Gregg Behr: Back to School

For the fifth part of this series, we asked our experts to reflect upon the things we need to consider as we prepare to reopen schools this fall. “What human, organizational, and/or technological infrastructures do we need to put into place to support sustained periods of learning at home and/or more frequent handoffs between teachers and caregivers over the course of the school year? To what or whom do we need to pay closer attention as we plan for the reopening of schools? What might we be overlooking?”

Be like Fred (Rogers)

Gregg Behr

Gregg Behr is the Executive Director of The Grable Foundation and Co-Chair of Remake Learning, a Pittsburgh-based network of educators and allies that recently launched a campaign to #RemakeTomorrow.

Often, when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else,” Fred Rogers once said. That’s exactly where we find ourselves now—what “something else” will look like is largely up to us.

Every school administrator is grappling with “something else” right now, as they prepare for what will be a very different new school year. Incredibly—in a matter of just weeks—schools shifted to new ways of preparing their teachers, educating their students, and supporting their parents. And they’re preparing to do it again, still navigating uncertainties.

Here in Pittsburgh, Fred Rogers’ hometown, we’re inspired often by his legacy of empathetic, child-centered, and simultaneously innovative approach to learning. And it’s that legacy that calls us to support young people in ways both timeless and original. Whatever we do, we know that deep and caring relationships must be at the core—between and among learners and their families, peers, teachers, and mentors. So how might we do that now in the context of either remote or in-person learning?

  • What if we provided all teachers and counselors with “family hours,” supporting daily efforts to communicate with parents, families, and caregivers?
  • What if we invested in “coaches” for our students, ever-present motivators who might become mentors and advocates for students?
  • What if we designed supports for administrators so that their schools become more culturally-responsive, gender-supportive, and anti-racist?

However creative our technological or structural solutions will be, they must be resourcefully human, too. Just like Fred.


See more posts in this series:

Voices on the Future of Childhood

Akimi Gibson | Elisha Smith Arrillaga | Esther Wojcicki | Gregg Behr
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin | Molly McMahon | Robert Tom Kalinowski | Tom Liam Lynch