The New Year is a great time to reflect on the past year and identify some areas of improvement for the coming year.
For school administrators, making New Year’s resolutions in January may seem counterintuitive. January is midway through the school year, and you don’t want to start making major changes right before the spring semester begins. But these resolutions don’t need to be major. In fact, they can be as simple as re-affirming your vision for the school year.
Here are just a few ideas for 2022 New Year’s resolutions for school administrators.
Re-affirm or re-focus your vision for the school year
Do you have a vision for the 2021-22 school year? By the time the spring semester rolls around, it’s hard to remember your good intentions from August.
No matter what you wanted to focus on this school year, the New Year is a great time to reassess your vision. Is it still valid at this point in the school year? Do you need to shift your focus a little bit to address a different side of an issue?
Take some time before classes start back up to think through the personal and professional goals you set over the summer and write down how they developed over the fall semester. Then, create a plan to continue working toward those goals in the spring semester or re-affirm that vision if you got off track.
Continue fostering a positive school environment
It’s no secret that teacher burnout is on the rise. The past two years aren’t what any of us could have ever imagined.
School districts are trying all kinds of creative things to fight teacher burnout and boost morale. Two districts in Virginia are even implementing early dismissal times on select Wednesdays to give teachers more planning time.
Changes like this aren’t viable for every school district. You know your district and teachers best, so take some time to understand what they need and then make some changes. Ideas include re-evaluating mental health resources, offering optional after-school fun, and sending out a weekly newsletter with uplifting content.
Focus on your students’ mental health
Student mental health is at an all-time low. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry declared a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health late last year. Just last month, the U.S. Surgeon General reiterated this concern by issuing a public health advisory stating that symptoms of anxiety and depression in youth have doubled during the pandemic.
In 2018, suicide was already the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24. The pandemic has only exacerbated this issue, and emergency departments have seen dramatic increases in mental health emergencies, including suicide attempts, since March of 2020, according to the AAP.
As a school administrator, you have the opportunity to make an impact on your student body during one of the darkest emotional times in recent history. American Addiction Centers provides a few ideas for how you can help support your students’ mental health, such as:
- Implementing time and safe spaces in class for regular check-ins with students
- Providing basic mental health training to all teachers
- Providing basic mental health training to all students
- Having a wellness center on campus, designed by students and easily accessible to all students
- Having regular open events for parents to attend to learn more about student mental health and how to support their child
Track down missing students and bring them back to school
As many as 3 million students disappeared from U.S. public schools after the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020, according to a study from Bellweather Education Partners. Many of these students are still unaccounted for.
In 2022, many school administrators have plans to continue looking for and re-enrolling these students. It’s equally important to make sure you have solutions for how they can stay engaged once they have made the decision to continue their education. The pandemic revealed many barriers to engagement that neither began with the pandemic nor have been resolved. It provided Graduation Alliance the opportunity to ask students and families about these barriers. For some students, their absence was as simple as not having a computer or internet connection to participate in online classes. For others, it was more complex.
According to the same study from Bellweather, many of these missing students left school because they needed to work to provide for their families or care for younger siblings. Students who were already disadvantaged prior to COVID-19 were heavily impacted by the pandemic as well.
All of this goes to show that we need to support our students now more than ever. You may already have dropout prevention programs in place to catch students who are slipping through the cracks, but do you have a team to reach down and pull students who have already fallen back up?
Graduation Alliance’s dropout recovery program deploys a team of re-engagement experts that tracks down disengaged students through a multi-channel outreach strategy, brings them back to your district, and provides 360 degrees of support to ensure that students stay engaged, boosting district funding and increasing graduation rates.
Partner with Graduation Alliance in the New Year
Students who leave school often feel like they don’t have another choice. Even if they want to continue their education, many of them feel like they can’t because of the restrictions of the traditional classroom, such as required seat time and synchronous learning.
When you partner with Graduation Alliance, you’ll expand your educational offerings outside the walls of a classroom. Graduation Alliance provides the flexibility of pace and place. Students can complete courses online at any time and from anywhere and graduate from your school with their peers.
Graduation Alliance programs are truly a partnership with your district. Students remain 100% enrolled at your school, and Graduation Alliance acts as an extension of your offerings that provides students with the accountability, flexibility, and multi-tiered system of supports they need to graduate from high school.
These partnerships are often cost-neutral for districts and do not put any additional burdens on your staff. We provide experienced teachers and a support team for every student to help them with their academic and social-emotional needs.
While all of the resolutions we discussed are big, they aren’t unattainable. Take small steps each day toward improving workplace morale, boosting student mental health, and bringing back lost students.
Request more information now to learn how you can partner with Graduation Alliance in 2022!