Back to School: Focus on Student Well-being

October 5, 2021

ASA students have been back to school since August 24, and after spending several weeks on campus, everyone is happy to rediscover an “almost” normal school life. Safety measures such as mask wearing, social distancing, and grade bubbles are still in effect, however, this year we will be offering students the opportunity to participate in more activities to foster their growth and social life. This includes resuming after school activities, sports, leadership clubs, and service learning groups, amongst others.

In the interview below, our school counselor, Mrs. Katie Kriefall, shares her thoughts and some tips about a smooth transition back to school.

What are the challenges that students may face as they go back “to normal”?

School is generally a predictable and safe place for students. So I think there is still some uncertainty hanging over their heads as to what will happen if COVID gets worse and we go back online. Many of our students felt isolated and lonely last year, and this year they are looking forward to rekindling their friendships, face to face.

What forms of support does the school provide to students?

For students in grades 6-12, we have an Advisory program that focuses on lessons tailored to the well-being of our students, such as personal safety, growth, or stress management. Students meet with their advisory teachers twice a week and can discuss issues related to academics and/or their social-emotional health.

For new students, we assign a buddy to help them adjust to school routines, have lunch with them, etc. The school counselor also speaks one-on-one with the new students to make sure they are adjusting and coping with the transition. For our youngest students, the school counselor visits their classrooms to facilitate wellness lessons. Teachers are always in contact with our student support team if they are concerned about a particular student.

What advice do you have for parents?

Unpredictable situations can make anyone feel scared, worried, and confused. We all know it can be hard for adults to juggle these big feelings, so we need to remember how hard it can be for our children. It’s best to talk openly about the difficulties and not try to hide them. Talking to your children about the challenges you and they are facing will help them not to feel alone and confused. Talk to your children and listen to what they have to say.