Some administrators are taking pressure off teachers by asking staff members to reach out to families for "empathy interviews" -- checking on well-being by asking about health issues, financial worries and other problems -- says Yale educator and researcher Christina Cipriano. Cipriano notes that it offers any underused paraprofessionals and other staff members a chance to feel more connected during this trying time.
St. Jude Regional Catholic School in Maryland returned to in-person learning with temperature checks and other safety precautions in place. Students wear masks and are grouped in cohorts between seven and 16, and St. Jude principal Glenn Benjamin described it as a "brave new world."
St. John the Evangelist School in Maryland was recognized by the National Catholic Educational Association last spring for its Catholic identity. "Our identity is not just in good academics," said Father Erik Arnold, pastor of St. John the Evangelist. "Our identity is in Christ, not just to teach the faith, but to experience it."
Schools in one California district have reopened using a hybrid model, after attempts at distance learning this spring were largely unsuccessful. Key factors in the schools' ability to implement this model include district-provided laptops for every student, teacher training and students' ability to access the internet at home.
School leaders should read books written for and about young adults, according to Kathryn Fishman-Weaver, director of academic affairs and engagement for Mizzou Academy, a global school district at the University of Missouri's College of Education. In this blog post, she writes that diversifying her reading habits has improved the way "I teach, lead and live."
The Archdiocese of Boston is reporting a 4,000-student increase in enrollment at Catholic schools. Officials say the increase is tied to a preference among families for in-person instruction, with some schools reporting they have opened waiting lists for students.
Highline Public Schools in Washington are trading talk of learning gaps for references to "unfinished learning" to focus on growth instead of deficiencies. Various tools are helping teachers gauge learning levels, with middle-school social studies teacher Micah Shippee, for example, choosing Google Forms for informal surveys, an Adobe five-minute quiz to pinpoint learning styles and the Pear Deck app to add microassessment tools to Google Slides.
More than 70% of North Carolina's teachers are women, but just 27% of superintendents are -- higher than the 24% national average. North Carolina is narrowing the gender gap, in part, by discounting old management stereotypes and leaning in to a preference for instruction and curriculum expertise.
Several tools can help schools try to maintain the usual "seven hours of stability" -- in areas such as food, education, counseling and love -- that Wyoming teacher and homelessness liaison Greta Hinderliter says that students may not be receiving during the pandemic. Two of the five tools are tapping advocacy groups for help and coordinating with shelters, Hinderliter says.
Private schools need immediate relief to prevent closures, said US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. In an interview, DeVos said the coronavirus pandemic has affected private schools and cited closures, primarily of Catholic schools.
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