Dear School Leaders,
I know you all are keenly aware that the COVID-19 crisis has the potential to deepen the inequities our children face in education. I had the chance to write about this for Education Post; I shared that there are steps we can take to make sure that our children of color and children from low-income families aren’t left behind. Strong distance learning plans are a huge part of that, and in my conversations with many of you, it is clear you are dedicated to creating such plans.
I recently read the reflections of 2019 Baltimore Teacher of the Year, Kyair Butts, who is doing great work in this respect. Mr. Butts talks about equity and technology access, and he also shares how he’s modifying the Grade 6 Wit & Wisdom curriculum to reflect the instability and challenge of this moment.
I know that all of you are doing so much as you work to perfect this “recipe” each day—not only for this year, but also as you think about what comes next. Planning for the 2020-2021 school year has already begun, and we are here to help you. Today, we are sharing resources brought to us by Instruction Partners, TNTP, and SELF, as well as some resources of our own.
We will continue to provide such resources, and we know the district and state are developing more tools to share as well. As we go forward, we want to make sure we are providing supports that are truly helpful to you, not just extra material to wade through. By answering our short survey, you can help us direct our resources to where they are really needed. Your great participation in our first survey helped us understand what distance learning methods and resources you were using so far. This will help us understand what you need as you plan for next year.
Webinar Calendar: We continue to update our Webinar Calendar and At-A-Glance Document, which collects the latest online learning opportunities for educators.
Resources for online learning: We provide a short guide to virtual learning, as well as free resources from different online learning platforms.
Reflections and resources from Instruction Partners (IP), TNTP, and SELF: We share thoughts from Mary Jones (TNTP), who raises the risk of learning loss and ways that schools can help prevent it, as well as Golda Sharpe (IP), who discusses adapting materials to a virtual context, preparing for re-entry into schools, and more. We are also re-sharing reflections from Aqua Stovall of SELF from our last newsletter. These leaders offer the following resources:
TNTP shared a recording of their Literacy Distance Learning Collaborative webinar, as well as the webinar slide deck.
TNTP also shared a set of free resources to help leaders navigate the wide range of challenges they’re facing right now, and a Learning Acceleration Guide to help leaders prepare for next year and catch students up without delaying the introduction of grade-level material.
Instruction Partners has shared their leadership toolkits, which are designed to help school and system leadership teams as they launch and manage distance learning. They also provide guidance around student learning and culture during distance learning, some “Grab and Go Instructional Materials,” and a decision tree for instructional models.
Thank you, as always, for all that you do. On the heels of Teacher Appreciation Week, we want to thank both you and the teams of educators that you work with each day. Please stay in touch.
Dr. Jawan Brown-Alexander
Chief of Schools
New Schools for New Orleans
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