Is it possible to be authentic and hopeful during hard times.

For the first time since the pandemic began a year ago, there seems to be an emerging sense of hope. Some metrics show positive signs: There have been more than 165 million vaccine doses administered in the United States, a steady decline of deaths nationwide since January, and a gradual reopening of some sectors of the economy.

In my conversations with educators and administrators around the country, however, I’ve found that whatever guarded optimism exists is eclipsed by the anger, frustration, and concern that they have felt since the start of the crisis. Young people were inundated with difficult news…


Skills for the future to create more consensus and unity.

By Dr. Gil Noam and Dr. Pendred Noyce

Consider these realities as a parent, teacher, youth worker, citizen: The country has engaged in what we call “mask wars” over the past year, despite the clear consensus among scientists. The former president stated repeatedly that not only did he not lose the election, but in fact won by a landslide. And finally, there was the armed insurgency — instigated by the executive branch against the legislative one — all in the name of truth!

Now a new administration is changing course, elevating a science advisor to a cabinet position. But will…


Iakov Filiminov/Shutterstock

Most schools around the country are still scrambling to get into this school year. States and local districts are continuously updating their decisions — a trend that we’ll see throughout the academic year. That creates an enormous uncertainty not only for schools but also for the out-of-school time field.

In previous pieces, I have discussed the difficulties that teachers face in re-engaging students to successfully transition back to in-person, virtual or hybrid learning. Although it is understandable to focus resources on the formal education system, the out-of-school time (OST) field had been entirely neglected.

In many areas of the country…


What worried parents can do.

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Our education system is facing an unprecedented amount of uncertainty in how to move forward this upcoming school year. Guidance around school reopening varies greatly by states and districts, with some localities announcing that they will be going completely virtual in the fall, and others ordering schools to be in-person, 5 days a week. Many districts have not announced concrete plans yet and may adopt hybrid models. To add to the pressure, the CDC released new guidance strongly advocating for the opening of schools in person after their initial guidance was criticized by the White…


Racing to “catch up” and going back to what once was won’t work.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

Schools will open, one way or another. Many states have already released guidance on the enormous changes schools will need to make between now and the fall to be ready to open. For example, the requirements just released by Massachusetts includes students staying in the same groups all day, face masks for all, social distancing in the halls and classrooms, constant hand-washing, and more, all to create a safe physical environment. …


The regret and possibility ahead of us.

source: pexels

We have undergone a wide range of experiences and emotions in lockdown during the COVID-19 disaster. Many of us have felt anxiety, disbelief, hyperactivity and productivity, anger and existential dread, as well as resignation and the emergence of new routines. Tragically, an increasing number of people have fallen ill, lost income and job security, and experienced the death of loved ones for whom they could not be present at the end. There is no new beginning yet, even as there are signs of change as states across the U.S. …


In a previous piece, I discussed flexibility and how we must learn to adapt to new and unprecedented circumstances. That was in mid-March—when the full scope of the virus had only started to take shape in the United States. Now, many of us have been asked stay inside for an indefinite period of time, nervously scroll through the latest stream of distressing news headlines, and are worried about job and financial security and the health of family members, friends and colleagues.

In times of stress, crisis, and trauma like these, we often revert back into “survival mode,” which manifests in…


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I am angry. I know it doesn’t feel appropriate to express such emotion during a time of crisis, but I can’t help it. I am also sad, sometimes in denial, and feel trapped in a time warp-having been grounded for four weeks now, and not knowing how long this will continue. As a psychotherapist, I am well aware that these are all signs of stress and mourning. We have given up things that are familiar and dear to us: dining out, school and university life, family gatherings, a sense of security and so much more. I am also surprised how…


What a pandemic teaches us about relationships.

Source: reshot

The adjustment to the bleak reality of the COVID-19 pandemic these past weeks has been increasingly constraining, confusing, and anxiety-provoking. Far too many changes are coming at us at once-we’re locked down, isolated from social contact, and trying to adapt to the sudden switch to online classes and remote work. Many of us will feel bereft of human interactions as the decision to socialize with friends, extended family, and colleagues has become a matter of life-or-death. …


The psychological opportunity during the pandemic.

Source: unsplash

In recent days, we’ve been inundated with recommendations for how to stay healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. We have received daily tips and recommendations that range from skills you learned in childhood, to anxiety-provoking calls from employers, health organizations, and news stories: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Refrain from travel. Do not go to large gatherings. Gather at least two weeks’ worth of non-perishable food in the house.

Gil G. Noam

Founder of The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience at McLean Hospital, Faculty Member at Harvard Medical School. All opinions are my own.

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