Building Children’s Resilience In Education

Writer michael vyskocil
Photographer John Williams

Great teachers build great relationships with their students. To create those relationships, educators need to approach and address this question: “What can we do for our students?”

Preparing educators to support the full range of students’ needs is just one of the cornerstone principles behind York College’s new Diversity and Student Resilience specialization of its Master of Education graduate program that will be offered this fall.

“During my first year of teaching, I was unprepared for how much student experiences outside the classroom could affect student learning,” says Dr. Joshua DeSantis, director of Graduate Programs in Behavioral Sciences and Education, “but I learned that you don’t teach subjects first. You teach children first.”

This premise is at the heart of the program’s objectives to help educators build the skills and create a culture to address nonacademic factors that affect student learning. Coursework in this program will cover topics such as child and adolescent mental health, social and cultural responsiveness, and school and community collaboration for resilience.

York College is the only college in Pennsylvania with a graduate Diversity and Resilience program and one of only a handful to offer a Social, Emotional and Behavioral Wellness Certificate. The College has already begun involving education professionals within the York community to assist in the program’s development.

Dr. Eric Holmes, superintendent of the School District of the City of York, is one of several administrators and educators collaborating with York College. These collaborations are building upon already existing relationships that give York College students real-world, practical applications of concepts learned in the classroom.

“Very rarely do school systems get asked to offer insights about college-level programs. We are excited about being a part of York College’s work in the community,” says Dr. Holmes, who will teach a course focusing on educational equity at York College this fall. “York College’s outreach is genuine. This is what universities should be doing: finding out what their communities need and responding to those needs.”


How does art inspire educators in their work?

“Every child learns differently. Great teachers understand that the ‘art’ of education is learning how to support each child’s unique learning needs.”

—  Dr. Joshua DeSantis, Director of Graduate Programs in Behavioral Sciences and Education, York College

York College of Pennsylvania
  • 441 Country Club Rd. York, PA 17403
  • 717.846.7788
York College of Pennsylvania
  • 441 Country Club Rd. York, PA 17403
  • 717.846.7788