One of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons depicts a frog who has made the mistake of thinking the underbelly of a jet plane was food. The frog’s expression is one of sheer fright and panic as he realizes not only is his ‘food’ is accelerating at a rapid rate, it’s is taking him up into the air. And he’s stuck, there’s nothing he can do but go for the ride!

Image result for gary larson cartoon frog stuck to plane

And that DEAR EDUCATORS is what you must feel like as you close this school year.

Well, the jet is approaching it’s final destination and the captain (principal)  has asked the crew (staff)  to prepare for landing in NEW NORMAL, USA! Here are some thoughts for debriefing 2019-20 and putting some creative certainty into an uncertain 2020-21 school opening. There are ways to promote staff resiliency and positively leverage the impact of our collective trauma caused by COVID-19. In our book, we use TALK  TRUST  FEEL   REPAIR, strategies that mitigate the impact of trauma, to foster resilience. Use your remaining staff meeting times to facilitate dialogue, grieve, laugh and stimulate creativity. If your school year has already ended, consider beginning  with these suggestions for 2020-21 professional development with your staff.

Once again, congratulations for a job well-done! COVID-19 gave you the opportunity to be appreciated as one of America’s ESSENTIAL WORKERS!


What can we celebrate?

What did we learn about ourselves?

What did we learn about the strengths of our students & families? How can we leverage our parents’ appreciation for the work we do?

What were our challenges?

How can we leverage positive outcomes (lessons learned) in 2020-21?


How did you establish new instructional & behavior routines for online teaching?

How did you meet the socioemotional needs of your students?

What were our challenges?

How can we leverage positive outcomes (lessons learned) in 2020-21?


How are you feeling now!

How can we support the socioemotional needs of each other ?

How will our students feel when school resumes?

How will we determine when students are ready for instruction?

What were challenges?

How can we leverage positive outcomes (lessons learned) in 2020-21?


How can we build a COVID-19 trauma-sensitive MTSS that is responsive to meeting staff & student emotional needs?

How can we leverage positive outcomes (lessons learned) in 2020-21?

If there is one lesson COVID-19 taught us, it’s the need to have ROUTINES and PRACTICES that mitigate the impact of trauma. View and review the following videos of two schools in Nashville and focus on the behaviors of the STAFF. Use these videos as discussion starters to begin thinking about restructuring your school’s vision and mission for 2020-21 to be trauma-sensitive. Our students will return with  varying emotional needs -anxieties, depression, aggressive behaviors, grief etc. As adults, we have our own worries. There are some constructive consequences as a result  of COVID-19. Creating multi-tiered systems that support resilience is definitely one for us. So, focus on the staff behaviors.