Area school districts offer enhanced social and emotional support for the fall

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 10:24 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The upcoming school year is approaching quickly, presenting new changes and challenges for students and families due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Area schools are stepping up to offer resources to support these families.

“It’s something we have always valued, and the pandemic has really just put a focus on it,” Jen Sahr, Fargo Public Schools Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Coordinator said.

Kids will have a brand new experience this year so school leaders want to make sure students feel supported in the journey. Districts are training teachers and bringing what they learn into the classroom.

“We will have lessons about empathy, about understanding others, about emotional regulation, and just understanding different perspectives,” Dawn Miller, West Fargo Public Schools Support & Wellness Coordinator said. “And social contexts as well as diversity, and just understanding our peers and our friends.”

“Our main focus will be to build those trusting relationships,” Sahr said. “We know that when kids feel safe psychologically, they are more likely to open up.”

School districts will also be working to identify students who might have a difficult time adjusting and offering individual attention.

“Social skills groups, maybe groups on stress and coping,” Miller said. “Maybe groups on how do I manage change in my family and in my school.”

Using community partners to address your child’s needs.

“We have therapists that come into our middle schools and our high schools who are trained in trauma therapy and stress management,” Miller said.

Area educators say it’s part of their job to go beyond just reaching teaching.

“These skills aren’t specific to education,” Sahr said. “They are specific to life. What we want to do is to continue to enhance those skills to prepare our kids for the world ahead.”

Teachers and school leaders will have their eyes open for kids who might be having a difficult time, but if you feel your child needs help, they say you can reach out anytime to your child’s teacher or school principal to create a strategy.

Area schools have more helpful tips online.

Fargo Community Resources

West Fargo Community Resources

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