Jun 21, 2021 · 2 min read

Feeling Seen, Heard and Safe: Supporting Students in the Wake of the Pandemic


If the overlapping traumas of the past year have shown us anything, it’s that student wellbeing is just as important as academic learning. The resilience displayed by students and educators this year was remarkable in the face of the multiple significant challenges. Building on that resilience and ensuring that students feel seen, known, supported, and safe are key to charting a successful year ahead.

Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Priscilla Chan joined Vanessa Rodriguez, the interim CEO of Citizens of the World Charter Schools, in a conversation at the National Charter Schools Conference 2021 on the importance of a trauma-informed approach to the upcoming school year and how school leaders can apply findings from the science of relationships to meet the needs of both educators and students alike to advance student well-being and accelerate learning. 

Watch below:

In addition, educators shared their perspectives on the value of teacher-student relationships.

Centering Relationships: A Foundation for Student Learning and Emotional Well-being

As students and educators prepare for the upcoming school this next year, it is more important than ever to build on the resilience that they’ve shown in the face of overlapping trauma events this past year by focusing on both emotional well-being and academic learning. Teachers can play an important role by building intentional and meaningful connections with their students that make them feel seen, heard and safe. In this session, educators will discuss how centering relationships with students can promote both well-being and student learning.

Moderator: Denise Forte, interim CEO, Education Trust, moderator


  • Dr. Stacy Perez, Principal, Classical Academy High School, Personalized Learning Campus, Along educator
  • Daren Dickson, Chief Culture Officer, Valor
  • Mark Sorenson, CEO, The STAR School


About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our local communities. Our mission is to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit chanzuckerberg.com.

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