1.04k → 776 bytes 72.86%

How to Prioritize Student Well-Being in Middle & High School

As the excitement of the holidays fades away and the days seem shorter, students often find themselves navigating the most challenging months of the school year. January, February, and March can be particularly daunting, with the promise of better weather feeling like a distant dream. However, it’s crucial to prioritize student well-being during this time and find ways to maintain their motivation and effort levels despite the seasonal challenges.

Sustaining Effort Amidst Seasonal Challenges

One of the significant hurdles students face, both in and out of the classroom, is the need for sustained effort to accomplish their goals. In a world where instant success stories abound, it’s essential to instill in students the value of consistent hard work over time. Schools play a pivotal role in fostering an environment where students are encouraged to commit to their academic pursuits with enduring effort.

Social context allows students to see the relevance of their education at a museum in Chicago

Creating a Supportive Environment

At our school, we’ve implemented various strategies to support students during these demanding months. Our trimester structure includes a culminating event in early March, providing students with a tangible goal to work towards. This immediate incentive helps them sustain their efforts despite the challenges of the season.

Additionally, we’ve strategically scheduled internships during the second trimester to offer students unique and high-stakes experiences outside the traditional classroom setting. These opportunities not only add novelty to their learning but also promote sustained effort through focused engagement.

Bennett Day students demonstrate their learning

Balancing Academic Focus with Social Engagement

While academic growth remains a priority, we also recognize the importance of providing students with opportunities for relaxation and socialization. Winter Spirit Week, student lock-ins, and dances offer much-needed breaks from the academic grind, allowing students to recharge and build resilience for the tasks ahead.

Supporting Student Growth

During this time, it’s normal for students to experience moments of frustration or decreased motivation. However, these challenges are opportunities for growth and development. As educators, we remain committed to guiding students through these periods, offering support and encouragement along the way.

Bennett Day students

Parental Engagement: Fostering Executive Functioning Skills

As parents, your involvement is invaluable in nurturing your child’s academic endurance. Engage with them in discussions about their academic projects and summer plans, asking questions that encourage them to think critically about their goals and the steps needed to achieve them. By addressing essential executive functioning skills, such as time management and decision-making, you empower your child to navigate challenges with confidence.

Bennett Day school students participate in project-based learning that leads to better well-being

Building Academic Endurance

Just as a runner doesn’t train for a marathon in a single day, we’re committed to scaffolding students’ academic training throughout these challenging months. Through carefully curated experiences and supportive checkpoints, we strive to strike a balance that promotes growth without overwhelming students.

Project-based learning at Bennett Days School


As we navigate through the demanding months of January, February, and March, let’s prioritize student well-being and academic growth. By creating a supportive environment, fostering resilience, and engaging in meaningful discussions, we can empower students to thrive despite the challenges they face. Together, we’ll overcome these obstacles and emerge stronger on the journey toward success.

This article was originally published as a letter to the Bennett Day community from Martin Moran, the Lead Designer of the Upper and Middle Schools. Each month, we share insight with families about the “why” behind Bennett Day programs to reinforce our values and highlight how these philosophies manifest themselves in the lives of our learners.