Building connections matter.
Meet Miguel. Miguel was the quintessential quiet middle-schooler — nose stuck in a comic book with little to contribute to the class. As a teacher, I did my best to get him to open up about himself whenever I could, but the most I ever got him to share was a little joke or tidbit about the video game he played the night before. This was normal for the age — awkward, quiet, no worries as he marched through the fall of 7th grade. Fast forward to the beginning of November when Miguel came up to my desk to chat. In passing, he mentioned that his dad had missed a family event. I asked if that was normal, and Miguel replied, “Yes, Miss. Last summer he was sent away.” At that moment, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. How could I have spent the last 60+ days with Miguel and missed this? What more could I have done to support my student if I had known sooner?
Secure the SEL of students with uMap™.
Right now, the physical safety of our students and educators is what dominates the news. As educators, however, we know that the social and emotional well-being of the students we teach is the foundation of their health — especially in a year of incredible uncertainty. That’s why we created the Student uMap™, a software tool that helps students connect to each other and to teachers, to share their enthusiasm and their concerns, and to provide a platform for tracking social and emotional health through the pandemic and beyond.
How does it work?
Each student creates her or his own uMap™ — an individual profile that showcases the important people (and pets!) in their lives, their unique talents and interests, favored learning styles and so much more. This is so important because by remaining student-authored, they are in control of what they want to share and get to take the lead in their own development! At the same time, the platform collects information about their worries and identifies kids who are struggling to connect to the school community. This tool in invaluable to the educator searching for an impactful way to connect with every student, whether virtual or in-person, to make sure that no kid is left behind. Let’s dig deep and help students like Miguel feel supported, connected, and successful.
The inspiration for this project came from dozens of conversations the team and I have had over the past few months with teachers, parents, administrators, and students. They’ve all been searching to find solutions to maintain as much normalcy as possible this year. We hope the Student uMap™ is an innovative way to help. In addition to development, our team has also done extensive research into new federal grants so that implementing this program in school districts will affordable and often free.