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Support group created to help educators navigate pandemic

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Educators have had to overcome one thing after another during this pandemic.

That’s why the state and Project Renew created a new support group.

Since last March educators have faced many obstacles while still making sure kids are learning

“I was terrified. And my mental health was taking a toll while I was trying to support my fifth graders who are also going through things with their families and stuff too. It was…It was tough,” explained Katie Roth, a teacher with Bismarck Public School.

“We started out with huge classrooms. Like I had 31 first graders to start out with. And you’re correcting their slides until 1, 2 in the morning. And then you start up again the next day,” explained Shelley Feney, a teacher with Bismarck Public Schools.

Both of these teachers use distance learning to teach their students.

They say staying on top of creating bonds with their kids helps them make sure to keep that line of communication open with parents.

“We do meet pretty regularly too just to check in and for them to know what’s going on, but also to feel supported saying you’re good. I’ve got your kids. If you can make sure that they’re logging in, I will support them as much as I need to,” explained Roth.

“How they’re doing and they look at their grades and they’re like this is working. But it’s working because the parents and the children are putting in a lot of effort,” explained Feney.

It’s everything not just teachers but educators around the state has gone through that led to a monthly support group through Behavioral Services and Project Renew.

“It’s people from Minot. It’s people from Grand Forks. From Watford City. From Wahpeton. From anywhere throughout the state can meet together. And so they’re actually able to make connections and make some friendships that they might not as well you know have started before,” said Cassie Skalicky, a Crisis Counselor with Project Renew.

Every third Monday they’ll hold group discussions and confront the struggles they’re facing in the COVID-era with the hopes this will give them the tools to help them get through those tough days.

“Anytime there’s change in life it can be difficult and challenging. And so this is a way for us to provide support not only to the teachers for themselves but so they can provide support to others,” explained Skalicky.

The group meets virtually and it’s completely free and confidential for all educators.

If you would like to join the group here is how you can:

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