Bridging the connection gap with Along

School may already be underway in your district, or is just about to begin. No matter where you are in the back to school season, now is the time to consider how to prioritize teacher-student connections in your classroom this year. That’s because when students have a positive relationship with their teachers, they simply show up differently to school and are more likely to have a successful year ahead.

We know that this is easier said than done, given the challenges that exist in our classrooms. How can educators think about building relationships when there are very real time constraints affecting each day, and when there aren’t always resources available to help? These concerns have led to what we call a “connection gap” between teachers and students that requires a solution.

The team of educators here at Along understand the need for an easy—and free—solution to help foster positive teacher-student relationships. And that’s why we built Along, a first-of-its-kind teacher-student connection builder. Along is a space for educators to guide meaningful conversations with their students, allowing us to see each other as real people and to help students feel seen and known.

Along offers access to hundreds of research-informed reflection questions, classroom activities, and educator practices. Educators can start using Along by checking out the recommended first reflection question, recording their own answer, and then sharing it with their students. Students will see their teacher’s question in their Along account and can respond in whatever way they feel most comfortable—via text, audio, or video. Their answers go directly back to their teacher, eliminating peer pressure and starting to build critical one-one-one teacher-student connections.

But don’t just take our word for it. Along was recently named a “Best Tool for Back to School” for 2022 by Common Sense Education, a trusted and independent source that educators look to for advice about technology to use in their classrooms. And, we’ve been hearing from educators across the country about how Along has been making a difference.

For example, Rochester Public Schools in Rochester, Minn. is using Along as part of a district-wide focus on building relationships in the 2022-23 school year after piloting it with a number of their educators last year. As Will Ruffin II, Executive Director of Equity and Engagement, Rochester Public Schools, explained, “Relationship building should be the absolute number one priority for any adult who is going to have students in the classroom. That’s what’s truly important, not so much the book that’s in front of the student. If their basic needs aren’t met, learning is not going to occur. We knew that we had to find some way to offer a different kind of connection for our students and teachers, and Along filled that void for us.”

Want to learn more about Along? Please visit https://www.along.org/ and sign up today!