How to Create a Successful Student Assistance Program

how to create a successful student assistance program blog post

A student’s main focus when they’re at school should be to learn, but sometimes there are non-academic barriers that prevent them from being able to do so. That is why creating a successful Student Assistance Program (SAP) is critical for establishing a strong foundation to break down those barriers so all students can have an equal opportunity to learn. 

Streamline the Process 

To improve efficiency and efficacy, a streamlined process is imperative. When everything connects, the operation results in less errors and delays as well as lowered expenses. One of the best ways to do this is through an electronic system like aSAP

Our aSAP software tool has improved the process of creating a successful SAP. The software allows your staff to complete all that goes along with an SAP completely electronically. From initial referrals from staff and ending with the completion of end-of-year reports, aSAP handles it all in an easy-to-use manner. The result? Much higher efficiency than using paper and pencil. You’ll be able to collaborate and construct a league of school staff and partner with outside agencies to form a team. The system integrates seamlessly with most Student Information Systems while protecting the school’s information in a safe, secure environment.  

Keeping Things Connected 

It can be frustrating when pieces of your process do not work well together. But, our aSAP software is designed to work electronically alongside your school’s safety and anti-bullying programs, allowing you to dig deeper for patterns in behavior when determining  remedies. An easier way to keep everything connected is by also utilizing HIBster, our own anti-bullying software. 

Unfortunately, bullying and other disturbances continue to take place in schools, but we have developed a way for your staff to efficiently manage and resolve bullying and other types of incidents. HIBster provides you with a plethora of accurate and meaningful data, which your school can use to improve your SAP. From reporting to assigning tasks, this anti-bullying program combined with  aSAP will elevate your school’s SAP. 

Efficiency is Key 

We understand that implementing new software into schools can often be a hassle, but our software, tools and systems are different from the rest. We also relate to the frustrations of past software failing your expectations, which is why we ensure any of our software used to develop a SAP will all communicate and work seamlessly with one another. Help break down your student’s non-academic barriers and implement the right tools needed to create a meaningful and successful Student Assistance Program. 

Kick-start the Process 

Make your students feel important and seen by creating a successful SAP. We offer demos of our software and are here to answer any questions you may have. Our goal is to provide the tools needed to build a strong and connected school. We’ve made it easier than ever by creating our software options to be completely electronic, even before COVID (so there are no kinks to work through). Best of all, our software can be bundled together.

If you’re ready to create a SAP that works, see the impeccable benefits aSAP has to offer your school by requesting a demo today. (No commitment required.)

Have a general question you’d like answered first? Our support team is readily available to respond to inquiries in a timely fashion. Simply give us a call at 1 (866) 315-2306 or email [email protected].

20 Fun Activities That Are Perfect For Spring

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Anyone who deals with the winter blues is most likely welcoming the warm spring weather, blooming trees, and hum of bees with welcome arms. Springtime weather is a great time to bond with your family in special ways, and also brings fun new projects in the classroom. Let’s take a look at some springtime activities perfect for both the family and classroom.

For the family

  1. Take a nature walk. 

Notice all the blooming flowers and trees. You can make it fun by looking out for specific flora, such as daffodils, or look out for butterflies and baby birds.

  1. Start a planter garden

It’s a fun family activity to watch the process of a plant grow–plus if you plant fruits or veggies you can taste the fruits of your labor!

  1. Make homemade ice cream.

Nothing welcomes warm weather better than ice cream! This is a great way to introduce your children to cooking and how it works.

  1. Go camping.

After the last year of COVID, being in nature for a few days could be a nice way to get away from the house and normal chaos of life.

  1. Collect and paint rocks. 

This could be both a science lesson and fun art activity. Collect rocks and try to get your children to guess what kind of rocks they are. Then paint the standard rocks you find for some creative fun!

  1. Head over to the playground.

Playgrounds are the classic “get out of the house” adventure during warm weather. 

  1. Put together an outdoor scavenger hunt.

This is a creative way to explore your backyard and see parts you never thought of!

  1. Stargaze and learn about space.

Space is both fascinating and relaxing. This is something you could also do while camping–get away from the light pollution and truly see the stars!

  1. Bake some festive cupcakes.

Play with colors! Use pink, yellow, or lavender frosting and dress it up with colorful sprinkles.

  1. Make your own bird feeder and observe birds in your area.

Believe it or not, birds are entertaining to watch once you notice their routines and habits. Plus you’d be surprised how many different breeds are living in your area!

For the classroom

  1. Learning about stormy spring weather and how it works.

If there’s one thing that spring guarantees is stormy weather. Take advantage of a rainy day to talk about weather cycles.

  1. Studying the butterfly life cycle.

Butterflies are one of the many fun and beautiful parts of spring, and their life cycle is an easy and basic start into science lessons.

  1. Color-changing carnations activity to show how roots work.

This is an exciting and creative way to teach your students about roots and other plant action. Plus it’s fun to watch the carnations change color!

  1. Learn about the rainforest!

Explore all the animals common to rainforest and the different layers that the rain forest has.

  1. Have fun with words with spring-themed word searches.

You could tie any of the other activities into this word search as well. For example, have a Cinco de Mayo or Mother’s Day word search. Poetry could also be a great option for some creative lessons with words.

  1. Craft some fun Cinco de Mayo themed projects.

Cinco de Mayo is the perfect time to make sure your students are educated on other cultures and ethnicities. Take advantage of the colorful themes of the holiday for some engaging crafts.

  1. Don’t forget Mother’s Day projects!

Cute crafts will surely warm the hearts of the mothers of your students. Plus it’s a great opportunity to teach your students about feelings, gratitude, and more.

  1. Learn about worms and what goes on under the soil.

Whether you think worms are gross or cool, it’s fascinating to see the intricate tunnels and systems that worms create under our feet.

  1. Study seed germination to further understand how plants grow!

This is another way to teach your students the process of plant growth and how it works.

  1.  Have a lesson specifically about space!

Like we’ve said, space has so much to study that you’re bound to find dozens of fun and interesting lessons. 

Final Thoughts

We hope you found some inspiration for some activities to do this spring. Let us know what else you have planned this spring!

How Guidance Counselors Support Students

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Guidance counselors are the unsung heroes in schools. They work to provide help to students in many different ways: providing instruction on psychological and social issues, guidance with college and other careers, counseling, intervention, special needs services, and more. This assistance is so important in ensuring that students are prospering in the best ways that they can. Let’s take a look at other ways that guidance counselors can support students.

Academic Support

There’s a lot of stressors during high school years: classes, preparing for higher education or careers, navigating new feelings and friendships, and so much more. This is where the help of guidance counselors comes in. They can help students navigate the scary and stressful processes of scheduling, transcripts, and college applications. Plus counselors can encourage those students who aren’t quite sure what to do with themselves to explore passions and talents. 

If a student is struggling with a particular class or lesson, they can approach their counselor so they can perform better. Counselors can work with teachers to ensure this as well.

Social and Emotional Support

When most people think of school counselors, they think of the emotional and social support they can provide to students. This one-on-one support is helpful when a student needs to discuss bullying or seek crisis counseling. Since mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are becoming more normalized in society now, counselors may be seeing an increase in students approaching them about these feelings. 

Despite this, it’s important to remember that school counselors are not therapists. However, they can provide resources and make referrals to students if they feel that their issues are something that a different professional should handle.

Resources For Parents

One thing that guidance counselors can help with that many people don’t consider is helping parents. School counselors can offer families strategies for parenting and helpful advice on how to connect with their children. 

School counseling has shifted a lot over the years; before it was seen as a more reactive career, where they waited for students to show up for help. Nowadays it is more proactive, where counselors want both parents and students to know they are a resource who want to help.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve said, guidance counselors are an important part of the school system. They want to help students so they can thrive emotionally, academically, and socially. Counselors can work with teachers to ensure this as well. Many of our programs can help schools achieve this success for their students, including Onspire, aSAP, and HIBster. You can contact us on our website and check our social media to learn more about us.

Ways to Create Cultural Awareness in the Classroom

Schools should be a safe space for students to come and feel welcome regardless of their culture. It is pivotal for teachers and staff to be a student’s ally. Based on the recent increase in anti-Asian violence, now more than ever, teachers and staff should be bringing light and addressing cultural diversity within the classroom by establishing cultural awareness. It can be challenging to figure out ways to incorporate this much-needed element into the classroom, however, we’ve put together some tips to help elevate cultural awareness within your school.

 Understanding Culture


Creating cultural awareness first begins with understanding what culture means. There are a lot of factors that go into how someone defines their culture. Often culture can be broken down into people’s beliefs, values, language, societal roles, etc. You can turn the breakdown of culture into a fun and interactive activity for your students by giving them the opportunity to share about their cultures. As you get to know your student’s backgrounds, be aware that you’re being culturally sensitive while discussing their cultures with them. You should celebrate the differences in their traditions, beliefs, and social behaviors. Your goal is to foster inclusion within the classroom.

Do Your Research/Educating Yourself


 Taking the time to educate yourself on the basics of the different cultures that are in your classroom will help build a strong foundation for you to create cultural awareness in your classroom. From there you’ll be able to help assist students with their journey of learning and understanding other cultures. An activity you can use to get students to also participate in researching other cultures is assigning students to research and learn about other cultures from all around the world. Break the students down into groups and assign them a continent and have them create a presentation about the various cultures that originate from that continent. Then have them share what they’ve learned with the class. This will allow for an open discussion for students to ask, learn and gain new perspectives on other cultures. 

Incorporating Culture into Lessons


 An efficient solution to create cultural awareness is by integrating the topic into your curriculum. One way to do this is by using a platform like our Onspire Program, which is specifically geared toward cultural awareness and social-emotional learning (SEL). EDS recognizes that teachers and staff may not have the time to dedicate to broadening student’s understanding of cultural diversity, which is why we created a software that can.

Our program gives schools the ability to have students complete lessons on their own, have staff lead lessons on these issues, or blend the program with staff instruction and self-directed learning. C3: Compassion, Civility, and Cultural is a module in Onspire that teaches harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention; civility and compassion; and cultural awareness. As a literacy-based curriculum, C3’s characters from the fictional Pleasant Valley School “grow” with your students as they journey together from preschool to grade 8, experiencing developmentally typical situational storylines that provide your students with real-world learning experiences.

By having relatable characters and storylines, the lessons become more memorable and are therefore more likely to stick with your students as time goes on.


All in all, as we make social emotional learning part of a regular curriculum, we are creating a positive domino effect of student advocates for anti-bullying, cultural awareness, and compassion. 

Because we come from the world of education, we also realize implementing new programs is easier said than done, which is why we’ve designed our systems to be easily integrated into your existing language arts literacy and health programs. Schedule a free demo with our team today so that you can see the tools in action.

6 Ways to Teach Inclusivity in the Classroom

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Teaching inclusivity is an important way to combat bullying. When students know that others are different and valid the way they are, it leads to them becoming more accepting of others. We made a blog post last year about other ways that teaching inclusivity can benefit children. Now let’s take a look at some ways to teach inclusivity in the classroom.

Change around the seating plan

Though it may still be a while before we fully go back to in-school classes, it is a good thing to consider to change around the seating plan. It allows your students to get to know each other more and get a different perspective.

Ensure all your students can effectively communicate

This includes ensuring that any assistive devices are working properly and can allow your students to communicate easily with their peers.

Learn how to say your students’ names

It may seem silly, but double checking the pronunciation of various names. If it seems like it may have an unconventional pronunciation or spelling, it may make their day to know that someone put in the effort to pronounce their name correctly.

Teach material in different ways

Not every student learns the exact same way, and teachers know this. Try to teach your material in different ways to discover everyone’s strengths.

Education children on how their words matter

It’s important that students understand how powerful their words can be–this is why it’s important to ensure you aren’t ignoring your students’ harmful languages or actions. Encourage them to consider if their words could be negatively affecting someone.

Incorporate marginalized voices into the curriculum

Using materials from a variety of perspectives will help students understand that world views vary differently depending on the background of the person. 

Final Thoughts

There are a variety of different ways to develop a more inclusive background. Working with the principal in the school to encourage more classrooms to try inclusive activities is also extremely effective. How do you teach inclusivity in your school? We’d love to know.

2021 COVID Relief For Schools

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Despite news on the COVID-19 vaccine, there’s still a lot of things that are uncertain. One glimmer of hope in a world of uncertainty, though, is a new COVID relief package signed into law in December. 

The COVID relief package in December dedicated $54.3 billion for K-12 schools, and another $130 billion was proposed in January by the Biden administration. You can learn more about the proposal here

Uses for these funds include but are not limited to:

  • Providing resources principals need to address COVID at their school
  • Addressing the specific needs of disadvantaged students, including those living in poverty, learning English, experiencing homelessness, dealing with disabilities or living in foster care
  • Purchasing PPE and supplies needed to disinfect schools
  • Purchasing the hardware and software needed to conduct remote and hybrid learning
  • Providing services to support student mental health

More details about the state-by-state breakdown of the funds along with the full list of uses for the funds can be found here.

Additional Funding in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania alone, the Tribune Review reports that Gov. Tom Wolf will be dedicating $2.2 billion to K-12 districts and charter schools. Although schools will still need to apply through the state Department of Education’s website before receiving monthly payments. 

According to the January 15 article by the Tribune Review,

“School districts and charter schools may use [Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER)] funding for a wide range of activities, including food service; professional training; technology purchases; sanitization and cleaning supplies; summer and after-school programs; and mental health supports.

A list of ESSER II fund allocations is available on PDE’s website. Funds must be used by September 2023. School districts and charter schools must apply to PDE to obtain their allocated funds. The application process will be posted on the PDE website.

If you need more efficient and user-friendly software for your remote and hybrid learning environments, our Onspire and aSAP! platforms can help make your lives easier, especially during this time. You can schedule a free demo today to see if our programs are the right fit for you.

What to Look for in Educational Software for Your School

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Schools have had no choice but to adapt to teaching virtually due to the Pandemic. Now more than ever, it is important for schools to find an education software that will allow their staff and students to excel in the world of academia. Luckily, a new COVID relief package was passed at the end of 2020, which dedicates $54.3 billion for K-12 schools. In addition to this, the Biden administration is proposing another $130 billion to go to primary and secondary schools to provide even more relief, as reported by Future Ed. These relief benefits can go toward schools needing to adopt an education software to conduct remote and hybrid learning, but with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know where to spend these dollars wisely. Here are some key things to look for while deciding which education software is best for your school. 


There are a variety of educational software programs on the market, but as you know, their network connection is not always a guarantee. Those hard-working students deserve to focus on learning and not struggling with the frustrations of poor network connection issues brought on by unreliable software. When shopping for your electronic tools, be sure to check that you have direct access to a support team that can be there for you when an issue arises. With all of our software programs, we have a dedicated support staff that is responsive to all questions and concerns in a timely manner. 


Your school would benefit most by selecting an education software that is versatile. Teaching remotely comes with plenty of challenges, so picking software that allows you to do multiple tasks within one system will help save you time and stress. With a tool like our Onspire platform, your staff can have the ability to complete personalized professional development, create custom courses for their students, and share online programs with parents, all with one simple login. Make sure whatever system you choose is reducing the number of platforms you need to do your job instead of creating more issues. 


While looking for education software, schools should consider the efficiency of the program. There are only so many hours in a school day to tackle what needs to be done. Finding a program that streamlines the processes of remote learning, automated reporting and simplifies incident management is a miracle. For example, our anti-bullying software, HIBster, is a miracle worker with its ability for users to create custom reports and manage a school safety program as they enter incident data by utilizing our multi-tab automation process. Not to mention, it includes Student Information Systems (SIS) integration, making it easy to access student details without adding on a completely different system. The tool you use should also have this same capability so that you’re not adding on additional unnecessary work.


Last but certainly not least, the software needs to be secure. Of course, you already knew that. However, we feel it’s important to stress this anyway due to the number of online systems that have been hacked during this adaptation phase of our lives. This is something that we knew was integral prior to a pandemic even being an issue, and our developers make it a top priority to ensure all information is safe, secure, and protected. Asking how companies ensure the security of the school and students’ information is in place will help save you issues in the future. 

 Deciding Factors

With funding available, now is the time to take advantage of updating your school’s education software. Finding a program that fits all your school’s needs doesn’t have to be a painful process. All of our software options have the capability to not only be streamlined together but also are completely electronic, which allows schools to communicate with one another within one district without being in the same office. Our hope is that these programs will transform the way clerical work is managed throughout your district, saving you both time and money while still being effective in your goals. You can see first-hand how reliable, versatile and efficient our programs are by requesting a free demo today

Ways to Collaborate With Students For Student Advocacy

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Students are most successful when they have the proper support to ensure their needs are being met so that they can perform their best. As a worker in the educational field, you are in the position to acknowledge what needs to be done to ensure students’ success. This is why advocating for your students is so important. Here are ways to collaborate with students for student advocacy.

Be an active listener

This is the most important thing to remember above all. You can’t actively help students with what they need if you aren’t fully listening to these desires. It goes above listening to needs though; take note of what students are interested in. Notice what they’re good at. Observe what they struggle with and consider alternative ways to teach these subjects. Let your students know that you care about them.

Be vocal

As an educator, your voice will most likely be the thing that pushes for change on a larger scale. We are lucky to live in a time of technology, where it’s simple to connect with others whether it’s lawmakers or peers. The National Association of School Psychologists has a guide for how to educate lawmakers on your advocacy.

Know laws and policies

It would be difficult to advocate for students’ rights without knowing what these rights are. Educate yourself on accommodations on your students’ plans. Familiarize yourself with your school’s anti-bullying and harassment policies so you can learn how to properly approach these situations if they occur.

Get support from others

As we’ve discussed in other blog posts, it’s impossible to do everything on your own. It’s important to recognize that you may need to reach out and get support from principals, parents, your special education staff, and any community members. An example of this would be if a student is struggling with their mental health. You would need to collaborate with the school counselor/psychologist to ensure this student gets proper support.

Final thoughts

Student advocacy is extremely important in ensuring success in your school. The most important thing to takeaway from this article is to always be open and willing to listen. You can’t help a student if you don’t know what’s wrong. If you’re unsure where to turn in your student advocacy, any of our programs can help you on your journey to helping your students succeed. Contact us today to learn more.

Why Post-Holiday Gratitude Still Matters

why post-holiday gratitude still matters

The holiday season encourages many people to reconsider how they practice gratitude in their lives. However, we think it’s important to be grateful beyond the holidays. Practicing gratitude can help in both your personal life and professional life–especially when you are working with and influencing children and teens. Let’s take a look at how gratitude can help you both inside and outside of the classroom.

Benefits of practicing and teaching gratitude

Gratitude can have a larger or smaller impact on our daily lives. Generally though, it makes us feel more optimistic, positive, and enthusiastic about our lives. It encourages us to be passionate, kind, and forgiving. 

This extends to students, too. Gratitude lessons can help students become kinder in situations where they may have typically lashed out before. For example, if students are in a group activity gratitude may remind them to be kinder to their group members.

Gratitude can also lead to becoming closer with your students. Showing them kindness can lead your students to appreciate you more.

However, gratitude is something that should be practiced without an expectation of something in return. True signs of gratitude happen because they are genuinely thankful. It’s important to remind your students of this.

Practicing gratitude in your personal life

Here are some ideas of things to remind yourself to be thankful for:

  • “I have a job.”
  • “I helped ___ (student’s name, or even coworker) today.”
  • “I have a home.”
  • “I had a lovely dinner.”
  • “I have colleagues I get along with and can laugh with.”
  • “My friends are there for me in my times of need.”
  • “The weather was nice today.”
  • “Today was better than yesterday.”

Gratitude can be as basic as enjoying a cup of your favorite brand of coffee, or as significant as good news after hearing about something tragic. Anything significant to you is something you can be grateful for.

Teaching gratitude in the classroom

There are many projects you can ask your students to do to encourage gratitude:

  • Ask your students to share something they’re thankful for. This can be in either a journal entry or round robin session.
  • Model gratitude for your students. Examples: thank them for being kind to one another, for persevering when they struggled with a project, etc.
  • Implement gratitude into your lesson plans. This can be in a way where you ask your students whether a character was showing gratitude or not.

You can encourage your students to practice gratitude in any way that you feel fits best for your students. We’d love to hear if there are any ways you practice gratitude with your students.

Final thoughts

It’s important to remind students that gratitude and kindness matter all year long, not just around the holiday season. Programs like our Onspire C3 can help you implement more lessons about compassion, civility, and cultural awareness. If you’d like to learn more about us and our programs, contact us today.

How Teachers Can Help With Holiday Mental Health

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Some students rely heavily on school to take a break from their home life, and during the year of remote learning, these students may be struggling. Even students who don’t have rough home lives may also be struggling this holiday season. This season is unlike any other. Children may be unable to see their grandparents, and their parents may not have had the budget for Christmas shopping. 

As a teacher, you have the chance to help them emotionally as best as you can. It may be a bit trickier to help your students’ mental health over Zoom or Google Meet, but you can still help. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself, too, though!

Know the signs of a distressed student

Sometimes, a student will hide their internal crises really well, making it almost impossible to detect. Other times, it will be plain as day that they are going through a rough time. Regardless, it’s important to watch for even the most subtle of signs. We have a blog post about student referrals that also includes signs to look out for, but we will include a list here as well:

  • Frequently thinking/talking about problems
  • Change in personality/actions (a quiet student becoming loud, or a louder student becoming quiet)
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Speaking as if no one cares for them, nobody will notice if they were gone, etc.
  • Threats of suicidal and other self-harming behaviors
  • Sudden change in social life (not being with friends, for example)

Your gut reaction to these behaviors may be to reach out to family members, but it may be better to reach out to the student themselves. It is possible that you’ll get some pushback, but in many scenarios the student will be happy that someone noticed their struggle. Reaching out to a student first may also build some trust, which is crucial in scenarios like these.

How to help their mental health

When this trust is built with your student, they are more likely to come to you for help. You will want to help them as best as you can, but it’s important to remember that you’re not a counselor; there’s only so much you can do. Here are some tips for how to help your student without burdening yourself too much.

  • Show that you care and are willing to give them time and attention
    • In many situations where a student is struggling, all they want is to simply be heard and cared for. 
  • Be non judgmental, calm, and accepting
    • It’s important to listen when they come to you with their problems. They will likely be reluctant and scared to reach out because they don’t want an overreaction. Show them that you just want what’s best for them without any judgement.
  • Identify how and when to reach out for more help
    • You can do this by encouraging the student to reach out to a guidance counselor, welfare advisor, or even a friend if the situation is less severe. Remember that you don’t have to deal with the situation alone; if you feel like your student is in danger, report it to the principal so the school can intervene.

It can be easy to feel guilty after referring a student, but remember that you are referring them for not only their wellbeing, but yours too.

Other ways to encourage wellness in your students

You can help prevent extra stress with some of these ideas:

  • Take pressure off your students if possible
    • This means refraining from big assignments close to the holidays. 
  • Reward your students for reaching milestones, or finally figuring out an assignment they struggled with
  • Encourage breathing exercises, especially during stressful situations
  • Give time for your students to talk (and remind them to ask for help)
  • Emphasize helping others
    • It’s amazing how much an act of kindness can help your mood!

Final thoughts

Your students’ mental health is important. Flourishing in school is difficult if your mental health is suffering. As their teacher, you have the ability to help, but you should acknowledge your own limits. It can be overwhelming to take care of your students’ assignments, help them when possible, keep up with your own deadlines, and of course, manage your own life. That’s why we have a post detailing some self-care tips for teachers

If you are looking for a way to easily and efficiently refer any struggling students, you should take a look at our Student Assistance Program, aSAP! This program allows you to streamline the entire student assistance process from start to finish. It’s completely electronic, and allows you to easily collaborate with your team.