Elevate Academy Participates in Monumental Study of Student Emotional Well Being
COVID-19 had a significant impact on the emotional well-being of K-12 students. Across the country, students were submitted to the chronic confusion and indecision which came with the early stages of lockdown. Virtual learning at home, back to school, learning at home, back to school. Young impressionable minds were jostled in and out of social and educational interactions, wresting them from the stability they are used to now. Evidence quickly arose that America’s children were suffering.
Sown To Grow (STG), an educational program provider operating out of Oakland, CA, funded by both the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation took an informational interest in the emotional status of K-12 students. Heritage Schools gladly contributed to STG’s exclusive study. A first-of-its-kind release, the data set created by the study illustrates how the emotional status of K-12 students stacked against each stage of the pandemic. The sample included more than 140,000 students across 40 states, providing 1.9 million data points. Now that the study has been released, data has quickly transformed into action. Educators, administrators, counselors, and other school officials utilize the data to assess their students and develop strategies for paying constructive attention to students who are struggling. This data allows schools to practice early interventions more methodically by recognizing trends.
Smile or Frown? How It Works
Students self-reported an emotional check-in week by week using a groundbreaking method of scale – emojis. Each week, students logged into an online platform, developed by STG. Five emojis represented emotional expressions, from visibly upset to visibly happy. Additionally, students were prompted with a question and a space to reflect about their feelings and experiences. The real work lies on the educator end of the platform. Teachers can respond to students with custom messaging or by using already drafted responses. Perhaps the most critical function of the STG system is the software’s ability to comb throughthe student’s self-reporting and flag any concerning information. Stay-at-home education locked
several students in abusive family environments. Students also experienced depression, the onset of mental health issues, and milestone events like the loss of someone close due to COVID. Subjects like abuse, violence, suicidal ideations, deaths, and other trigger topics are picked up by the system and then notified educators using the software.
A Roller Coaster of Resilience: Data from the Pandemic
As expected, the earliest stages of the pandemic saw a profound decrease in the emotional status of students. Ongoing, however, the data revealed another expectation about K-12-aged students: they’re remarkably resilient. So it is no surprise that when students were away from school, there was a drop in the positivity of their emotional status. Once students returned to school in person – to their friends, routines, teachers, and time away from home – they bounced right back, and their moods improved.
Tips for Managing Well-Being
Variants of the COVID-19 virus continue to populate and spread. Lockdowns could be a possibility in the future. Three distinct themes for helping students manage their emotional health came from the study. Regardless of whether or not a lockdown occurs again, helping students in these three areas can make a world of difference: Routine, Feelings, and Self-Disclosure:
- Routines help students create necessary and helpful consistency in their daily lives.
- Feelings should be a primary focus both at home and at school. Resilient as students are, they are better adept at learning when their emotions are balanced and expressed.
- Self-Disclosure offers secure spaces for students to express their experiences personally so that educators have a first-hand understanding of how students are truly doing.
Located in Provo, Utah, The Elevate Academy is a leading youth residential treatment center that serves adolescents struggling with the effects of depression, mood disorders, anxiety, trauma, adverse childhood experiences, attachment, and adoption issues. These often overlap with learning disabilities, school avoidance or refusal, self-harm, oppositional defiance disorder, or mild aggression. We engage students in academics, individual and group therapy, experiential activities, studio therapy, and equine therapy. For more information, please visit us on the web at www.elevate.heritagertc.org or email us at email@example.com.