A Brighter 2021: Ending the School Year Strong, featuring Ana Homayoun

With just a few weeks remaining of the school year, helping students finish the school year strong while also laying the groundwork for how to thrive this spring and summer is a top concern for local parents and caregivers. To reach a wide audience with strategies that could help, the Safe Community Coalition hosted our annual spring speaker virtually in a webinar presented by international author and educator Ana Homayoun entitled “A Brighter 2021: Ending the School Year Strong” on Tuesday, April 13.

“As we near the end of the school year, the level of grief and exhaustion from the past year is coming out more and more,” said Homayoun. “We’ve been running a marathon since last March and now that we’re nearing the finish line, the wheels come off and there’s a sense of exhaustion.”

As an author, educator and school strategist, Homayoun noted the challenges she’s seeing in the remote learning environment, including managing distractions and staying focused; planning out time to complete work; keeping track of where individual teachers assign work and would like the work to be submitted (and when the work is due); social-emotional disconnect from classmates; and navigating various learning platforms by class with different teachers using different portals with non-uniform expectations.

As kids transition from online to a hybrid or in-person learning environment, another set of challenges emerge. To help, Homayoun recommends having a system for organizing notes, homework, and quizzes that can be used in both remote and in-person models; identifying strategies for how to check school portals for upcoming assignments and missing work daily; using paper planners to visualize work blocks and due dates; and ensuring kids know how to communicate effectively with teachers.

Here are the six recommendations Homayoun offered to finish the year strong academically, socially, emotionally and physically: