Virtual Groups Help Students Stay Connected During Pandemic

Glow Up Group, Saucedo Elementary

After receiving a generous donation of beauty products from Ulta Beauty, Student Supports Manager Ms. Juanita Herrera wanted to create a virtual group for her students that incorporated beauty, self-esteem, and self-care. In the fall, she reached out to several seventh- and eighth-grade girls to see if they were interested in a Glow Up Group, and she heard a resounding yes! Ms. Herrera supplemented the palette and lip gloss contributions from Ulta with other beauty items she was able to collect from friends and family members, and she put together beauty bags for each of the group members.

Middle School Boys Group, Hefferan Elementary

Without recess or passing periods in remote learning, it can be difficult for students to have natural interactions with their peers. Student Supports Manager Mr. Ken Stratton has structured his virtual groups at Hefferan Elementary School on the West Side to allow space for unstructured conversation and time for fun. One activity he has used to help students connect is leading a virtual scavenger hunt. Mr. Stratton asks each student to find an item around their home that brings them joy, helps with remote learning, or even motivates them on a hard day. This activity allows the students to connect on a deeper level, and some of the students have even challenged their family members to participate in the scavenger hunt.

Middle School Girls Groups, Hayt Elementary

Students at Hayt Elementary on the North Side were feeling exhausted and overwhelmed this fall from endless hours of remote-learning screen time and fears around COVID-19. More than anything, students were feeling disconnected from their peers and the personal support that school communities provide. Student Supports Manager Ms. Emma Heidorn sensed that her students, particularly her eighth-grade girls, were seeking social connection and friendship, so she started a virtual girls’ groups.



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Communities In Schools of Chicago

Communities In Schools of Chicago

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