Strategies for Schools in Crisis: Our EdWeek Opinion

In Education Week, we share eight strategies schools can use to address stress and hardship - and bring healing and joy to both students and adults.


We are delighted to tell you about our new article in Education Week, "Mental Health Crises Are Bombarding Our Schools," authored by Morningside Center's Daniel Coles, Tala Manassah, and Cassie Schwerner and published on March 27, 2022.

They write:

Entering year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing a cascade of crises in our schools. Students and educators are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, despondent—and, too often, isolated and unheard....

Addressing these crises requires new priorities. We need to make school a place that prioritizes connection, community, and joy. It’s time to adopt what Shawn Ginwright calls a “healing-centered” approach. Rather than viewing trauma as an isolated experience, a healing-centered approach is holistic and collective: It calls on us to work together to address harms and make positive change. Moments of crisis can also be moments of opportunity when properly seized. The pandemic, while affecting us each differently, is a uniquely shared experience.

This is a teachable moment: We can bow our heads and submit to the devastation or we can honor those who have been lost by using this as a moment to double down on teaching our children what our society is most in need of: generative connection, deep empathy, and skill building around collective action and mutual aid....

This crisis has demonstrated that the mental health – and academic progress – of young people depends on the caring relationships they build at school. We humans are evolved to be part of a community, to be interdependent and interconnected. Without community we cannot thrive.

The piece goes on to offer eight specific strategies that school leaders and staff can use to build community and facilitate healing among both young people and adults. 

See it on Education Week, and please share it with friends and colleagues. Many thanks to EdWeek author and former principal Peter DeWitt for hosting the piece as part his excellent Finding Common Ground blog.