Education support is a wide umbrella term for all staff who work in schools. This includes cafeteria workers, custodial staff, bus drivers, and paraeducators.
They are critical to keeping schools running and students safe. They deserve our thanks and respect. Here are some ways to do just that.
Academic support provides students with additional instruction, practice, and guidance in their academic performance. This may take the form of specialized programs designed to improve literacy skills or math proficiency or more generalized services that focus on reading, writing, or communicating. Often, academic support is integrated into classroom learning or offered during the school day or after school hours.
Student support services can help keep students enrolled by helping them overcome barriers to success, such as financial concerns, difficulties finding or affording childcare, and crises of confidence brought on by challenging classes. Examples of academic support services include tutoring, cultural houses and affinity groups, and academic advising.
Studies have shown that when students struggle academically, they most frequently seek assistance from peers. Mahasneh, Sowan, and Nassar  found that students with greater self-efficacy are more likely to seek help from peers than those with lower self-efficacy. Moreover, they tend to prefer in-person over online help-seeking resources.
Social and Emotional Support
Educators who understand social and emotional learning can help students of all ages better comprehend their emotions, learn to manage them and develop empathy. This can also allow students to focus on their studies more and perform better on standardized tests and in metrics such as attendance, assignment submissions and grades.
Using an approach called instrumental variable regression, researchers found that classroom emotional support and organization explained more of the effect of an SEL program on low-income racial/ethnic minority children’s math achievement in first grade than did INSIGHTS itself. This is one of the first known efforts to identify classroom emotional support and organization as mechanisms explaining impacts on students in randomized trials of school-based SEL programs.
As the pandemic continues, it is critical that schools are able to provide their staff with resources and tools to promote their own social emotional wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of their students. National University’s master’s of education program includes coursework in SEL and other areas of student development that can help teachers improve their own well-being as they work with students of all ages.
Positive behavior support strategies are based on values and research to prevent students’ problem behaviors from occurring, while teaching them new skills. These preventative strategies can range from rules and expectations posters in hallways to clear instructions for teachers on how to handle classroom disruptions.
The most effective PBIS framework is one that fits within a multi-tiered system of supports, so that all educators are on the same page when it comes to how to best help their students. Tier 1 includes universal supports that are available to every student, such as consistent consequences for misbehavior and a clear set of guidelines on how to respond to it.
Tier 2 supports are geared to individual students with behavioral needs that may be too complex for the first two tiers. These support services are typically administered by behavioral health specialists and can include a functional behavior assessment. A functional behavior assessment looks at the antecedents and consequences of a person’s problematic behaviors to find out why they persist.
Health support is the services performed, provided, or arranged to promote, improve, conserve, or restore the physical or mental health of personnel. These include the management of medical manpower and resources; selection, disposal, and disposition of the unfit for duty; blood management; combat stress control; and dental, veterinary, laboratory, optometric, nutritional therapy, and medical intelligence services.
It is not the role of higher education to ensure students avoid any emotional discomfort or that on-campus treatment options are available for every problem, but schools can provide a sense of community and support in a variety of ways. It is important for educators to know how to recognize the signs of student mental illness, and Navigate360 offers a comprehensive system that allows them to quickly connect students with situationally relevant wellness resources.
Implementing social and emotional learning programs doesn’t have to disrupt a teacher’s curriculum or schedule. With Navigate360’s whole-child student safety and wellness suite, administrators have the tools they need to develop a culture of wellbeing without altering classroom lessons.