As 2021 brings hope and optimism following a challenging 2020, I can’t help but sit back, watch the snow fall outside my window, and reflect about all that we have accomplished at Changing Perspectives over the last 12 months. The last year has been a test of resilience, positivity, patience, and flexibility for everybody. I am so proud of how Changing Perspectives staff, board members, and partners have been able to pivot and move forward.
Despite the challenges on multiple fronts in our country, the silver lining, I believe, is that social-emotional learning, equity, and inclusion are now at the forefront of everybody’s mind. I hope that we, as change makers in today’s world, can use this awareness as an opportunity to rethink the architecture of our schools. Rather than rebuilding schools to the way they were prior to March 2020, let’s become more intentional in our design to ensure that equity and inclusion of all students is central to everything we do.
What does 2021 look like? How do our educational systems continue to support students while simultaneously thinking ahead to the 2021-2022 academic year? I see the second half of 2020-2021 as a chance to reflect, ask questions, make connections, think beyond the usual, and make thoughtful choices.
One thing is clear: We still have a lot of work to do. As educators, we need to be asking ourselves:
- How are my students doing?
- What SEL skills are they lacking?
- What systems in my school are working to support my students’ social and emotional well-being?
- What resources do I need next year to better address my students’ needs?
Talking about these questions now will enable us to take a proactive approach to our planning to ensure meaningful outcomes for all students. As we begin the year 2021 I am full of optimism for how schools across the world can ensure the social-emotional wellbeing of all students. This new year brings renewed energy for us to think outside the traditional box and engage with our school communities in holistic and comprehensive ways.