To keep students engaged and participating in home learning while schools are closed, teachers can assign a couple of simple tasks to help students form good home-study habits, writes author and teacher educator Harry Fletcher-Wood. Other strategies include emphasizing the opportunity for students to connect with their peers, and identifying and removing barriers to participation, Fletcher-Wood recommends.
Missouri's Springfield school district will not grant formal letter grades for elementary- and middle-school students while schools are closed. The goal of the change is to encourage students to keep learning remotely, but avoid punishing students who are unable to participate due to lack of internet access or other factors.
After Socastee Middle School Drama Club's Frozen Jr. play was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the students filmed themselves singing at home. A club director put together the videos and uploaded it to YouTube to showcase the drama students' talents.
The Department of Education is allowing states to apply to use portions of Title I, II, III, IV and V funds for professional development and technology infrastructure to support distance learning. The department outlined several flexibilities and said states can expect an initial response within one business day.
Schools in Louisiana have recovered from hurricanes in the past and schools across the US will get through the current closures, but school leaders must have a plan for both the present and future, writes Mark Comanducci, founder and CEO of The 305 Education Group. In this article, he suggests several ways school leaders can manage the present and prepare for when schools reopen.
School leaders should ask some key questions before implementing either short-term or long-term remote learning strategies, writes education strategist Wendy Jones. Leaders should consider e-learning issues such as access and data privacy, parent communication, teacher preparation and how the needs of students with disabilities will be met, she writes.
You can't control external events, but you can control your mindset, how you engage with people and how focused you are. "When the chaos of uncertainty hits, leaders have a responsibility to even out the tone by being a voice of reason and not adding to the blame narrative," writes Marlene Chism.
School districts in Maine are working to get students connected amid campus closures due to the coronavirus by providing laptops and hot spots to students who need them, which the Maine Department of Education estimates is about 20% of pre-K through grade 12 students. Lawmakers from the state also are pushing for relief funding to increase WiFi access, especially in rural communities.
School leaders are making on-the-fly adjustments to online learning approaches as they encounter various challenges and barriers. Northshore School District in Seattle has shifted to direct instruction on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with small group and intervention approaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
A silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic could be permanent changes in how workplaces and communities function, which could mean increased trust if employers recognize the opportunity, writes Barbara Brooks Kimmel, founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. "Perhaps the time has come, or is past due, to redesign support systems that not only build trust between employers and employees, but also offer better benefits including counseling services during times of isolation and/or personal crisis," she writes.
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