Voices in Education Podcast

Episode 23: Building a Climate of Kindness & Inclusion

September 04, 2023 Season 3 Episode 23
Voices in Education Podcast
Episode 23: Building a Climate of Kindness & Inclusion
Show Notes Transcript

With student mental health and wellness at an all-time low, the work of our school counselors, student services teams and support staff has never been a more important or powerful tool. From helping to build stronger school systems to bolster the help we provide, to offering one-to-one support for staff and students alike, their roles are integral in battling the wellness crisis we face in the education space.

Sarah Kirk, one such counselor, consultant and trainer, prides herself on not only helping schools and districts to build such systems, but on emphasizing the widespread benefits of creating meaningful communities within our schools. With her work for the State Department of Education and Yoga 4 Classrooms, she strives to create a climate of kindness and inclusion for all. 

Join Sarah on Voices in Education as she shares the story of her career so far, how she came to understand the importance of working together as a community within the school environment, and what she believes will help us all to improve the mental health crisis for our students. Her perceptions and knowhow are second to none – this is a conversation too insightful to miss!

Voices in Education is powered by Securly

Securly is your school’s all-in-one solution for student safety, wellness, and engagement. Securly's 2023 State of Student Wellness Report is a free-to-download paper that takes a closer look into the data and current trends surrounding student wellness. You'll learn how your school can overcome resource limitations, introduce efficient technologies into the classroom, and ultimately better support the students who need your help the most.

Download your free copy of this illuminating special report today.

Adam Smith: 00:02 You are listening to the Voices in Education Podcast, powered by Securly. In our third season of the podcast, we're fine-tuning our focus and shining a spotlight where we believe it's needed most. On those who've dedicated their careers and lives to education. Whether inside or outside of the classroom, we know that students need to feel seen, safe and supported to perform at their best, but these aren't just the needs of students. They're basic human needs that apply to our educators, administrators, and school mental health professionals as well. There's a saying that you can't pour from an empty cup. Well, you are invited to fill your cup here with us. I'm Adam Smith, a former teacher, mental health advocate, and your host of the Voices in Education podcast. It's my great honor and pleasure to get to sit down with educators just like you to discuss why they chose a career in education and how they stay the course in the face of challenges. In hearing their stories, I hope you'll come away feeling refreshed, re-energized, and reconnected to your own reasons for becoming an educator. Let's hear from the voices in education.

01:14 Hello and welcome to another episode of the Voices in Education Podcast. I'm Adam Smith, your host for this brand new season of Voices in Education, and I can't wait to share these inspiring conversations with you all. But before I get into it, I want to make sure that you don't miss out on a single episode. Be sure to follow and subscribe to Voices in Education on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts from. Today I'm joined by Sarah Kirk, a national board certified counselor, school counselor leader and trainer, and all round advocate for student wellness, mindfulness, and in her own words, filling other people's buckets. Sarah, I'm so excited to have you on the podcast. How are you doing today?

Sarah Kirk: 01:55 I am doing great. I'm excited to be here and yeah, thank you for having me.

Adam Smith: 02:00 No, you're more than welcome. Just such a great guest to have and I think you've got a very inspiring sort of journey that I think a lot of our listeners will really relate to. So can you just give us a little introduction for anyone who isn't familiar with you? What is it that you do right now? What's your day to day?

Sarah Kirk: 02:14 Sure. Well, I am Sarah Kirk. I am a school counselor through and through, but I've had a couple of different roles related to that. And as you said, I also have a true passion for really supporting all of our young people, their education, their mental health, their overall wellbeing, and I really prioritize doing that through our school setting. And so currently I work at the State Department of Education, leading school counselors, training school counselors, and really helping to move the profession forward across the state. And that has been a great way to really not only support students, but support the adults that support students. And so I'm currently doing that, but I continue to send the message of the importance of school counselors and of prioritizing the whole child in our school systems.

Adam Smith: 03:23 What I love about that ethos is that you say you support those that support the students, and I think we sometimes forget that the teachers, the counselors, the student services, they need support too. And I think it's so important that that's such a big key element of your messaging and your day-to-day. So what does your day-to-day look like? What kind of work are you doing and what's kind of covered within your remit?

Sarah Kirk: 03:46 Yeah, so of course as in most education related jobs, no two days are ever the same. So I'm kind of all over the place. I do travel quite a bit, visiting schools, helping them build strong systems to support students. So a typical week could look like being on the road, traveling two, three hours to visit schools. I also do a lot of virtual work and virtual support. So I provide webinars and trainings and those types of things in a virtual setting so that we can reach a larger audience. And then sometimes it's just one-on-one support for our educators who are struggling with certain aspects or have questions or concerns, again, with that idea that we're working to build strong systems to support students. So while my work is primarily with school counselors, I work with all types of educators, principals, district leaders, all types of people to really help them think through what those systems can look like and how they can better serve their students.

Adam Smith: 04:52 Amazing. I think this focus on school systems is going to be a key element of today's conversation because it's no one person that is going to be able to wholly improve student wellness or your staff wellness or the education system in general. It is absolutely that system, the whole team. So I love what you're doing. I think it's such an inspiring role to have and I love that you are reaching out in so many different ways. Absolutely, a few years back in the pandemic or the height of the pandemic, that was all we had, but now it's such a key thing and it's allowing us to talk today as well, that kind of thing. I think it's such a great way to communicate with everyone. It does sound like, I think what we need as well, we need to get some t-shirts made for this podcast because everybody says no two days are the same. I love that as well. It's so true, and I kind of like that. I think that's what keeps this whole thing so interesting and so engaging.

05:42 I want to go back a little bit though, because obviously you've not always been a school council leader and trainer, and in fact, your journey started a little while ago, and I think it's such an interesting story because there's always been a focus, I think, in your career or maybe in your outlook to do with wellness and just the education environment as a whole. But it's how you got to this idea of building whole school systems or multi-tiered systems. So I'd love for you to share that story with our listeners today. So where did that begin for you? What did you learn along the way? And why do you do what you do? Let's go from the beginning. So where did it all start for you?

Sarah Kirk: 06:19 Sure. Well, yes, as you mentioned, I certainly haven't always known what I know now. So as all good educators, I've learned a lot, a lot of on the job training for sure. I've always been passionate. I've always known that I have a deep desire to help others, specifically our young people. However, I really got into education, got into school counseling, thinking it was going to be me who changed the world. I went into the job really eager to make a difference, and like I said, I was very deeply passionate, but I thought I was going to single-handedly be the change agent of the school. I was coming in to save the day, and I certainly had some successes along the way.

07:10 I really was able to build a strong counseling program that supports the whole child, and that really prioritized mental health and wellbeing of our students. And that was great, but I also very quickly realized that I certainly wasn't going to be able to do that alone, and I wasn't going to single-handedly save the world like maybe fresh out of graduate school, Sarah thought I might. And so I really started to change my perspective because not only did I realize that that wasn't the way to do it and be the most effective, but it wasn't what was best for kids. It was really best for kids to build strong systems that could support them throughout their schooling, and that this idea of us being on an island wasn't going to be what's best for kids. And I think a lot of educators find themselves on what feels like an island because you've got your class of kids if you're a teacher or you've got your subject that you teach or your thing, and you kind of feel like you are on this individual island doing your work.

08:25 And again, I realized that as a school counselor, that wasn't going to be my best bet. Although it came naturally, I was the only school counselor in the school, I was the only person that was really trained in prioritizing mental health. But that didn't mean that I had to be the only person in the school sending that message and really prioritizing overall student wellbeing.

08:52 So like I said, I realized pretty quickly that I couldn't do it alone, that schools are systems and that they're most effective when they're treated like a system. You mentioned multi-tiered systems of support, and we talk a lot about those different MTSS systems, PBIS systems, RTI, the acronym soup, and all of that is important. But even beyond that, I really see just our entire school as an ecosystem and as a place that's meant to be treated that way so that again, it can be the most effective. And so when I started seeing our school through this viewpoint, I realized that by working collaboratively as that school system, that's how the most impactful change was going to happen. I wasn't going to come in with my superhero cape and do it all alone, but I was going to be an important part of that system. So what that looks like, I think, yeah, go ahead.

Adam Smith: 09:59 No, I was going to say I don't think it's a bad mindset to have when, especially starting out that sort of energy and sort of drive to be the change maker. I think that's really important. I think you can't be complacent when you work in education in any area of it. I think you need to have a sense of autonomy and personal drive. So I don't think coming in with a cape on is a bad thing. But can I ask, was there an individual moment that you can remember where that really hit home for you and it made you change your mindset? Because you said it's not best for the kids, but I also imagine at some stage, you realized it wasn't best for you either. It was something that ... And it's a strange thing because we are brought up to think, well, you go out there and you do your thing and you do it as well as you can and it's you on your own, but actually it really isn't. So yeah, what was the moment of change for you?

Sarah Kirk: 10:44 I think for me, I remember specifically we were in a data meeting and we were looking at student data and we were talking about supports we needed to put in place for specific students that the data was indicating had needs. So we had some students with a high number of discipline referrals. We had some students that attendance was poor or weren't achieving academically where we wanted to. And so again, I kind of at this point have that mentality that here comes Sarah to save the day. And I realized really quickly that everyone at that table was capable of providing those supports. And again, it was not only that we were going to work collaboratively, but that everybody came with a different skillset. I had a skillset, and like you said, I don't think it's a bad thing to come in and be passionate and to be excited to utilize that skillset. That's what our kids deserve, 100%.

11:47 However, it was that moment that realization of other people have different skills and other people have different passions, but with the same end goal. And that was that moment. At the time I was working with a principal who was wonderful, however, she saw students through a different lens because she was an administrator and her job was different. And it was following that meeting that her and I started working much more collaboratively and again, really playing up our individual skillset sets because we both had them and we both had great ideas because our end goal was the same. We just had a little bit of a different idea of how to get there. But that's okay because again, we had those different skills to help us get there. And so once we realized that we all have the same end goal in mind. Again, back to the island idea, we're not on these individual islands because we are all there to serve our kids and to have positive student outcomes for all students.

12:58 And so bringing that mindset, I just really saw the switch start to happen. Even in those data meetings or staff meetings we had when we gave everybody that responsibility and that accountability for that end goal, again, our school really started to improve because we were bringing everybody on board. And I think that part's really important. Something I thought of when you mentioned that it's not a bad thing to have that I'm going to save the day mentality, I agree 100%. And one thing I talk to educators about, and I actually just heard Michelle Obama talking about this topic on her podcast, and I've said a different version of this for years. But I think sometimes when we are passionate and when we're driven towards high level of success for students, again, we think almost too broadly sometimes. And in this podcast, Michelle Obama specifically was talking about the power of small and the power of doing what's in our lap at that moment that we have control over.

14:08 And I think in education, we want to upend the whole system. We want to really make that systemic change that's best for kids, and that's important. But we've got to start with the student in our class who needs additional behavioral support, or we need to start with building a climate of kindness and inclusion in our classrooms because that's what we have control over. And I think that idea of really focusing in on those small changes end up having a big impact, but we've got to kind of start with those small steps, the steps we can control, the steps that we have the power over. And I think that's important. I think that that reminds us that we do have some agency over what's happening, and we do have some control. And when we focus on that, then it can lead to those bigger changes.

15:16 But when we come in only with that sole mentality of I'm going to uproot everything and I'm going to really change this, sometimes we forget, as Michelle Obama said, about what's in our lap, what's right here tangible that we can change. So it kind of goes hand in hand. We're working as a system where we're changing this ecosystem that our schools are as we work collaboratively, but we're not forgetting about what's right in front of us as well. I think the systems approach, you have to be kind of careful to not be too in the clouds. You've got to remember what's right in front of you as well.

Adam Smith: 15:57 I totally agree. And that is a really poignant message about taking it in those small steps. And I think we all have, in education, working in education in any way, we all have this sense of grandeur when it comes to the bigger picture of what we want it to look like. But you're right, we can't sort of raze it to the ground and go again. It's there already and we've got to, as you say, take it, what's right in front of us, deal with that first. And then if everybody was having that mindset, if everyone was working on their small piece, actually the bigger piece comes together for sure. So you had this realization, you're working with that principal you mentioned and started to really move forward. So what happened then in your journey? Where did you go from there?

Sarah Kirk: 16:40 Yeah, so as I mentioned, I mean the outcomes at that school started really shifting as this more collaborative approach started. And that school was a magical place before, but it just became more and more magical as we started to see it in this way. And so that was a fun journey. That was, let's see, when that shift happened was probably, that was I think around my third or fourth year in education. And I stayed at that school another couple of years, and I really got to see the outcomes, the positive outcomes of that approach. And it was pretty cool. This was in a day that all that acronym soup we talked about, MTSS, PBIS, RTI was new. It wasn't as widespread, but we were implementing PBIS with fidelity, and we were really proud of that. We knew no other schools really that were doing that. And again, that was all a result of this idea that we all bring different strengths to the table and how can we collectively support each other in order to support our students.

17:58 And so yeah, I got to ride that wave for a couple of years, which was really great, and I certainly learned a lot along the way. It wasn't all perfect, but definitely, I consider that time the most influential of my career because I just got to see the impact you can make and the positive ways that schools can function. And so I did that, and that was in a suburban school district here in my state. And I had loved that, I had had a great experience, but I was itching to continue to grow my skillset. And I knew I was still pretty early on in my career overall. And so I decided I wanted to go work in an urban school environment. I wanted to change it up a bit. And again, just to continue to grow as an educator and to have different challenges, and students with different needs and all of that.

19:00 And so I moved and I got a job at an urban school district that I just absolutely grew to love. Gosh, I thought that I had it made at my first school, and then I got the opportunity to work at another really neat, really beautiful school. We had about 80% of our students, English was their second language. So it was a neat environment, and I just really, again, continued to grow because things that worked at my previous school didn't work there, but the new things worked better in that environment. And so I always encourage educators if they're feeling stuck, sometimes that kind of change in environment can be really beneficial just to kind of mix it up a little bit. And like I said, it just challenged me in new ways, which again, I'm really grateful for. And again, I know that's a big part of who I am today.

19:59 Unfortunately, well, fortunately and unfortunately, I didn't get to be there too long. I was there about a year and a half, and then I had the opportunity to come to the state level and support school counselors, as I mentioned at the beginning, all across the state, and really help building those systems that I'm so passionate about in many more schools. So it was a hard decision to leave the school that I was at. I was really settling in nicely and I was loving what was being done there, but this opportunity was kind of one of those once in a lifetime things. So I decided to jump on it. And then I've been here since 2020, so I've been here about three years at the state level doing this work.

20:46 So it's really come full circle. And like I said, I now get that opportunity to kind of show what I know and help others build those systems and really strengthen their supports for all students. And I just said, I came into this job in 2020, so we know what that means. We know what schools looked like and have looked like since then. So I've been really fortunate to be able to be in this position as schools have gone through unimaginable challenges and hardships, and we know student mental health and wellbeing has been so impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that being able to be in this role through that has been just a really good resource for schools, and I feel fortunate to be able to help in that way.

Securly: 21:41 The Voices in Education Podcast is brought to you by Securly. Since 2013, Securly's sole mission has been to support student safety and wellness. With more than 15,000 schools worldwide already choosing to bring Securly into their school communities, we are creating a clearer picture of what young people are struggling with each and every day. With this data, we are able to more effectively target and implement support, and we want to share that information with as many educators like you as possible. The 2023 State of Student Wellness Report is a free to download paper that takes a closer look into the data and current trends surrounding student wellness. You'll learn how your school can overcome resource limitations, introduce efficient technologies into the classroom, and ultimately better support the students who need your help the most. Download your free copy of this illuminating special report by visiting https://hs.securly.com/report. That's https://hs.securly.com/report today.

Adam Smith: 22:43 No, it's a wonderful story. And I think something you said about the being unfortunate and fortunate that you got to move, but also that when you did move initially, there was that real sense of, "Oh, I'll try what I know" but it didn't work, so you had to kind adapt. And I'm actually a really big advocate of making yourself uncomfortable because I think we often get very comfortable and there is something lovely about that. "Oh, I can do what I can do. I'll do it every day and I'll get really good at it." But actually there's potentially a creeping complacency that comes in that moving around does. It resists that. And as you say, you continue to learn.

23:17 And speaking of continuing to learn, I was doing a little bit of a reading around on your website and you mentioned that you want to build a community of lifelong learners. So just a little bit about that if you could. What is it? So we like to look at the whys behind our guests who come on Voices in Education, why they do what they do. And I think building a community of lifelong learners, you mentioned that you like filling other people's buckets and all that sort of thing, so yeah. Is that a big part of why you do what you do?

Sarah Kirk: 23:48 Yeah, absolutely. And I haven't ever thought of it as what you said about being an advocate for not getting too comfortable and that discomfort and what comes from that. But as you said that, I'm like, oh yeah, me too. I think it's a difficulty in education. I think that how education systems work, it's not the same as business structures and other professions and other careers that have some sort of ladder to climb up or something you are striving for. And I've just seen the potential negative impacts of that if we don't manage that effectively. And like you said, it can be complacency, it can be not growing, it can be burnout. It can look like a lot of things. And I think it is because we get really comfortable.

24:48 There's a thing in education that we celebrate people who have never left their school district. And while I really appreciate that type of commitment and the love of their school, I just think, I don't know if that's what we should be celebrating or not. Because I think that getting, like you said, outside of your comfort zone, having those new experiences is so impactful because you just don't realize ... You don't know what you don't know. And I again, learned that along the way. I was at my first school for seven years, and I thought that I had found the best place on Earth, and I did. It was wonderful. And then I moved and people thought I was crazy because I built something pretty great and I had a very supportive community and all those things. And then I came into something great and maybe even greater in some ways. And I think people who would never take that leap would never feel that.

25:50 And so kind of tying it back to what you said about my desire to build lifelong learners and my emphasis on continuous development and that ongoing professional growth, that has become a very big piece of who I am because I see the importance of it, and I see what happens when we don't prioritize it. I think that we just can't go to school and then teach or counsel or lead or whatever in schools for 30 years and expect things to remain the same. Our kids are changing. Our world is changing. How we support each other is changing, and that lifelong learning is such a necessity in order to be able to effectively do our jobs. And I don't think it's always prioritized as much as it should be. So yeah, I found that that's something I'm passionate about, and that's something I want to bring to schools is that continuous learning piece.

26:58 And I find that when I get, like I said, I get the opportunity to travel all over the state providing training and coaching and consultation, and I can just feel the excitement as we're learning about new things because we're human and we want to learn new things. We just don't always know we want to learn it. And so when they invite me in and when we have those opportunities, I can just feel how much better those teachers are going to serve their kids, not even because of the exact content or anything, although I think that part's important, but just that utilizing that part of our brain that's kind of gone stagnant. And yeah, I think it's so important. And I really think that ongoing professional development and professional learning is so important for all professions. I don't think it's just educators, but I do think that in education, we need to prioritize it because I say it all the time, but that's what our kids deserve.

Adam Smith: 28:04 I couldn't agree any more. I was a teacher prior to working for Securly, and what really bothered me was that even though I was a young teacher, when I joined the establishment and looked at how things were being taught, still, I thought, this hasn't moved on since I was at school. And my wife is a teacher and she talks to me about it now, and it still hasn't moved on. And this kind of being stuck or being stagnant, education needs to move with the times, with everything else that's happening, with technology. Technology is undeniable at this point, and it's placed within the classroom, it's placed within children's lives. It's undeniable. So we can't ignore it. And I'm a huge advocate for continuing to learn, to grow, to evolve, to try new things, and they're not always going to work. They're not.

28:59 There's a lovely piece on your website where it mentions that you don't believe in reinventing the wheel, and I totally agree with that. Let's learn from what's there, but absolutely don't just sit there. Let's build on top of those great foundations that we have. But there are a lot of challenges, and I think you're right. If we continue to learn and grow, we have new ways, new methods, new ideas to overcome those challenges, which is a beautiful segue into our kind of ending three questions. So I like to wrap up these podcasts with the same three questions from our guests just to give our listeners, I guess, some tips, some advice, some ideas and just some different perspectives. So what in your opinion, is the biggest challenge that educators face when it comes to supporting student wellness?

Sarah Kirk: 29:44 Oh, gosh. A lot. A lot of challenges. I think it's really important to acknowledge that those challenges are there and that, again, educators are pulled so many different directions. I think that's probably what I see as the biggest challenge. Unfortunately, I've seen too many times in our schools where they say, "We want to prioritize student wellbeing, but we've got these state tests coming up, or we have these academic standards." And I think it's helping educators understand that it's not one or the other. They're so connected. And the more we can continue to learn that, then it becomes less of a challenge. But until we do, as we see almost two separate things, academics are always going to take priority over student wellbeing. And I agree that academics is why we're in school, and that's the whole point. However, like I said, until we see that they're really connected, I think it's always going to be a challenge to find the time and to find the ability to prioritize it because of the many, many directions educators are pulled and the many, many responsibilities and expectations they have.

Adam Smith: 31:01 I love that you referenced that they are connected because I think you're right. There is such a feeling that they're not, but actually they are. And I think a huge sort of mission statement of Securly is to kind of almost show educators and student services and whoever, show them that there are now systems and support tools there to allow you to do both, to kind of take a little bit of the onus off of the individual, let technology do a little bit of that for you, let it kind of streamline the processes, let it help you find the students that are most in need, rather than you having to trawl through it all yourself. And I think you're so right, realizing there is a connection there, realizing that you don't have to separate the two and that there should be a bit of a blend. Yeah, really important message.

Sarah Kirk: 31:49 And like you said, I think you realize that as you seek out continued learning and when you're willing to evolve from the way we've always done it, that's my least favorite line in education. But we've always done it that way or that sort of thing. But that's not effective. And I think you're right. Finding ways to work smarter, not harder. I tell educators all the time, "I'm not trying to put something else on your plate. I'm actually trying to make your plate less full. But you've got to see through how these systems connect and all of that." And I think that we're getting there. It's just taking time.

Adam Smith: 32:29 Absolutely. Speaking of having a full plate, then, for any of our listeners out there that are working in education right now who are struggling, they've got a bit of a full plate themselves or feeling burnt out, what's one thing you'd like to say to them or one piece of advice you'd like to give?

Sarah Kirk: 32:46 I could talk about this topic all day.

Adam Smith: 32:50 We'll do another podcast. We'll get you back on.

Sarah Kirk: 32:51 Yeah, maybe so. Doris Santoro is an author and she writes a book about why teachers are leaving the profession and about that idea of burnout. And in her book, she really talks about how we're really placing a lot of the blame on the educator when we talk about burnout and why is everyone burning out? And it's not the educator's fault, it's that we haven't created systems that can allow teachers to thrive. And so when we think about collective care, we're thinking about not only putting the responsibility on you to take care of yourself and to fix all of these problems, it's collectively supporting one another. But true collective care also is looking at those systems and finding ways that the system's not working. So if there are any administrators or district leaders listening to this, thinking through what you can do in your school buildings to build a culture of collective care, and that might be allowing opportunities to talk about your emotional wellbeing, allowing opportunities to support one another and to, like we said at the beginning, to get educators off of these islands, feeling like they're in it alone.

34:13 And I think that that can be a lot more effective for combating burnout, but it can also be effective in creating a more positive school climate because you can feel that support when you have an environment of collective care. We talk about SEL a lot. Adult social emotional learning is a real thing, too. There's some really neat research out there to show that if we're not prioritizing our social emotional learning, our emotional development as the adults in the building, we can actually do more harm than good when we try to teach our kids how to be emotionally intelligent. And so I think prioritizing that, I really tie that into the question we just asked about ongoing professional development and growth. I mean, ongoing professional emotional development growth as well, not just learning new tools and tricks, but really continuing to evolve as humans and as emotional beings.

Adam Smith: 35:24 I think that's really key. And we had a little conversation before we started recording, and you mentioned this idea of communal care or community care and that sort of thing. And it's strange that that goes so unsaid and so kind of underutilized because it makes so much sense to look after each other, create systems within your schools, within your districts to be able to do that. Because I think we see it, we're kind of bred to see it as a weakness if, "Oh, I'm struggling, but I'll take that away and I'll try and deal with that myself." But actually, we all have stressors at work, we all have really busy periods, or we have some major crisis to deal with or whatever. We should deal with it altogether. There should be spaces to be able to have those conversations, discussions, and as you say, put in place some preventative measures and those kinds of things. Final question then. So as we just discussed, there are lots of challenges out there, but what's giving you hope for the future? What one thing is giving you hope about the future of education?

Sarah Kirk: 36:30 Well, I always have hope, although we certainly have talked about some of the challenges. I'm certainly a glass half full kind of gal, and I'm always saying there's so much good to be seen if you look for it. I really truly believe that. If I had to highlight one thing that's giving me hope right now, I think it has to be the educators. I think that, like we said, it has been a rough couple of years. We know that. However, our educators are still doing such a phenomenal job. I got to spend an afternoon last week in a kindergarten classroom, and joy was just coming out of the seams of that classroom. I mean, anytime I spend time in the classroom, it's the educators and their ability to just continue doing the vital work to support our young people, and that gives me hope, and we need more of them. We need more dedicated, loving educators like the one I spent time with last week. However, the ones that are doing that work are just truly, truly incredible.

Adam Smith: 37:46 That is such a lovely and heartwarming message to end on. Sarah, it has been honestly a joy. You spoke of joy. This has been a joy. It has been a joy to have you on Voices in Education. Where can our listeners find you online if they want to?

Sarah Kirk: 37:57 Sure. I am on social media as Counselor_Kirk and I have a website you mentioned that's https://www.counselorkirk.com. And yeah, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube. I've got a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@CounselorKirk) that I try to post helpful videos on. As you mentioned, my mission is to continue to create lifelong learners. However, we don't reinvent wheels, we share resources, we share ideas, and we're all in this together because as I always say, that's what kids deserve.

Adam Smith: 38:34 Absolutely. I think you should definitely go and check out Sarah's website and social media, find some of those resources, use them, help improve your classrooms and districts and things. That brings us to the end of today's episode of Voices in Education. But now we'd love to hear from you. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to leave a rating and a review to help other listeners like you find the podcast. We'd also love for you to continue this conversation over on our social channels. You can follow us on Twitter at Securly, over on Instagram and Facebook at Securly Inc, and on LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/company/securly. I look forward to seeing you all there. So until next time, stay safe. Remember to find some time for yourself and for those that you share your days with. And never forget, like Sarah said, just how vital the work that you do is every day. You make a real difference, and we can never thank you enough for that. Take care.

39:23 Thanks for tuning in to the Voices in Education Podcast powered by Securly. For more episodes and additional details about the podcast, visit https://securly.com/podcast.