Student Support and Engagement

  • The Office of Student Support and Engagement works with students, families, and schools to remove barriers and challenges to education.  Our work focuses on establishing consistent processes and procedures to build positive habits of practice. 

    During these challenging times, the Office of Student Support and Engagement can assist with…​​​​​​​

    Engaging Students Online

    Set weekly goals for students to complete assignments.  

    • Communicate the goal on Monday.  
    • Help parents to establish a schedule/ routine for online/ at-home work.
    • Check in with students on Wednesday- congratulate those who have completed some/all work.  
    • Encourage those who have not started.  
    • Offer tutoring support for those who have questions.  
    • On Friday send a report to parents on student progress of the assignments.

    Communicate clear expectations with parents and students. 

    Encourage parents to provide rewards for student success. 

    • Communicate student progress in a routine timeframe so parents can anticipate when to give rewards.

    Build rapport with parents.  

    • Frequent communication creates trust and buy-in.   
    • Create email distribution lists for class announcements and use Jabber to text individual parents/students praise.  
    • Thank the parents for their communication and support, even if the email was a complaint- thank them for their communication.  
    • Respond to all communication, even if you don’t have the answer, respond with an acknowledgment within 24 business hours.
    • Brainstorm and troubleshoot with parents and students. They have a unique understanding and insight of their child/ student’s needs. 

    Celebrate ANY success or engagement. 

    • Tell the student they are doing a great job and tell the parent they are doing a great job.  
    • Appropriate emojis go a long way with students.  
    • Email certificates: Number of hours worked, number of assignments completed, certificate of “Inspiring Sentence” within a piece of writing.  
    • Even high schoolers like certificates - and birthday cards/well wishes.
    • Keep in mind that what works for one may not work for all students. 

    Restorative Practices in Distance Learning (Parents/Guardians)

    Restorative practices look much the same in distance learning as it does in the classroom.  Aiming to create a sense of community and belonging in your home is the essence of restorative work.  

    The continuation of focusing on your relationships with your children, communicating effectively, and maintaining curiosity help reduce stress levels, create connections with each other, and effectively manage difficult and frustrating situations, for both children and adults.

    Affective Statements are the heart of effective communication. Being vulnerable and heart-centered in your words helps sustain the positive relationships we have in our families.




    As we transition our learning into our distance learning platforms, students will need a reminder of the rules, norms, and expectations of their behavior, their work, and their interactions.  Laying the foundation at home, early and often, helps keep communication lines open, provides safety and structure, and can prevent additional stress.  

    Even with all the foundational pieces in place, challenging times can bring about challenging behavior.  In situations where students have found themselves on the wrong side of a personal or class boundary, remain curious and help build understanding and reflection by moving the conversation from the past, to the present, to the future.  To do that, use Affective/Restorative Questions to help guide.


    The tone and demeanor we use to ask and communicate our questions will determine the depth and thoughtfulness in response from our children.  While you may assume or know exactly what happened, we aren’t living and experiencing life as a teenager, with a teenage brain, with teenage emotions.  

    Stay Curious!

    Equity in Distance Learning (Parents/Guardian)

    When I hear equity in reference to our new distance learning, there is a heaviness that transcends my soul.  We do not set out to create situations that are intentionally lopsided in equity for our students.  Inequity in distance learning surfaces when we forget, temporarily, to view the work, the expectations, and the resources of our students from their set of needs, experiences, and resources.  

    Our district supports through the Office of Curriculum Instruction and with the guidance from Learning Resource Services and Instructional Technology.  Included on the Distance Learning SharePoint list is a set of technological resources for engaging our students.  

    A quick glance at any social media site and you will see parents of students sharing their stress of supporting their children through distance learning at home.  Whether students are on their own to engage, have supportive parents who are working outside the home, or supportive parents beside them, distance learning can add a layer of stress to the family unit in already extremely stressful times.  While this is not an exhaustive list, some of these resources might help us keep in view the best and the not so great ways to engage, assign, and deepen student learning.


    Misty Trevino


    Mar 28th 2020, 10 tweets, 2 min read


    I'm no expert on remote learning but here are some things that could have helped this week and may help schools transitioning in the next couple of weeks (thread)


    Additional suggestions on this thread:

    • Send messages either AM/PM for the next day or later in the day, not 45 minutes before you want to meet….also, 5 or 5:30 pm mtgs are during dinner time
    • As more teachers are adding in zoom meetings (WEBEX), to be flexible with timing /scheduling. Many houses have multiple kids…..and parents at home working. 

    Privacy Issues:

    • Be mindful of the privacy issues that may come up for families.  The Distance Learning SharePoint site has an up to date version of the web tools that have been checked for security. 
    • Asking students to upload pictures or videos of themselves can present privacy issues for students and their families.  Present alternative ways to submit materials if a parent/guardian is uncomfortable or unable to load videos/pictures.  (We often advocate for students to maintain a low internet footprint with their postings, this message should not go out the door because of our distance learning). 

    Other suggestions:

    • Lowering the rigor does not equal equity.  Equity comes from meeting individual needs while having the opportunity to achieve the same levels of academic rigor and success. 
    • Edutopia has a plethora of articles that can help support, encourage, and help us all connect with our students in our new reality.  Here is an article to get you started.  (If you frequent Edutopia, you know it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of articles).

    Need assistance with restorative conversations, affective statements, or student behavior in distance learning or equity issues?