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Expanding a School’s Capacity for Support

Relationship mapping can help identify students who may be at risk in times of increased isolation

March 27, 2020

For students, a positive and stable relationship with at least one school adult — whether a teacher, counselor, sports coach, or other school staff member — can have tremendous benefits. Strong relationships within a school can mean lower levels of bullying, lower drop-out rates, and improved social-emotional capacities.

As schools shift to distance learning and virtual classrooms in response to the coronavirus outbreak, relationship mapping — making sure that every student is known by at least one adult — can help ensure that these relationships continue to be positive forces in children’s lives. Rather than leave relationships to chance, relationship mapping lets schools establish connections intentionally, where they are most needed, during these weeks of remote learning.

Harvard's Making Caring Common Project has adapted its popular Relationship Mapping Strategy to this new virtual landscape, helping educators build and maintain relationships with their students across distance during these potentially isolating times.

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K-12 School Leadership