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Using Otus Plans for post-pandemic social-emotional learning

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The pandemic is the largest disruption to education in history, derailing learning for 1.6 billion students worldwide. While the majority of US schools have returned to in-person instruction, many are still dealing with the effects of COVID. In January 2022, one in four grade school students in the U.S. missed more than a week of in-person learning, according to a national survey of nearly 150,000 parents.

The disruptions caused by the pandemic have devastated not only student academic achievement but students’ mental health, including social and emotional development. Up to one in five kids in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder each year, and nearly 80% don’t have access to the appropriate mental health services. With so many students navigating mental health issues and social and emotional development deficits on their own, it comes as no surprise that these struggles manifest as behavioral issues in the classroom. Schools report that students are in some cases withdrawn socially and not participating in class, and in more extreme cases, acting out toward classmates and teachers, causing disruptions to instruction.

The power of plans 

Development of social and emotional skills is equally, if not more, important than academic learning. It’s crucial that students acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. To ensure that students are developing in these areas, educators must develop student plans and check in with them throughout the school year, especially during blended or remote learning. Luckily, technology affords them the opportunity to do so quickly and efficiently.

One tool that schools can use to track, manage, share and act on student development is Otus Plans. Using this Otus feature, educators can build a comprehensive profile of each student and discover areas where students can grow by seeing individual strengths, interests, performance and more. With that data, they can set achievable milestones that guide students on the path toward academic, behavioral and social-emotional goals. Educators can also gather and track data about how students are doing outside of the classroom. Stakeholders, such as teachers, administrators and parents, can monitor progress, make informed decisions to support students and measure the effectiveness of interventions.

Most schools already create some form of “plans” for students, but these are usually not customized, centralized or consistent from one classroom to the next. As a result, these plans can be ineffective, and difficult to communicate with stakeholders and track over the course of a student’s academic career. With Otus, educators can create custom plans tailored to each student, easily monitor student progress as a team and edit plans as needed. Educators can even build templates for various interventions, behaviors and more that can be applied to other students.

Every student deserves a plan

The need for a personalized learning plan for every student is more important now than ever before, yet most students lack a formal plan that will produce meaningful results. Using Otus, educators can identify specific areas where students need support and chart a unique path forward. To illustrate how Otus Plans work, we’ve created two example student personas: Max and Maddie. Each example portrays a different type of student, their traits, a custom plan designed by their teacher and the unique goals they’re working toward.

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