April 8, 2021

Recovering from Covid: Improving student wellbeing with a growth mindset

With help from historic federal funding, schools have an opportunity to support student wellbeing in unprecedented ways. The American Rescue Plan has given schools a chance to rebuild their facilities, staffs, culture, and confidence. The effects of the past year devastated many families and communities, and now educators must build and adopt plans that will allow for a fresh restart in fall 2021.

The effects of a year online

Consider a student transitioning from middle school to high school during COVID.

Whether or not students were forced to learn remotely in the past 12 months, schools have seen the impact of Covid on student wellbeing. One study reported that over 25% of students felt less connected to their peers, teachers, and community. Perceived isolation can be linked to an increased usage of screen time as students are required to communicate with peers almost exclusively online.  

Students who transitioned to a new school, or even everyone who started a new grade this year, had to form friendships and teacher relationships virtually or through challenging in-person situations.  The result of this has been not just a year of academic challenges but a year of stunted social-emotional growth for many students.

Educators nationwide have acknowledged that their students have missed opportunities for improving both social-emotional health and academic performance. Even if students were able to attend classes this year, they still may have felt the negative effects of perceived isolation and relationships diminished by an entirely virtual experience.

Taking a growth mindset with SEL

As schools adapt, educators are experiencing the benefits of taking a growth mindset and proactively seeking opportunities to improve student experience.

In #WinAtSocial we have focused our attention on a few core ideas:

  • Master a growth mindset by avoiding lectures and focusing on collaboration with students
  • Highlight adaptability by conversing with students on how to handle different challenges presented by Covid
  • Respond to the increased usage of social media by discussing positive ways to increase connectivity while some of social life remains online
  • Evidenced-based, school-wide programs 

Learn more about engaging students on social-emotional learning with these facilitator tips. 

Moving forward

Working with schools nationwide, it’s clear that educators have an opportunity to encourage students to embrace change, whether it is a new social media app or transitioning between in-person and online classes. To build stronger school communities, education leaders can work with student leaders to create comprehensive programs that incorporate social media, technology, and social emotional health.

As a challenging school year comes to a close, we look towards the fall with excitement about the opportunity to invest in students through enhanced SEL.


About The Social Institute

The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, parents, and educators to navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology positively through comprehensive, gamified lessons that meet students on their level as well. We have partnered with forward-thinking institutions across the nation, including Ravenscroft School, Gaston Day School, Bryn Mawr, Gilman School, Woodward Academy, U.S. Olympic athletes, Duke Men’s Basketball, ESPN, and others. For more information, contact us.