5 Resources for Building Relationships During School Closures

During COVID-19, students need strong relationships. Here are resources on how to build them.

By Team XQ

Caring, Trusting Relationships—we’re glad this XQ School Design Principle is our guiding theme this month. Forging and maintaining strong relationships is what will get us through these school closures, remote learning, and loss of human interaction altogether.

And remember, just because you’re doing this remotely, doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. You can lean on your XQ fam for support now, and always. 

ADJUST: Strategies to Reach to All Students

It’s crucial to offer students as many touchpoints as possible to make them feel connected to you, their peers, and the school community as a whole. 

Why it matters: While scheduling time to connect with students in real-time is important, it’s not always possible. The Learning Accelerator shares effective strategies educators have been using to reach as many students as possible:

  •  Record yourself doing routines you want students to do
  •  Use a variety of video and audio platforms
  •  Offer multiple session times 

Extra credit: Get teacher tips for using Zoom and Google Classrooms.

CHAT: Keeping Your Remote Community Healthy

Remote learning isn’t a replication of what you were doing before. It’s an opportunity to rethink learning in new spaces. 

Why it matters: Nearly a decade of research from Global Online Academy says balance is fundamental to keeping you and your students’ remote community healthy. Here are some quick tips on where to start:  

  •  Be active on every thread and responsive to every post
  •  Designate longer chunks of time for deeper work
  •  Communicate in multiple ways: text, video, image, emoji

GOA has tons of resources, including classes, printable handouts, and school leader roundtables. 

Extra credit: Take a course on designing lessons for online learning.

TRY: Creative Ways to Stay Connected

When schools had to close their doors to prevent the spread of coronavirus, educators like you barely had a chance to say goodbye to your students. 

Why it matters: There’s no real substitute for seeing your students daily, nor should there be. It’s crucial to student learning (and yours) to find ways to stay connected with them. We Are Teachers shares ways to do that:

  • Send a letter to your students via snail mail
  • Call students individually to see how they’re doing
  • Remember that you matter and that your best is all you can give

Extra credit: More fun ways teachers are building classroom community.

SHARE: What XQ Schools Have Learned So Far

At XQ, we believe a big part of rethinking high school is coming together as a community to share learnings. 

Why it matters: Remote learning is new to so many of us. Sharing challenges, solutions, and innovative ideas is how we’ll get through this tough time, together. Here are some of our learnings: 

  • Establish new routines and rituals early
  • Plan for learning at the system level
  • Tap into an innovation mindset
  • Build in regular “beats” for connection
  • Create structures to meet students where they are

Extra credit: See how XQ schools put these tips into action.

(Stay tuned for weekly learnings like these.)

TALK: How to Ensure Every Voice is Heard

At XQ school, Círculos—as their name implies—circles are the foundation of their teaching and learning experience. And now, virtual circles serve as their key to making it through this difficult time.

What are circles: a regularly scheduled practice where a group of educators, students, families, or all of the above get in a circle to discuss a specific topic or prompt. 

Why it matters: Circles give every stakeholder an opportunity to listen to differing viewpoints while also acknowledging every voice in the space. Here’s where Círculos suggests starting: 

  • Create a circle schedule with small groups of students
  • Create a circle schedule with small groups of colleagues, too
  • Meet with your circle at least twice a week

Extra credit: Find out how they made sure every student had WiFi access.

XQ X-tra
Schools may be closed, but minds are still open

They say when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And that’s exactly what the education community did in this time of need. 

We’re proud to join dozens of education organizations in the Wide Open School partnership. It’s a place where educators and families can find trusted learning resources, including:

  •  Safe technology and media appropriate for students
  •  Learning experiences organized by subject and grade
  •  Suggested daily schedules