Time to Process: Allow Students Space for Major Life Transitions

..massive life disruptions — or lifequakes, as I call them — strike people in the core of their being. They create meaning vacuums in which we feel frightened, overwhelmed and stuck. A transition is how we get unstuck. A lifequake may be voluntary . . . or involuntary . . . , but the transition must be voluntary. We must choose to take the steps and go through the process of turning our fear and anxiety into renewal and growth.

– Bruce Feiler


  • Provide students time and space for processing major life transitions including the change from lower elementary grades to upper grades, from elementary to middle school, from middle to high school, and the change from high school to postsecondary education.
  • This article in The New York Times is a great inspiration for reframing transitions and lists strategies for navigating major transitions, whether chosen or unexpected.

Five Tips for Managing Life Transitions

  1. Start with your transition superpower
  2. Identify your emotions
  3. Shed something
  4. Try something creative
  5. Rewrite your life story

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During our May Counterpart meetings, we asked folks to share what they have been engaging with recently. Below is a list of all the resources shared by our incredible community, offering a taste of the diverse and inspiring content they’re currently exploring. This list has something for everyone: from thought-provoking articles to captivating podcasts to must-watch documentaries. So, take a peek, pick your poison, and get ready to dive into something fantastic!

Case Study: Merced Union High School District

Through its work with Inflexion, MUHSD is seeing strong results in student outcomes and in closing the opportunity gap for underserved students. California School Dashboard data show College/Career Indicator scores for African American, Hispanic, English Learners, students with disabilities, students who are homeless, and students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged are 16 to 29 points higher than the state average.

Passion. Pride. Promise. Two Leaders Help Pave the Way for Their Students & Communities

Tucked away in the hills of rural western Oregon, the Vernonia and Gaston school districts defy many of the stereotypes most of us hold when we think of rural schools. Their communities face both common and unique challenges. Vernonia Elementary Principal, Michelle Eagleson, and Gaston Superintendent, Summer Catino, share how their small schools and communities achieve greatness.

Conduct Empathy Interviews: Elevating Student Voices, So You Can Understand and Support Them

Empathy Interviews provide an opportunity to really understand a student, or group of students, by diving deeper than the surface-level question, “How are you?” and receiving the typical response, “I’m fine.” These interviews inform intentional classroom and school-level action by elevating student voices and garnering a better understanding of student needs (SEL and well-being), and experiences (engagement). This resource provides step-by-step instructions on how to conduct an empathy interview.