Management tactics such as empowering teachers to solve problems and minimizing their administrative tasks can help when staff shortages are wearing down those left standing, Cheyenne High School Principal Zachary Robbins of North Las Vegas says. Superintendent Heidi Sipe of the Umatilla School District in Oregon says she matches full-time staffers with particular classes as regular subs, because their knowledge of the students and class routines eases disruptions.
The Utah State Board of Education has teamed up with the DonorsChoose crowdfunding website to disburse as much as $12 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to the state's K-12 teachers, who each can apply for up to $1,000 in classroom educational resources or protective equipment. Teachers detail the materials they need, and DonorsChoose will procure and send them to the school, says board Chief of Staff Sarah Young.
Remote classes would be allowed in New Hampshire only during severe weather or upon parent or guardian request -- not for reasons related to COVID-19, according to rules advanced this week by the State Board of Education. The rules are subject to approval by state lawmakers, and many schools say they are currently struggling to stay open amid a surge of the Omicron variant affecting students and staff.
Some school administrators are reconsidering traditional school calendars -- mulling longer school years and weekend classes, among others -- to curb learning loss stemming from disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic. Mark Anderson, superintendent of a Washington state school district that adopted a modified calendar this school year, said its program has been well-received.
Catholic schools in the Chicago area have reported an increase in enrollment inquiries from families during a five-day stretch when public schools were closed because of a dispute between the teachers' union and the city. Time will tell, officials say, if the disruption will lead to higher enrollment in Catholic schools.
Baltimore high-school Principal Taiisha Swinton-Buck emphasizes "connection before content" in creating a support system for students, and Pennsylvania elementary-school teacher Tara Desiderio focuses on providing an inclusive environment and ensuring all stakeholders have a voice. They are among five education leaders featured in this article for their accomplishments amid the many challenges of the pandemic.
Ernest Hill, an assistant principal and Louisiana's Middle School Teacher of the Year, is launching a literacy pilot program to help improve reading skills, particularly among Black students, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Hill also marked the holiday by teaching students about the life and legacy of the civil rights leader, adding that his memory is best celebrated with action.
Tennessee is addressing an ongoing teacher shortage with
a statewide "Grow Your Own" initiative that provides a new pathway to the classroom for aspiring teachers. The initiative features free apprenticeship programs, funded in part with federal money, that can allow teacher candidates to work in classrooms while earning credentials, and are designed to expand a qualified, diverse teacher workforce.
Cyberattacks are joining the coronavirus and severe weather as reasons for recent school closures, with incidents quadrupling from 2016 to 2020 and often hitting larger districts, according to "State of K-12 Cybersecurity: 2020 Year in Review" report. The report includes six suggestions on prevention from educators, vendors and policymakers.
Schools across the country are adopting varying levels of precautions in cafeterias to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including requiring social distancing and dividing students into smaller groups for lunch or having students eat outside, a December survey of 1,210 K-12 teachers and administrators showed. Eighteen percent of respondents said their schools were not taking any precautions in cafeterias, the EdWeek Research Center survey found.
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