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Leadership Best Practices | Staff and Student Well-Being

Now Trending in K-12 Education

September 9th, 2022

Black female teacher standing in the classroom and looking at camera. Elementary students are learning in the background.From social-emotional learning to AI technology, the upcoming trends for the 2022-2023 school year are bound to create waves of change throughout districts nationwide. A deep need for rethinking existing processes and addressing issues that can no longer be ignored have made way for innovative and creative solutions. Here are five changes for district leaders to keep in mind while starting the new school year:

A Focus On Mental Health & Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it an array of challenges for teachers, students, and education as a whole. With continuously changing policies and educational models, many were left feeling burnt out and dealing with increased stress levels. As a result, government officials and educational leaders are refocusing learning models to include mental health and social-emotional learning aspects (Van Ness, 2022).

In the past few years, at least 19 state governors have expressed their support for an expansion of mental health and wellness services in schools, including Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (Van Ness, 2022). This is especially critical for students from low-income backgrounds as integrating SEL into the classroom helps ensure that they receive critical support they might not be getting at home (Woolley-Wilson, 2022).

A Push to Increase Salaries for Teachers

K-12 education has seen an increase in teacher and principal attrition in the last few years. With higher stress levels and more responsibilities, many educators are retiring early or moving on to higher-paying jobs outside of the education field. One key strategy for increasing teacher retention rates is to ensure that professionals are fairly compensated.

Governors in at least 22 states have backed this up by advocating for increases to teacher salaries or bonuses for teachers and staff. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan, for example, announced a 7% raise for all teachers and higher starting salaries in an effort to boost retention (Van Ness, 2022).

A Call for More Professional Development

With so many changes happening in the educational landscape, teachers and education professionals need more support than ever before. A new focus on job-embedded professional development is emerging, especially as it relates to new classroom technologies for remote learning and data management. This increased support is critical for helping teachers adapt to new standards and practices within a transformed educational ecosystem (Woolley-Wilson, 2022).

Technology partners can also play a role in job-embedded professional development by helping to create and facilitate training programs on the technologies that teachers need to do their job effectively (Woolley-Wilson, 2022).

A Need to Redefine the Role of Teachers

Traditionally, teachers have been viewed as gatekeepers to knowledge. Nowadays, with more information than we know what to do with at our fingertips, that paradigm is quickly shifting. Armes (2022) discusses moving to view teachers more as facilitators who empower students to take learning into their own hands and instruct students on properly vetting sources. By allowing students to have more of a say in what they’re learning, it helps them build the skills needed to become self-starters in the professional realm.

Galasso (2019) highlights the benefits of creating equality-based classroom environments focused on respect and collaboration. In such environments, teachers regularly ask for feedback from students and implement it to show students the importance of their voice and opinions. She also recommends working together to develop classroom norms and standards, helping to level out the typical classroom hierarchy.

A Movement to Integrate AI and Data Solutions

As districts deal with teacher burnout and increased attrition rates, putting additional tasks and demands on teachers is not in the best interests of school leaders. We live in an era where technology can help make teachers’ jobs easier and improve the educational environment and learning experience as a whole.

For example, adaptive learning technologies now have the ability to supplement student education outside of the classroom, offering a replacement for time-consuming tutoring programs while boosting student engagement. They also allow educators to view data on student progress and learning trends, which can inform lesson plans and help teachers address knowledge gaps (Woolley-Wilson, 2022).

On the other side of things, AI-based solutions can automate tedious tasks that take up valuable time, such as grading, allowing teachers to focus more on student connections and instruction (Armes, 2022). When integrating new technologies, educational leadership should focus on streamlined, easy-to-learn solutions that make teachers’ lives easier rather than creating a significant learning curve (Woolley-Wilson, 2022).

Conclusion

Whether your district has already started to implement some of these solutions or is just beginning to consider them, they’re likely to be a major topic of conversation throughout this upcoming school year. With the education system in the midst of transformation, fostering innovation and treating the year as a fresh start is more critical than ever.

Did you know?

Our partner, PLS Classes can help with professional development for your teachers and staff. For example, the PLS Classes’ course, Social-Emotional Learning: Essential to Student Success™, is a graduate course where participants learn classroom-applicable strategies and activities for developing a social-emotional culture, while fostering each of the social-emotional areas in students. We can also partner with your district to offer a part of this course as an inservice, fully-facilitated professional development. Contact Sara Menegay, Director of Professional Learning, at smenegay@pls3rdlearning.com for more information.

References:

Armes, Cory. (2022). 2022 Education Trends That Might Excite You. Carnegie
Learning. https://www.carnegielearning.com/blog/2022-education-trends/

Galasso, Sarah. (2019). Carnegie Learning and One Stone High School: The
Student-Teacher Connection. Carnegie Learning. https://www.carnegielearning.com/blog/carnegie-learning-and-one-stone-teacher-student-connection-2/?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=website

Van Ness, Catherine. (2022). State K-12 Education Trends for 2022. National
Governors Association. https://www.nga.org/news/commentary/state-k-12-education-trends-for-2022/

Woolley-Wilson, Jessie. (2022). 3 Key Trends Driving K-12 Education Forward in
2022. District Administration (DA). https://districtadministration.com/3-key-trends-driving-k-12-education-forward-in-2022/

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