into the future. Students will be grateful for any and all additional time, attention, and support that resulted from an “it's never too late” mindset.
I certainly am grateful for the administrator who helped shape my life and I won’t forget his commitment to me, knowing that he didn’t have to go the extra distance that made all the difference in my life.
Thank you to the Champions who know - It’s never too late!