Remote Learning: How North Bergen is Making It Work

NJHI 2018: Upstream Action Acceleration North Bergen Municipal Alliance Upstream Action Acceleration

The North Bergen school district continues to follow a remote learning format and despite its challenges, the guidance team is still introducing novel ideas to deliver services to their students. Initially, the Board of Education had hoped to transition instruction into a classroom setting, but as the number of COVID-19 cases began to spike throughout the district this fall, the North Bergen school community redeveloped all existing programs for an online curriculum. This meant that even comprehensive counseling, a critical aspect of our education system to help students excel, had to be reimagined. In response, the North Bergen Municipal Alliance collaborated with the school district to restructure its commissioned Rainbow Days Curriculum-Based Support Group program to meet the need.

Curriculum-Based Support Groups (CBSG) offer school personnel a means to address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and other aspects of developmental childhood trauma in a less stigmatizing way.

“We know that this pandemic has exacerbated the collective pain and emotional toil that youth and families have to endure. The Rainbow Days program is a way to help treat these psychological scars and begin to heal,” said Theresa Rabelo, Director of School Personnel Services for the North Bergen Board of Education.

Presently, small group sessions of the CBSG program are delivered to several North Bergen schools through Google Classroom, which the guidance counselors created specifically for this purpose.

“There is a significant need for students to process issues of self-care, loss, time-management, social-emotional learning, and online safety. Students yearn for socialization and they need support for learning in this new way. CBSG helps meet that gap,” said Ms. Rabelo.

There are approximately three to five students who participate in each Rainbow Days group in the Elementary, Middle, and High Schools. Throughout the curriculum, students are encouraged to share their feelings of stress, fatigue, and anxiety in the face of the pandemic, and are provided a safe, positive atmosphere in which to do so. It’s a testament to the commitment of the North Bergen guidance counselors that they continue to engage and recruit students for the CBSG sessions. As the school year progresses, they expect more students to participate. Additionally, the North Bergen school counselors seek to include parents in social and emotional learning with their children at home. Partners in Prevention and the North Bergen community are focused on our central goal of improving health and wellness, even as we adapt to the extreme changes in our daily lives.

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Estrella Borrego
Partners in Prevention