The all-work, total-focus mantra that math and science teacher Christopher Emdin of the Bronx, N.Y., once had for students has morphed over the years into his "reality pedagogy." The best teachers "disrupt teaching norms that harm vulnerable students ... [and reach] students where they really are, making sure that their lives and backgrounds are reflected in the curriculum and in classroom conversations," Emdin writes.
One Vermont middle school is planning to take in-person instruction outside this fall to open-air tents, where groups or "pods" of students will stay together with one teacher throughout the school day. Other Vermont schools and districts also have plans to incorporate outdoor education -- already a standard component for many schools in the state -- in order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Education leaders on Thursday testified before a congressional subcommittee about ways to ensure effective learning -- whether in-person or remote -- for students with disabilities and other students considered vulnerable or at risk this fall. Dallas schools chief Michael Hinojosa said his district needs more resources to ensure students have internet access and are provided special-education services, while Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said the state is using grants to improve remote-learning strategies and pay for special-education dual certification for teachers.
The National Catholic Educational Association will form an advisory committee to consider how Catholic schools nationwide could integrate racial justice and the history of Black Catholics in their curricula. "The teaching of anti-racism is pretty strong in Catholic schools," NCEA's interim president, Kathy Mears, said. "But teaching the contributions of Black Catholics to our history is not where it should have been. Whatever we can do to correct this error, we're all in."
Schools should be prepared to make last-minute changes to school-transportation plans and schedules throughout the coming school year as local coronavirus conditions change, according to a report from the Student Transportation Aligned for Return to School Task Force. The report provides 27 guidelines based on surveys with superintendents, transportation directors and bus contractors around the country.
Many public-school systems are announcing plans for remote instruction, spurring new interest in private-school options among some families. Many Catholic schools in the Washington, D.C., region plan to reopen to at least some in-person instruction, and Amy McNamer, executive director of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, said private schools may be better-suited to safe, in-person learning because they tend to have larger campuses and smaller class sizes.
Catholic schools nationwide are preparing to safely welcome students and staff back to campus, as families say they support a return to in-person learning. "Trying to plan for something that might not ever happen. ... I would argue that Catholic schools are really well adapted for this because they can be flexible. They're creative. They're innovative," said Kevin Baxter, chief innovation officer at the National Catholic Educational Association.
Parents and alumna have rallied around St. Paul the Apostle School in New York, which was added to a list of schools to be closed by the New York Archdiocese because of financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Efforts to keep the school open have included rallies and a petition that secured 4,100 signatures.
As employers plan to reopen, many are seeking direction on how to accommodate employees who have non-obvious disabilities, a number of which are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Be proactive, advises David Fram of the National Employment Law Institute who also suggests employers talk with workers who appear to be struggling and ask what help they need to do their job.
Incorporating sound -- via podcasts, music, speeches and interviews -- can promote anti-racism in remote lessons by communicating respect for different varieties of English, accents and other languages, and helping students engage emotionally with the text, write English teachers Anne Mooney and Danah Hashem. Their recommendations included assigning students to listen to the "1619 Project" podcast, Maya Angelou reading her poetry and an interview with author Ibram X. Kendi.