Resilience is the Key to Closing the Academic Achievement Gap this Fall

by Katie Dorn on August 17, 2023

Welcoming students back to school in the fall can bring a mix of emotions.  On one hand, we're excited to dig back in and help students learn.  But on the other hand, it can feel daunting knowing there are so many challenges students face - social, emotional and behavioral - that get in the way of their academic progress.  It can all feel too much.

And that feeling is real.  A recent report from the Center for School and Student Progress revealed the average student needs 4.1 additional months of schooling to catch up post-COVID than prior. While several factors are at play in this statistic, the events of the last few years have certainly left students without the skills they need to self-manage and focus. This gets in the way of their learning.

Educators know that student motivation and resilience must increase in order to improve academics. But they struggle to find resources to help.  And this struggle exists in districts of every shape, size, and location.  But positive change is possible with evidence-based strategies.

School districts need more capacity to meet the urgent needs for student and educator wellbeing. Finding a partner who can deliver data-driven, positive outcomes—without hiring more staff or asking your team to do more—will be critical to your success. I know EmpowerU can help. 

Personalized Application Drives Behavior Change

Student resilience and emotional wellbeing cannot just be taught. In my years as a school counselor, I learned firsthand that students need more than just information in order to make change. Integration, personalized application, and action are required to improve student behavior and drive outcomes.


EmpowerU is designed to help students get unstuck and reduce that sense of overwhelm so they can persist and prevail - in academics and in life. Our Do First™ Methodology prompts action through simple daily steps, a strategy proven to build long-term results. Beginning with action, we build on core concepts using evidence-based lessons, feedback, reflection, and application to cement learning and create lasting change.

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The Power of Coaching 

Every student has the potential to learn and grow at school and in life. And students benefit most from the unconditional positive regard of a caring adult trained to deliver feedback and encouragement. 

EmpowerU coaches are the heart and the engine of our program. Every EmpowerU coach is a highly-trained licensed master's-level professional. They work 1:1 with students to offer feedback, prompt reflection, and help students apply the learning to their lives and experiences. With asynchronous messaging between coach and student in the secure MyEmpowerU portal, students reflect and connect as their day allows. 

While the relationship between a student and their EmpowerU coach relies on technology, it is carefully designed to make each student feel seen and heard. And nothing matters more when it comes to student growth.

"THANK YOU! I cannot express how life changing this program is. EmpowerU has helped me overcome so many obstacles that I have been letting hold me back. Having my own personal coach was SO helpful, and it was so nice to have someone who I can always count on and will always help me without judgement. Plus, I had the best coach ever!"

- HS Student

Year in and year out, 88% of our students complete the EmpowerU program, and 94.5% make progress toward their goals. No other online program gets measurable results like these.  And these results lead to increased confidence, resilience and academic achievement.

Tier 2 and Tier 1 — Customized for You 

We know every school and every district is unique. Our interventions and curriculum are customized to enrich and strengthen existing MTSS and PBIS systems — and help schools reach their targeted goals. To learn more how EmpowerU can help your students and staff thrive this year, connect with one of our representatives at the button below. 

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Katie Dorn, MA, LSC, MFT is co-founder of EmpowerU and an experienced licensed school counselor and therapist. A mother of seven grown children and a successful entrepreneur and author, Katie is a strategic thinker with an ability to connect and build functional and productive teams. Her passion for finding effective ways to help students and families with mental health obstacles has fueled her work for EmpowerU since 2015. 


EmpowerU’s highly personalized, data-driven Tier 1 and Tier 2 solutions equip students to be resilient, self-directed learners and reach their goals — without additional hires or a heavy lift from schools. The program provides each student with interactive lessons and personalized coaching, pairing technology with brain research in a unique way that supports students, empowers their growth and reduces feelings of anxiety and depression. Multi-year data makes it clear: nobody understands Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and approaches student mental health and resilience the way EmpowerU does.


Topics: student resilience, motivating learners