Educators need lifelines, too!
Release Date: 4/1/2020
While the coronavirus has created uncertainty for communities, Uplift continues to pay all staff and offer comprehensive services for staff, families, and students.
Dallas, TX – Lao Tzu, the ancient philosopher, understood that the key to supporting learners—or students—was to be intentional about how we show up for and care for educators. As we find ourselves swimming in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to literally catch our breath, the lifeguards who have emerged to keep us whole and provide hope remind us that even superheroes need support and lifelines. From grocery store clerks to health care workers to educators, the need is the same: how do we take care of those who take care of others, especially during times such as these?
Uplift Education, one of the nation’s 4th largest public charter school network—and North Texas’ largest—anticipated that a different response to supporting its educators was needed amidst growing conditions that some have called volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Not only do educators need to be equipped with the academic skills and tools needed to accelerate student success outcomes, but they also need to develop well-being competencies such as self-awareness and self-management.
In November of 2019, Uplift Education became the first public school district in the nation to hire a Chief Well-Being Officer, to not only advance scholar well-being but also staff well-being. For too long, school districts across America have seen thousands upon thousands of educators leave the profession due to rising stress and burnout and the deleterious classroom climates that have arisen due to the nature of educating young, traumatized citizens. Unfortunately, it has been okay to acknowledge that teaching is tough and therefore if you can’t hack it you are replaceable. The reality of teacher and school leader drop out—its own pandemic—not only deprives scholars of stable, nurturing adults but it destabilizes communities. In this Corona Era, Uplift Education has raised its hand to say “enough” and has reimagined supports for adults in unique ways.
First, educators are concerned about their physical health and well-being. Instead of simply reminding staff to take advantage of their benefit plans, Uplift has gone above and beyond to leverage its talented team of nurses and medical experts to support its educators by offering free consults and help with navigating a health care system under duress. Second, educator mental well-being is equally strained. Not only have we experienced a precipitous rise of stress, anxiety, and depression among educators under normal conditions, but now under social distancing and school closure mental health has disappeared below the waterline of our screens and Zoom calls. Uplift Education, recognizing the need to continue to shine a light on educator mental health, has empowered its talented fleet of counselors to offer support in the areas of mental wellbeing and psychological safety. Additionally, support does not begin and end simply with being “crisis” minded. Uplift Education’s Chief Well-Being Officer is being intentional about building educator resiliency and human flourishing skills by offering direct supports to educators, call it remote learning for well-being. For example, twice weekly, educators across Uplift’s network of 43 schools and the central office are able to participate in synchronous, virtual classes that focus on building physical, mental, and emotional well-being competencies.
The nation’s most renowned social and emotional learning (SEL) research and training organization, CASEL, defines SEL as equally encompassing adults as it does students. Since its founding, Uplift Education has experienced tremendous success through supporting the notion of the Whole Scholar. Now is the time to focus on the Whole Adult, the Whole Educator, and Uplift Education is leading the way.
Connect With Us:
Uplift Education is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the lives of teachers, families, and, most importantly, students. With a network of 43 college preparatory, public charter schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Uplift offers students of any background the powerful chance to study within a multidisciplinary curriculum and prepare for the college career they deserve. Uplift is the largest International Baccalaureate district in Texas and the #2 IB district in the nation because of the number of holistic extracurricular and educational programs. The incredible educators in the Uplift network guide and teach nearly 20,000 students in Pre-K- 12th grades, with the majority being low-income and minority students who will be the first in their family to attend college. For more information Uplift’s mission and their blind lottery selection system, visit uplifteducation.org or facebook.com/uplifteducation.
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