Learning and teaching in a pandemic isn't easy.
Some digital learning students have struggled emotionally as they have lost the informal interactions they had at school, from catching up in the hallways before class, to eating lunch together in the cafeteria.
In response, the Osceola School District's Guidance Services Department has developed a creative way for school counselors and social workers to reach out to both digital and face-to-face learners to keep them connected in spite of physical distancing and to give students access to resources in a fun and engaging way with the "A Helpful Space" app.
All Osceola students have access to the new free "A Helpful Space" virtual app through their ClassLink login. There are rooms specifically designed for elementary students and secondary students to take a much-needed break by clicking around bitmoji virtual classrooms and exploring different resources. Elementary students can click items around the room that will take them to a video or a website for everything from deep-breathing exercises, funny videos, virtual puzzles and calming music, to a website called "Walk In Our Shoes," where students can hear stories about other students and learn about mental health.
Secondary students can also explore their own room of helpful mental health resources, including what to do if they or a friend is thinking about self-harm at any time. The staff bitmoji classroom provides adult social emotional learning resources, ideas for keeping healthy, calming music, funny videos and places to reach out to if help if needed.
"We continue to see the stress of the pandemic affect young people’s social, emotional, and mental well-being with anxiety, depression, isolation, fear, or worry, " said Superintendent Debra Pace. "I hope students and staff members utilize this new app when they need to take a break and learn about fun and healthy ways to cope with stress and, most importantly, know where to turn if assistance is needed."