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This guide provides five weeks of activities that focus on building a supportive environment for staff. The activities are designed to build staff connection and well-being, and they are also adaptable to an in-person and/or virtual context.
We encourage administrators to adapt the activities to ensure they meet the needs and contexts of staff, considering what is culturally responsive as well as meets specific safety and space requirements.
It is essential to gauge staff’s needs and create supportive routines and structures in order to build a stable foundation for the year. All staff members are arriving with varied experiences, and consequently may be impacted in different ways. It is important to build in time for staff members to share their experiences and to identify their needs as well as ways they can be supported. Additionally, establishing routines and setting clear expectations creates predictability and a sense of safety for staff.
Identifying ways to foster relationship-building is key to building a supportive school community. Positive peer relationships among staff members create a sense of belonging, increase collaboration, and positively impact staff well-being.
There are many ways to connect! Choose strategies that best fit your school team and consciously build them into your school day, such as:
While staff may be primarily focused on their students’ feelings, it is equally important that they check in with their own feelings. Staff may be feeling a variety of emotions. Once they’re able to identify these feelings, they can determine what is needed to move forward.
The following activities can help staff build time into their days to take note of their feelings and clearly communicate that their well-being is a priority:
The ability to advocate for your needs is an important resilience characteristic. To put this into practice effectively, put the emotional identification activities from week three into action through effective communication. This requires us to build a psychologically safe environment where staff feel comfortable engaging in this type of communication.
The following strategies will communicate to staff that you want to work together to ensure their needs are being met:
It is important to periodically pause and reflect on what is working, what is not working, and what we want to change. Create time to connect with staff and gather feedback on how things are going. Be sure to listen to needs and work collaboratively to develop solutions.
These purposeful activities help ensure that staff feel heard and be confident that you are working to meet their needs: