Create a place where students can post thank-you notes for each other or for others in the school building either as a special activity or ongoing part of your classroom culture.

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Making Space for Gratitude: 15 Ideas for Schools During Challenging Times

Making Space for Gratitude: 15 Ideas for Schools During Challenging Times

Thank you heart

Learn how schools can make space for gratitude in the classroom, among staff, and in family partnerships. This article includes strategies, resources, and research on the benefits of gratitude in schools.

In the midst of so many challenges during another school year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, it may seem difficult to start conversations about gratitude in your classroom or school. Yet finding ways to celebrate gratitude and appreciation can be a powerful tool that provides an antidote to the isolation and discord many students have experienced during the pandemic, while also yielding many benefits, such as:

At the same, gratitude can show educators what's working. For example:

  • Student appreciations of classmates may highlight qualities that a teacher might have overlooked.
  • Staff appreciations may inspire colleagues to try something new.
  • Taking time to hear what's working for families may yield some important insights.

The following ideas highlight some ways to shine a spotlight on gratitude, with considerations that will ensure that English language learners (ELLs) and multilingual families are part of these activities.

Additional ideas, including tips for starting a personal gratitude practice, are available in the resources at the end of the article. The resource list also includes information about the research around gratitude in education and the archive of a Twitter chat with ELL educators focused on kindness and gratitude.

Slideshow: Gratitude Ideas

Ideas for Students

1. Introduce the concept of gratitude and related vocabulary words.

Share your ideas & activities!

We'd love to hear about how you celebrate gratitude or any activities inspired by this article!

Share your updates and photos (no student photos, please) at:

Before starting a gratitude activity:

  • talk about the meanings of words such as "grateful," "gratitude," and "appreciation"
  • ask students to brainstorm student-friendly definitions for these words
  • ask ELLs to share the meaning of "thank you" in their language
  • make a display with "thank you" written in different languages, including in your students' languages (Thank you to Amanda Goman for sharing this idea on Twitter!)

You may wish to invite students to teach their classmates how to say "thank you" in their home languages. Talk with them about this beforehand, however, so as not to put students on the spot.

In addition, share models of sentence frames, messages, and notes that you might use in the activities below, such as:

Thank you for _______________.

___________ helped me by _______________.

I would like to express my gratitude for... 

Quick tip

Tiffany Gordon, an ELL specialist and WIDA Fellow, color codes her sentence frames so that students know what they are reaching for in terms of language.  

Video: Using sentence frames with ELLs

ESOL specialist Sheila Majdi from Arlington, VA explains what a sentence frame is and how she might use this strategy with ELLs.

2. Ask students to brainstorm examples of kindness and gratitude.

Ask students for examples of kindness and gratitude that they might see in their lives. You can also ask them to brainstorm on topics such as "How to welcome a new student."  You may also wish to talk about how to welcome visitors to the classroom, as this class had done before ELL expert Beth Skelton arrived in the room. She writes, "I was the recipient of such a welcome in a 5th grade class. I walked in for an observation and a student stood up, shook my hand, welcomed me to the class, showed me to an empty chair, and offered me a glass of water!"

Teacher Ashley Singh shares examples of kindness from her classroom including, "The friendship my students have for each other. When we have a new student, the way they stand together and help them adjust to our school. The quiet encouragement in class. Waiting for each other at their lockers. Explaining the cafeteria food." And some schools are hosting Kindness Clubs to help spread kindness around the building.

3. Talk about gratitude during circle time or advisory period.

One way to start conversations about gratitude in the classroom is to make it the focus of circle time or discussions during homeroom or advisory periods. Some topics could include the following:

Can you think of a time when…

  • a classmate helped you
  • a teacher or other adult at the school helped you
  • a relative helped you
  • a neighbor helped you
  • someone helped you during a difficult time
  • something you are grateful for
  • someone thanked you for something you did

You could also do a series of conversations with different themes each day during a "Gratitude Week" to explore the topic more in-depth.

Project idea

Using student responses, you might wish to create a "thankful tree," inspired by Daniel Tiger's "Thank You Day" story and episode.

Video: Finding a new friend after Hurricane Maria

When Nelson Rodriguez left Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, he quickly found a new friend in his teacher in Syracuse, NY, Jesus Ortiz. In this special video, they both remember the day they met and talk about the bond they formed.

4. Use writing prompts.

Use the prompts from activity #1 in a writing activity. Students could try different options based on their level of language proficiency:

  • draw their responses
  • write short sentences about their responses
  • write a journal entry about their experiences

To support students' writing:

  • Share examples of the kind of response you are looking for.
  • Help students brainstorm their ideas with a graphic organizer.

Video: Brainstorming a journal assignment with high school ELLs

Learn how high school ELL teacher Michelle Lawrence guides her students through the brainstorming process as they prepare to write a journal.

5. Write thank-you notes.

An additional extension activity is to write thank-you notes with your students. For example, students can write a thank-you note for:

  • a person they mentioned in activity #1
  • someone who has helped the class in some way
  • a group of people in the community who has been helpful during the pandemic, like first responders

Sharing sample letters

Share examples of real thank you notes you have received with students, and then share a template that students can use so they can become familiar with the format. Here is a very basic example:

Dear ____,

Thank you for ______. This helped me because _____.




6. Set up an appreciation station.

This is a great way to shine a spotlight on positive things that are happening in the classroom or beyond. You could set up a board (either in the classroom or online) where students can post thank-you notes to their classmates and teachers. These could be posted on colorful post-it notes or note cards. Students can add to the board over time whenever they think of a new example to add. Examples might include:

  • Fiona helped me study for the test.
  • Ms. Robertson told me about a great book!

This blog post from Engaging and Effective shares ideas for creating an appreciation station, while teacher Maggie Gillis shares how she put together a gratitude wall in her classroom. Angela Singh writes, "My school started a 'Fishbowl' where students and teachers can write down acts of kindness they see other students perform or things they appreciate about other students/teachers so that we can celebrate everyone in our school community."

Note: Talk with students about the importance of treating this activity, and their school community, with respect. Let them know that any inappropriate notes will be removed.

7. Set up appreciation mailboxes.

In this activity, each student creates an envelope, folder, or "mailbox" in which classmates can leave an anonymous note of appreciation, such as, "You are a good soccer player," or "Thank you for making me laugh."  The point is to find something positive for each person in the class. This can be a one-time activity, or something that is set up for much of the year (after students have gotten to know each other better). Again, it's important to stress the importance of respect with students before starting this activity or the activity below.

8. Create appreciation webs.

Another variation on the above idea is an appreciation web. Each student writes their name in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. Students then pass their papers in one direction and each student writes something they appreciate about the student whose paper they have in front of them. Then students pass the papers again until all students have contributed to each student's paper.

9. Share things you appreciate about your students with them.

Telling students what you appreciate about them can build confidence and give students things to appreciate about each other. Different ways to do this include creating a chart displaying something you appreciate about each student, or this educator's strategy of noticing great things about a few students each day, making a note of them, and then sharing them with the students.

Another option is to put sticky notes on student lockers with a kind message or note of appreciation, as shown in this school photo. And one teacher shared an idea on Twitter in which students had to "sneak" clothespins onto classmates' backpacks with positive notes on them.

10. Use appreciation as part of instruction and activities.

Teacher David Olio regularly gives his students note cards and asks them to write down a way in which a classmate helped their learning. This highlights students' contributions for him and the class — and offers some opportunities for informal assessment as well.

And first-grade teacher Amanda Tokko at Salina Elementary School created a kindness club called the Wildcat Kindness Club that focused on third graders. For example, during the month of teacher appreciation, the club took a cart full of goodies (pictured here) around to classrooms to pass out to teachers.

11. Read a story about gratitude.

The books on Colorín Colorado's Stories About Gratitude booklist highlight gratitude and appreciation across a variety of settings and cultures. These will make great read-alouds and for discussion.

You may also wish to look at a title like Be Kind from Language Lizard, which is available in multiple languages.

Ideas for Staff

12. Make space for gratitude and appreciation among the staff.

Highlighting gratitude and appreciation among staff members, especially during yet another taxing school year, can make a big difference in the staff dynamics. While it may take time for some staff members to warm up to this idea, sincere expressions of gratitude can go a long way in contributing to more collaboration, and as teaching coach Elena Aguilar writes, a more positive school culture.

Here are some ideas:

  • Set up an appreciation station in a staff lounge or departmental office where staff can post thank-you notes.
  • Set up public appreciation stations near places where different staff members work, such as the cafeteria, nurse's office, or guidance office.
  • Share examples of ways that other schools are celebrating gratitude, such as some of the activities above or the example of this principal, who shares a weekly message that always includes something or someone from the school he appreciates.
  • Start meetings with an appreciation focus. You might start with a round robin where each attendee shares something that another staff member did that they appreciate, or ask staff to volunteer examples of things that students or families have appreciated. At Salina Elementary School in Dearborn, MI, the principal led an activity where teachers wrote their name on a paper and then taped it to their back. Teachers walked around writing things they appreciated on each person's paper, and then each teacher pulled the paper off to read it. Staff were provided with frames so they could keep the paper as a memento.

In the same way that sharing success stories and celebrations among staff can lead to "a-ha" moments, this can also inspire some creative thinking and highlights some important contributions that might otherwise be overlooked.

Video: How thanking awakens thinking

Dr. Kerry Howells, a researcher specializing in gratitude and education, suggests that the key to creating fully engaged learners is to create an attitude of gratitude.

Family Engagement & Gratitude

13. Look for ways to emphasize gratitude in school-family partnerships.

There are many ways to make gratitude the focus of school-family partnerships. Here are some ideas you can try. Remember that all communication with multilingual families should happen in families' home languages and that families have a right to information in their home language.

  • Send positive messages home and make positive phone calls. This can be a high-yield strategy that benefits student behavior, mental health, and family partnerships. Teachers who make positive phone calls home often report better behavior and partnerships with families that benefit students, families, and teachers alike. For multilingual families, you can talk with a family liaison about the best way to communicate, use a language line, or try an app like TalkingPoints.
  • Thank families for ways they are contributing to the school or their students' education, whether in individual conversations or school-wide communication. This highlights positive steps and is a small but important way to acknowledge the stress that many families are still under during the pandemic.

You can also invite families to:

  • send in thank-you notes for a staff member who has helped their children
  • email or text messages that the school can compile
  • share examples with family liaisons who can pass them along to colleagues
  • post a note on an outdoor appreciation station

14. Share success stories related to families.

Another way to harness gratitude in support of family engagement is to ask staff to share their own experiences with families related to appreciation. This might be things that families have appreciated, or it might be things that staff members have appreciated about families. This can highlight what families appreciate and value and also give other staff members some ideas on what to try.

Video: Helping families with food insecurity during COVID-19

Barbara Alicea, a bilingual family advocate for Brockton Public Schools (MA), talks about the challenges of food insecurity during COVID-19 — and the lengths her families have gone to show their appreciation for her hard work.

Ideas for the School Community

15. Consider a school-wide gratitude campaign.

If you want to go big, you might try a school-wide campaign to highlight gratitude in different classrooms and spaces throughout the school. For example, you could:

  • set up a school-wide appreciation station can highlight contributions by students and different staff members throughout the school
  • invite families to send thank-you messages to staff
  • encourage individual teachers to use appreciation activities in their classroom

You can even share your experience with other schools or the local media to highlight the impact the gratitude campaign is having. This might just inspire others to do the same!

Closing Thoughts

Gratitude can be transformational, and small acts and message of gratitude can ripple outwards in big ways. Start small and build on your successes — now and all throughout the year!

Recommended Resources

Classroom strategies

Gratitude in the classroom: Resources from Edutopia

Personal gratitude practices

Gratitude resources for families

Random Acts of Kindness

Research on gratitude & education

For additional ideas and examples, see the archive of this Twitter chat on Talking About the Importance of Kindness and Gratitude with ELLs.


You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Colorín Colorado and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact

10 Strategies for Supporting SEL for ELLs: "Grow As You Go"

10 Strategies for Supporting SEL for ELLs: "Grow As You Go"

Ms. Alhaiki shows a student the message near her classroom

Learn how one elementary school with a large population of ELLs is integrating social and emotional learning more deeply throughout its school community and how those efforts are supporting student success.

One day, as her students were returning to the classroom from a specials class, first-grade teacher Amanda Tokko noticed that a little boy was upset. She asked him if he wanted to talk. He shook his head and walked over to the calm corner that Ms. Tokko had created. It included a hanging canopy, a box of fidget toys, and a book called "I Know What to Do When I Am Feeling..."

The boy looked through the book until he found the page about frustration. After looking at the page for a few moments, he went back to Ms. Tokko and told her he was ready to talk about what had been upsetting him. After a brief conversation, the boy had calmed down and returned to their class activity.

At Salina Elementary School in Dearborn, Michigan, these small yet significant moments are happening in classrooms throughout the building thanks to the school's deep commitment to social and emotional learning (SEL).

Salina Elementary is a Title I school whose student population is mostly English language learners (ELLs), many of whom are newcomer immigrants from the war-torn country of Yemen. Since numerous students in the Salina community have experienced family separation, trauma, and hardship related to the war or displacement, the school has long prioritized strong social and emotional supports for its students informed by training in trauma-informed practice.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, however, the school quickly recognized that they needed to further intensify their focus on SEL. Their efforts have yielded school-wide positive results in terms of students' ability to regulate emotions, manage conflict, and focus on their learning.

We had the opportunity to learn more about Salina's approach to SEL through surveys and interviews with the school staff and leaders. The following article highlights some of the reasons SEL is working at Salina and the staff's takeaways about why it matters. You can learn more about Salina from our documentary about the school and related resources below.

School-wide Initiatives

As the Salina staff has embarked on a deeper exploration of SEL within their own professional learning, they have scaled up SEL work they were already doing before the pandemic, integrating it into the classroom more intentionally, while also focusing on the social and emotional well-being of families and staff. This work has included the following:

1. Staff training

School leaders have ensured that the staff has had extensive training related to social-emotional learning, which continues on an ongoing basis. One of the key leaders of this effort has been the school social worker, who has led regularly scheduled professional development sessions on topics such as trauma-informed instruction. This not only provides important information for staff; it also fosters more collaboration between the social worker and teachers.

Principal Sue Stanley writes, "In terms of the school social worker and collaboration, it boils down to a school-wide practice of -- not just a belief in -- collaboration.  When true collaboration is present, it is natural for staff to reach out to the social worker for any questions or concerns. The social worker must be viewed as a leader...If the school leader sees it as a priority, the staff will as well." Ms. Stanley notes that the social worker is also part of the school's Multi-Tiered Support System (MTSS) meetings each week where teachers bring students for discussion and support.

2. Calm Classroom

Before COVID-19, the school had implemented the Calm Classroom program based on the recommendation of the social worker, which includes a curriculum that has weekly lessons and teaches students calming practices such as guided meditations. Principal Stanley writes, "Teachers and students start their day with short scenarios, calm breathing and classroom affirmations." Ms. Stanley notes that laying the groundwork around trauma and SEL can lead to meaningful conversations about why the Calm Classroom is important. "It's not hard to implement and takes just a few minutes a day. The results are so powerful," she says.

Ms. Tokko notes that she and her class do Calm Classroom exercises multiple times a day, including at times when the class needs to settle down. She and her students have some favorites, and she does the exercises with the students. She has noticed that the impacts of this program are extending home as well -- her students are teaching their families how to do some of the breathing exercises at home.

Teacher Diana Goodhue mentions the importance of ensuring that all students, including her ELLs, fully understand the activities before starting them. "I do the Calm Classroom activities with them so they see me model it," she says. "Then we stick with the same Calm Classroom for a week at a time so that they get comfortable with it."

3. Books and read-alouds

The school has also made reading a priority in their SEL work. For example, Classroom Book-A-Day is a school initiative that promotes read-alouds in the classroom. Many of the books that teachers read have to do with SEL. Ms. Tokko writes, "I like to read a book in the morning during morning meeting and after lunch to calm students down." Some of the books that Ms. Tokko has used are included in our SEL booklist, and others are listed at the end of the article.

In addition, the school participates in an initiative called "One School One Book," in which all students read a chapter book as a school.  For example, when the school read Wishtree by Katherine Applegate, which is the story about an immigrant girl who moves into a town that is not welcoming, the school planted their own Wishtree and did a dedication with their favorite quote: When things get tough, "stand tall and reach deep."  The students then went into the neighborhood and left messages on the doors of their neighbors, focusing on the theme "our differences make beautiful gifts" for the school year.

4. Family engagement

The school also continues to provide regular, ongoing communication in families' languages about things that are happening in class, how families can help their students, and supports such as social services. The school also holds regular family meetings where families have a chance to share their questions and concerns and talk about any challenges they are facing. Just as importantly, the school has figured out how to make its family outreach culturally responsive and align it to families' preferences. For example, in the Salina community, many of the mothers prefer to be in groups that only include other women, and so the school plans family events accordingly.

Classroom Environment

Another priority for the staff is building relationships with students and making them feel welcome. "I try my best to help students build confidence in themselves," says Ms. Tokko. "Our classroom really is a family." Here are some ways the staff is creating a nurturing environment for students.

5. Creating a welcoming classroom

The staff have placed a strong emphasis on creating a welcoming environment, posting notes of encouragement around the school, and getting to know students' interests. For example, teacher Welaya Alhaiki, pictured at the top of this article, has posted the following sign outside of her room:

Dear Students,
You are important.
You are listened to.
You are cared for.
You are respected.
You can be or do
You put your mind to.
I support you.
You are in a safe place!
Love, Ms. Alhaiki

Other signs around the school promote a sense of community while encouraging students to adopt a growth mindset. Positive messages are almost always in view of students throughout the building.

6. Calm corners

In addition, the leadership team has provided each teacher a small budget to create a calm corner in their classroom. Items include a canopy or tent, a few fidgets, and a special book, like the one Ms. Tokko mentioned above. Teacher Rebecca Rosemary uses her calm-down tent "for students having a hard time with emotions," while Ms. Goodhue reiterates the importance of making sure students know how to use the calm corner. "I demonstrate everything they have to use in the Calm Corner," she says.

Ms. Stanley notes that she used Title funds for the calm corner supplies, but that other parent clubs, program budgets, or SEL projects could also support this kind of initiative. The investment is well-worth it, says Ms. Stanley, especially when compared to what the schools spends on supplies.

Classroom Strategies

At the core of these efforts are the daily strategies that teachers are using to check in with students and help students build their emotional vocabulary. These efforts are integrated throughout the day and are part of students' routines so that they know what to expect and how to ask for help if needed.

7. Daily check-ins

One strategy the staff has been using regularly is student check-ins. These may be through individual conversations or circle time. Ms. Tokko also uses a letter box where students can leave a private note about how they are feeling. Ms. Kdouh does the same. She says, "I have this 'mailbox' in my calm corner with a pack of large sticky notes and a special pen where students who come to the calm corner can draw/write about how they’re feeling or why they came to the calm corner.  Students fold their note and slip it into my letter box. I check it daily before leaving school and it is locked so no one else can open it except me. Students are aware of this and share their feelings without feeling embarrassed or afraid that a peer might see it. After a student drops a letter in there, I unlock it and remove it so I can help them as soon as possible."

8. Building emotional vocabulary

These practices have also supported creative ways to increase students' communication around emotions and calming practices. For example, the teachers talk about what different feelings might feel like and have set up different ways for students to identify their feelings on a certain day. Ms. Tokko writes, "Students complete this feelings chart (pictured to the left) in the morning and after lunch to let me know how they’re feeling and how I can help. The clothespins have their student numbers on the other side but are flipped over for privacy." This way, Ms. Tokko can check in with the students who indicate they are upset.

The teachers also use commonly-used ELL scaffolds to support these resources and strategies. Kindergarten teacher Emily Wagner writes, "We use detailed visuals for emotions and calm-down practices so students know how to follow without knowing the words."

In addition, the social worker also provides SEL lessons to students and teachers look for way to make these connections to curriculum as well.


9. Celebrating successes

The school is also mindful of celebrating successes within the classroom and more broadly in the school. For example, Ms. Tokko has encouraged her students to clap for each other when they achieve positive accomplishments, no matter how small. She writes, "Students are always clapping for their peers' successes by themselves and using positive words in our classroom." (And she says that they clap for any guest who enters the classroom!) Ms. Stanley also notes that SEL goals and achievements will now be included in the school's Celebration Wall in the front office.

10. Celebrating families in the classroom

In addition, the staff at Salina are also actively partnering with families around SEL activities in the classroom. Some of their efforts include the following ideas:

  • Ms. Kdouh has created a family/student picture wall in her classroom.
  • Ms. Goodhue gives each student a "spotlight week" where they take home a poster and a pack of crayons to fill out about themselves. Ms. Goodhue writes, "Their poster is put in the hall for the week and they get to share it with the class. This gives them a chance to share things that are important to them and their family. It also gives parents a chance to help."

The school is also brainstorming ways to highlight these activities as part of family engagement this year so that families can continue to support SEL at home.

SEL in Action: Photos from Salina

Impacts of SEL and Lessons Learned

When asked what the impact of these efforts have had on students, teachers' responses are overwhelmingly positive. Here are what the teachers who completed our survey had to say:

  • Ms. Kdouh: "Students enjoy coming to school and don’t feel uncomfortable or scared."
  • Ms. Goodhue: "Many students have taken charge of their own mental health, taking breaks when needed, asking for help when they need to, and working on communicating with friends when there are issues."
  • Ms. Wagner: "Student self-regulation has improved, and students are able to guide themselves through calming practices. Students think more deeply about their emotional state and can identify ways to help themselves feel better."
  • Ms. Rosemary: "I am seeing fewer abrupt meltdowns in the classroom, and students are able to have more of a discussion when they are having strong feelings."
  • Ms. Tokko: "I have been able to instill empathy and compassion in our classroom. Students also have respect for me as well as their peers because I have showed them that I have respect for them as well. Students are more eager to learn and listen....and I try my best to help students build confidence in themselves."
  • Principal Stanley: "I am amazed at the gains we are making in behavior...The overall impact on the SEL focus is the safe space that is created in our school.  This space is here for everyone.  The comment that everyone makes when they walk into Salina is that it has such beautiful energy.  That can only be achieved by everyone in the building feeling that way.  The positive energy is there because everyone, both big and small are emitting it.

We also asked teachers to share their lessons learned about SEL. Here's what they shared:

  • Ms. Kdouh: "There is no one size fits all. All students convey emotions in a different way. This is why I use more than one SEL strategy."
  • Ms. Rosemary: "The importance of how SEL can help within other aspects of the school day."
  • Ms. Wagner: "Students are very responsive to routine, and SEL can easily fit into the academic routine."
  • Ms. Tokko: "Being calm in the classroom goes a long way. I have a student who is sensitive to loud noises. Incorporating Calm Classroom and creating a stress-free environment is crucial. Also, building a classroom community full of respect, trust, and confidence helps academics. SEL is the foundation...Students need social and emotional learning in order to succeed."
  • Ms. Goodhue: "It doesn't take a lot of effort to make it work. A little bit goes a long way to helping a lot of kids. You can grow as you go."

Support from Leadership

As noted throughout the article, this strong emphasis on SEL is made possible through direct and ongoing support from the school leadership team. From the teachers' perspectives, they shared that direct feedback, training, and dedicated time and resources for SEL were key ways in which school leaders were supporting their efforts in SEL.

The staff also note that the leaders have:

  • Shown appreciation and emotional support for teachers and students
  • Given staff opportunities to show their appreciation for each other
  • Provided opportunities for staff to build community through activities such as sharing a favorite photo with colleagues
  • Modeled the practices that are highlighted
  • Supported collaboration among team members and with social workers
  • "Tried to keep up staff morale even through a rough school year with the pandemic"

Ms. Tokko writes, "Our principal is like our cheerleader. She is always there for the teachers and staff and helping us get through the toughest times, especially during this pandemic."

For her part, Ms. Stanley knows that what she does matters, not only in terms of the support and resources she provides but also in terms of her example and priorities. She writes, "We will collectively discuss how to move students forward rather than 'catching up.' As a leader, I know I must model that behavior for staff as well. Teachers feel continual pressure to fit all the academics in.

"While we understand students cannot learn until they feel safe and connected, that takes time. I will continually be the reassurer and voice for that. I will commit to creating that same type of environment for them through thoughtful and intentional planning. And as their leader, I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with them and reminding them of this every step of the way."


Principal Sue Stanley: Why creating a calm, safe environment in schools matters

Principal Sue Stanley: When loud noises in school cause post-traumatic stress

A warm welcome for immigrant families in the front office

Norieah Ahmed, the Child Accounting Secretary at Salina Elementary School in Dearborn, MI, talks about her role in welcoming newcomer immigrant families to the school from the moment they walk in the door.

Looking at the whole child: Conversations with an award-winning social worker

Meet Dr. Rola Bazzi-Gates, a special education coordinator for Dearborn Public Schools and Michigan's 2016 Social Worker of the Year. Learn how her personal experience living through conflict helped prepare her to support students and families today.


You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Colorín Colorado and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact