As students and educators begin the 2021-2022 school year with some uncertainty to the persisting global pandemic, the DE-PBS Project has curated 5 valuable guiding resources that district- and school-level educators can use to help support a safe and positive return. Overarching and universal themes throughout these resources include utilizing a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), strategic use of data and leadership teams, a focus on equity, and prioritizing physical, social, emotional, and mental health of both kids and adults.

Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral and Mental Health -The U.S. Department of Education released this new resource to provide information and resources to enhance the promotion of mental health and the social and emotional well-being among children and students. This resource highlights seven key challenges to providing school- or program-based mental health support across early childhood, K–12 schools, and higher education settings, and presents seven corresponding recommendations. This resource includes many real-world examples of how the recommendations are being put into action by schools, communities, and states across the country.  Read the full press release here.

US DOE Return to School Roadmap: The Department of Education & the Biden Administration have developed a Back to School Roadmap to better help educators, parents, students & school communities with their preparations to safely begin the 2021-2022 school year. In this resource, readers can find “landmark” priorities for schools, districts, & states that can help reengage students as they transition back into the classroom from summer break. Landmarks include prioritizing health & safety within schools, building a strong school community that promotes social-emotional learning, & looks at ways to accelerate academic achievement in students. The School Roadmap also includes suggestions on how school communities can use funding from the American Rescue Plan to ensure they are meeting the landmark priorities & having a successful start to the school year.

NASP-ASCA School Reentry Considerations -The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) & the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) have come together to develop this valuable resource for educators, schools, & districts that provide potential considerations for having a successful school reentry. This resource guide focuses on ways educational personnel can better support student’s mental health, as well as looking at ways they can promote beneficial social-emotional learning around the school. Readers will find helpful information that discusses the pandemic’s effects on students’ mental well-being while providing applicable tools that can better prepare students for their learning journey this school year.

PBIS Returning to School During and After Crisis: A Guide to Supporting States, Districts, Schools, Educators, and Students through a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Framework – This guide from the Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports describes the use of a multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) framework to support students, families, and educators during the transition back to school during the global pandemic. The guide prioritizes student’s health and safety, social and emotional needs, and behavioral and academic growth. This resource is for experienced leadership teams to “enhance, adjust, or adapt state, district, school, and classroom action plans to meet the current context.”

CASEL SEL Roadmap – The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) published this roadmap for school leaders and leadership teams during the COVID-19 pandemic to describe four critical SEL practices for schools to implement so students can “reunite, renew, and thrive” in their return to school. Each critical practice comes with specific activities, essential reflection questions, and action steps to prepare and implement the practice. User-friendly tools for implementation as well as recommendations for how to sustain the practices are also embedded. The critical practices include building relationships, providing adult supports, creating safe and equitable environments, and leveraging data in various capacities.

DDOE Guide for Supporting Student & Staff Socio-Emotional and Behavioral Health When Reopening Schools – Delaware’s Department of Education developed this resource guide for districts & schools to help prepare for the 2020-2021 school year by utilizing a multi-tiered approach with key features of data-based decision making, systems, practices, and equitable outcomes. Within the guide, DDOE outlines district- and school-level action plan templates with critical actions for each. This guide and toolkit provides direction in effective teaming, promotion of positive universal behavioral & socio-emotional health, establishing a universal screening process and evidence-based Tier 2 and 3 interventions, and resources for staff mental wellness.