Tag Archives: #COVID19

UP for (Changes to) Learning

When schools closed to in-person learning in March of 2020, UP for Learning’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) continued to meet regularly. We wanted to check-in and dialogue about their experiences and the experiences of their peers. Through these conversations, it became clear that it was important to understand how youth across Vermont were experiencing their new reality of the pandemic.

The YAC put out a survey in Spring of 2020. In it, we asked Vermont middle and high school youth what support they needed during full remote learning.

What was the purpose of the survey?

Why did we want to gather this data?

What rose to the top were:

  • social connections
  • academic support and
  • access to resources and information.

We then connected with youth across the state to support their needs throughout the remainder of the academic year.

The YAC also wanted to revisit Vermont’s youth needs as we moved from full remote to hybrid to full in-person learning and sent a new survey out in winter of 2021. The main purpose of this survey was to gather data about what was learned during the 2020-2021 academic year and what opportunities arose for change.

Youth responded from 14 different communities across Vermont, as well as youth who were engaged in the Virtual Learning Academy.  

Findings from the Survey

UP for Learning

Link to the full .pdf in Google Drive

What are our initial reactions to the data?

Evelyn: My initial reaction was that it was interesting to see how my reality and understanding and adaptation to learning during the pandemic mirrored the experience of many other youth across the state. More specifically, I have been struggling with my sense of engagement and mental health; hearing that other youth are identifying these as opportunities as well makes me believe that we can begin to create real, systemic change as we re-enter full in-person learning.

Lindsey: My initial reaction to the data was that what was already known about what does not work for ALL youth in the educational system became even more abundantly clear. It really just put an exclamation point on it.  Youth want an education that is built on deep relationships, engaging learning opportunities and time to care for all of their developmental needs: social/emotional, physical and cognitive.  

What stood out as a major takeaway?

For both of us, what stood out was the lack of knowledge about, or experience with, social emotional learning.  In our minds, this was the opportune time to create opportunities for more in depth community-building, prioritizing young people’s social emotional needs during such an uncertain year. 

The potential for changing school schedules in particular, struck YAC student member Galen. He put it this way:

“I love how tactile that feels? It feels like something we can do, like, right now. Get it done, and make change. I think sometimes we almost get lost in like, the systems thinking. I think people often talk about making change but it’s hard to find concrete ways to do it sometimes? And I love that we’ve kind of put a name to that. Like, here’s something we can do to make change… right now.”

Harnessing the power of community

The YAC also gathered with community members to look at this data. And from there, we worked together in small, deeply connecting groups to draw conclusions from it as to how best to move forward.

How do we make sure we take these lessons and move them forward instead of going back to the status-quo?

This is a quote that resonates with us from adrienne maree brown, author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Shaping Worlds. She writes that “How we live and grow and stay purposeful in the face of constant change actually does determine both the quality of our lives, and the impact that we can have when we move into action together.”

Purpose. Trust. Relationships. What if we designed our work around our values? What would we need to change individually and collectively?

Where do we go from here?

To end our community session, we created a Jamboard, and asked attendees to fill it out. To guide them, we asked simply, “How do we make sure we take these lessons and move them forward instead of going back to the status quo?”

These are their responses.

Where do we go from here? (Jamboard)

  • “We have to listen.”
  • “Later start to the day.”
  • “Continue to provide the community connections and build on them.”
  • “Listen to students! Make change with them, not to them.”
  • “Were students able to do more self-designed learning? If yes, can this continue?”
  • “Feels like VT AOE and legislators need to continue to hear from VT youth!”

And we ask you the same question.

Educators, students, and community members,

“How do we make sure we take these lessons and move them forward instead of going back to the status quo?”

We would love to hear from you.

St. Johnsbury District’s reignite planning process

St. Johnsbury School District is committed to building on their assets, seeking input from all stakeholders, and planning in phases to seek sustainable transformation. Nationwide, education leaders are planning for the conclusion of one of the most challenging and weirdest school years ever. Simultaneously, they are working on medium and long-term planning for post-pandemic schooling. Much of this work will show up in proposals related to the influx of money from federal funds.

The federal government will provide financial support for education in unprecedented ways over the next several years. The timelines for providing concrete plans for those funds are incredibly tight. The pressures from all corners are intense and in some cases contradictory. How best to address “learning loss,” transform schooling based on lessons learned from the pandemic, and avoid saddling community budgets with obligations after the funds run out? It’s a tall order, no doubt.

Let’s hear how one Vermont district is approaching things in a way that prioritizes the process.

Recover? How about reignite

“We are calling our next phase in St. Johnsbury, Reigniting Education. This idea came from our Director of Learning Design, Jodie Elliott, and it captures more accurately what we are aiming to do in the next few years. I refuse to begin any work from a deficit mindset, and this is no exception. Our students and their families deserve nothing less than starting from the strengths of this past year.”

So wrote Brian Ricca, Superintendent of St. Johnsbury School District, in a blog post titled All Is Not Lost. That was at a time when the main theme going around Vermont education circles was “recovery.”

Lydia Cochrane, PK-3 principal at St. Johnsbury School, noted: “People’s blood sweat and tears went into making this year work. So to call it like a lost year just felt disrespectful. I mean obviously everyone needs to recover from this year, but that just felt demeaning to all the teachers, all the educators, and all the kids.”

Jeremy Ross, 4-8 principal, added: “I think the key to reigniting as opposed to recovering is that …A lot of really good learning happened this year. It may have looked different. It may not have been the same pace that it always would have been. But it may have required our students and teachers to really think outside the box and approach their learning in a different way than what we would normally have expected.”

This overarching asset-based framing is accompanied by a couple of big ideas.

Relationships and knowing students well

Brian emphasized relationships as the key to ending this school year and starting the next one well. “The number one thing where we’re going to really need to put our effort is to make sure that we’re taking the time to rebuild relationships. Reforming connections and knowing our kids individually [allows us] to help support them and meet their needs wherever they are.”

Brian shared that teachers learned a lot about what some students were capable of this year. He provided a hypothetical of what a teacher might have learned based on shifting teaching formats. “Wow this student was shining in a class size of nine. And then that might have dwindled because we all wanted everybody back in school. And then there goes that student back to being a wallflower, because it’s a much larger group and he doesn’t feel as comfortable and doesn’t have that extra time and attention.”

Seeing students adapt and respond differently in various formats drew attention to the way that the school system interacts dynamically with individual student needs. Educators are more determined than ever to get to know individual students and create responsive learning environments.

Growth orientation

Lydia noted that the concept of focusing on student growth has been strengthened over the last year. “One of the opportunities that it’s provided for us as a school is to think outside of student growth in terms of where they should be when they come in for a grade and where they should end. And instead really think about where the student is coming in and what would be the expected growth for annual growth.”

Jeremy agreed. Both principals anticipate working to build teacher skills and school structures around the measurement of growth.

Brian tied the concepts of relationships, growth, rigor, and equity together in another recent blog post.

“…We meet our students where they are and help them grow and learn from there. In this case, the emphasis on relationships means a greater level of expectations, not less. By knowing our students as well as our faculty and staff do, we are able to know what they are capable of, and if they’re not meeting their potential, we know something is amiss. The emphasis on relationships makes us expect more, not less. The emphasis on relationships makes us stronger, not softer. The emphasis on relationships welcomes the whole child, not just the student.”

Process matters

The St. Johnsbury administration is in a similar situation to others. The past year has been incredibly hard but has also offered some lessons learned. Looking toward the future, they don’t want to go back to “normal” but they also know teachers and students are craving some simple things like stability and reconnection. They want to do deep and thoughtful planning that involves all stakeholders but the timing and timelines aren’t helpful in that regard.

This conundrum became glaringly obvious at a full day retreat involving a district leadership team and community members. As Brian reported in a blog post titled In Gratitude, after a morning of thoroughly structured productivity, the community members asked to slow down and leave more room for open exploration. As a result, “conversations and discussions were richer, had more depth, and sounded more productive.”

That retreat day is a metaphor for how the district is approaching the rest of the planning process. They want to have a process that is inclusive, with room to breathe and detour as needed. Brian explained his ideal process this way:

“Here’s the process: we start with students. Principals will do a listening tour. We’re going to send out a survey to faculty asking what they need and want. We’re going to take that raw data and sort it a little bit on the leadership team end. … Then take it to our reigniting team with community partners. And then we say to our community and our families: these are the themes that emerged, what are the most important things that you see.”

But what about the planning timelines? They’ve got a plan for that.

Planning in chunks

St. Johnsbury is taking an approach that they’ve dubbed “chunking.” By the looming deadline of June 1 for submitting a Recovery Plan, they will detail their plans for this summer. Then they will add details in the early fall based on an intensive and inclusive planning process. Their approach has been approved by the Vermont Agency of Education.

Brian explains it this way: “I remind my team and my board all the time: we have the ability to do something truly great here in a focused way that meets the needs of our students or adults, our families and our community. We can’t miss this opportunity. So we do want to take it slow.”

A lot of people are talking about thinking outside of the box to transform education. St. Johnsbury refuses to be boxed in by a rushed planning process.

The chunking approach allows for short term stability with an eye toward long term transformation. Brian is clear about expectations: “I think if somebody comes in next year to this school district, they’re gonna look around and be like, huh, pretty much the same. But I think in two years. I want that same person to come back and go, this is different. And I don’t know what that’s going to look like yet, but I want to be bold.”

St Johnsbury and Vermont Education Justice Coalition
This toolkit from the Vermont Education Justice Coalition promotes extensive community engagement in the name of equity.

Dream big as long as it’s sustainable

St. Johnsbury District’s approach seems like a reasonable one. Brian expresses awe when he talks about the amount of funds that will be available to his district over the next few years. He wants to be ambitious about the opportunity while remaining pragmatic about the process and the aftermath.

“This is really a once in an educational lifetime opportunity to transform what we do on behalf of kids and adults. How often have we said, oh there’s no money for that? … Now, you could come to me with a mulit-million dollar idea and we can actually sit down and think about how to make it work. The only limitation I’m offering is that we can’t saddle ourselves with obligations beyond the federal money. But other than that we can be as bold as we want to be.”

Here’s hoping that St. Johnsbury’s “go slow to go fast” approach allows them to build on their considerable assets with broad stakeholder input.

And that this “recovery” period ignites the transformation, in St. Johnsbury and beyond, that our students deserve.

Re-connect & re-imagine this return to school.

The return to school is usually filled with excitement, anticipation, and maybe a little nervousness. This year though? Much more nervousness with the excitement.  How can we anticipate what it will take to keep teachers and students safe? While each of our communities and school leadership put their hearts and minds into that question, we’re looking at what we know works for a return to remote and blended learning. We’re going small, and keeping it simple. Returning to the basics. We asked each of our professional development coordinators for their best piece of advice on the return to school in this exceptionally challenging year.

What one word would they provide as a guidepost?

Emily Hoyler: “Re-center.”

Emily Hoyler return to schoolI tend to dream big and that’s great. But when it comes time to bring those ideas into reality, all my grand plans can be a bit overwhelming. (Can you relate?)

But the best advice I’ve heard lately was: how can you make it smaller?

This is a reminder to create manageable and focused goals. Peel back the layers to find the best bits, and focus deeply and intentionally on those.

But the hard part can be figuring out which bits. So I offer this:

One of my favorite books to begin the school year with is The Three Questions by John Muth. In this tale, which is based on Tolstoy’s work with a similar name, a young boy is seeking answers:

  • What is the best time to do things?
  • Who is the most important one?
  • What is the right thing to do?

Spoiler alert:  I’m going to tell you Tolstoy’s answers to those three questions. Here are they are: The best time is now, the most important one is the ones you are with, and the right thing to do is to do good for those you’re with…right here. Right now.

I typically use the text to set the scene for my classroom culture and community, to help students think about how to show up for each other. But I think these questions can guide us here.

What does it look like to do good for our students right now?

I think it means scaling back. Paring down. Focusing deeply on what matters. Relationships. Connection. Purpose. Reflection.

So when you look at the long list of all that you’ve been asked to do, can you ask yourself:

  • What is the most important?
  • What can I let go of (for now)?
  • How can I make it smaller?

Let’s give ourselves permission to let go, narrow our scope, make things smaller, and honor what truly matters.

Jeanie Phillips: “Hyperdocs”.

Jeanie Phillips return to schoolIf I were headed back to the classroom this fall my head would be spinning!  Should I plan for remote learning? Should I prepare for in-person learning?  Or both?  What is an educator to do?

The solution I’m offering is the Hyperdoc: an organized way to plan for your learners that works virtually, in person, or in a hybrid model.

What’s a hyperdoc?

A hyperdoc is an organized instructional unit that curates all of the resources, materials, practice, and assessments in one place. Using UDL and backward design, educators can plan thoughtful instruction that is aligned to proficiencies and provides voice and choice for students.

And while the typical hyperdoc is designed so each student has their own copy, this format could also be used by collaborative groups so they can work together at a safe social distance.

Rachel Mark: “Re-connect”.

Rachel Mark, Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education return to schoolOne of the most fundamental purposes for re-opening schools this fall is to rekindle human connections and relationships.

In my capacities as both a parent and an educator, I perceive daily advisory to be absolutely essential for this school year.

Whether it’s face-to-face, virtual, or a hybrid of both, there are many ways that educators can use advisory to build relationships, develop community, and help students feel a sense of belonging. Earlier this year, I wrote about a format for conducting virtual advisory with students. In that post, I called it morning meeting, which I consider to be a very similar concept to middle school advisory.

Advisory sessions should be an opportunity for people — adults and students — to relate with one another, feel connected, and have a little fun. And as educators, let’s find ways to help students feel safe and supported and individually willing to turn their cameras on. Let’s behave like guests in their homes so they’re willing to be face-to-face with us for yes, more connection.

Last year, we published ideas on our blog for activities that could be used in a virtual advisory or morning meeting.

In June, I taught a graduate course for educators that promoted virtual advisory as a critical component for this upcoming school year.

It was my favorite part of the day.

And I believe it was a similar highlight for my students.

Life LeGeros: “Project-Based Learning cycles.”

Life LeGeros return to schoolTeachers are being put in a tough situation right now (understatement of the century, I know). You’re being asked to put relationships and connection first while developing curriculum that is more engaging than ever. And to do so in a situation where the format might be face-to-face, remote, or hybrid, or all three with different students.

My suggestion is to do as much planning up front as possible to provide time for individualized feedback and support when students kick things into gear. This will also allow creative energy to be funneled into community building.

Where do cycles come in?

If you can create choices that students can explore through a consistent process, then you can run a few cycles where students get to choose a focus area each time.

For example, the Humanities team at Orleans Elementary School (Andrea Gratton and Kyle Chadburn) created the Humanities Expeditions Project last spring. Students start each two-week cycle by choosing to explore an “expedition” area such as sports, the future, heroes, or social justice. They spend time with resources in that topic area for the first week and reflect on what they learned. Then in week two, they write about it. Students receive feedback on informational writing skills and self-direction. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Another example comes from the Imagining September project from MIT and Harvard. In the “School as Basecamp” storyboard (p. 11-12), students engage with a career exploration project during the first two weeks of school and then choose from modules that have been pre-designed by teachers. Modules blend skills and content, such as Writing to Persuade or Reading About Science. Modules last a month and culminate in a creative exhibition of learning.

Both of these cases require a fair amount of up-front work to structure the delivery method (may I suggest Hyperdocs?), provide resources for students to explore, and figure out how to introduce and scaffold the process. But like many project-based learning approaches, once things are underway teachers get to focus on being there for students.

It’s also an asset-based approach that capitalizes on the power of choices and builds on the self-direction skills many students deepened during the spring.

Scott Thompson: “Ask.”

Scott Thompson, Tarrant Institute for Innovative EducationLet’s just acknowledge that this year is different. All your emotions are okay. And while significant challenges lie ahead, we cannot admire them. Educators are amongst the most talented, innovative, and passionate folks around. WE CAN DO THS! So let’s wonder what could it look like? How can it be different and better at the same time? Students will be showing up in some capacity and their energy will give us energy.

As we show up, and as our students show up, let’s not be afraid to ask for things. Ask for help. Ask for reassurance. And ask for space.

Let’s be kind to ourselves as we focus on coming together for such a mighty, mighty lift. Let’s step back when we need, and let’s make noise as we plan. Advocate for ourselves and our communities.

And above all, let’s listen to students.

Susan Hennessey: “Plan P”.

return to school collaborative digital tools for faculty meetingsWe all need to build learning opportunities based on multiple scenarios. Think of it less like having a Plan B, and more like a Plan P: pivoting to new contexts with intention.

One way to do so is to have a multitude of content in a number of different media at the ready so students have choice of access points to engage with content. If they can’t benefit from an in-person lecture / discussion, they will be well served by an engaging video with short stopping points for reflection built in via EdPuzzle, or a podcast followed by a collaborative discussion board via Padlet, or a piece of informational text they can collaborative mark up in ActivelyLearn of Hypothes.is.

Flower Darby in Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes advises:

“Take a little time to find relevant videos, audio recordings, and images…Find and share impactful pieces of content that add depth and breadth to your existing instructional materials. This will help students gain a richer understanding of the nuances of your subject.”

So, how to do so efficiently and effectively? Take advantage of Open Educational Resources like CK-12, OERcommons, and Curriki to find ready-to-use content. And don’t forget CommonLit to find texts for all reading levels and needs. These tools allow busy educators to easily search by content standard, grade range, and topic.



Teachers, we want you to be: safe.

We are excited for the possibility of seeing this fundamental disruption to school as we know it, as an opportunity to explore and create new ways of learning. Ways that honor student voice and drive, that create truly flexible pathways for students to move out of school buildings and into their communities. We are hoping students can explore what intrigues them about this world, and share who they are and what they’ve learned through their PLPs, and via student-led conferences (whatever those will look like). What are your students learning and doing during this time? How can we assess the new skills they gain? And how do we level the playing field in terms of racial, social, economic and intersectional equity?

But all of these questions are immaterial without teachers and students being truly safe in their learning environments.

Reach out if you need us. We will support you however we can.

Remote learning: relationships first

As schools consider moving to remote learning, you may be pondering how to continue the supportive and carefully developed community you have been building since day one of school at home. Perhaps you are worried about your students, especially the ones who might not have much supervision, resources, or even high-speed internet, because folks, this is Vermont. And we have been struggling with that for *years*.

First, let’s take a few deep breaths:


We are seeing a barrage of online resources coming the way of teachers and that is great. But we are reminded that the very most important thing right now is for kids to feel seen, loved, supported, and cared for.

You likely want to continue to foster a sense of belonging, because it is loneliness and isolation that could harm our students.

So let’s focus on how to stay truly connected to your class during this time.

One thing that can help educators and students feel more grounded and secure is this: connection. By creating opportunities to connect, not only will students feel more seen, but they will build all sorts of coping skills to use later in life.  We are going to share a plan for a humanistic, relational approach for distance and remote learning.

First — if you have time — how might you prepare for remote learning?

Start with this.

1. Know who has online access and who doesn’t, and plan accordingly.

Ask about online access, especially if your school is hanging onto devices. This might mean emailing plans to caregivers to share on their phones, or printing out plans on paper and sending them home that way.

2. Set up some remote learning agreements

Or you can adjust and extend your current classroom norms! Here are some suggested norms from this helpful resource, Humanizing Online Teaching, modified for a K-8 audience:

  • Be present. In a digital environment, it is easy to get distracted. Attention is caring. Focus on listening to each other and connecting.
  • Try not to interrupt, mute when not speaking.
  • Make space, take space. Encourage everyone to fully participate.
  • Be open to learning and acting in new and different ways.
  • Support the learning community in this time of change.

3. Make sure students take what they need

Library books, art supplies, paper, etc. If it’s not nailed down, it can be sent home at this time.

We know this school disruption is about to cause or exacerbate some food insecurity issues for students. We’re seeing communities brainstorming ways to get involved through Front Porch Forum (Send the bus drivers round with boxed lunches! Let librarians drive foods around!) and… it’s complicated. Focus on the learning supplies you have on hand for this bit.

4. Prioritize checking in with students 1:1

Prioritize students who do not have online access, find ways to connect and support students emotionally and academically. A phone call can go a long way in helping students feel cared for. Be sure to make space to surface any needs or concerns students might have.

In preparation for these conversations, know who you should communicate with when issues surface.  You cannot do this alone, so be clear about the support network you need should issues arise.

5. And finally, don’t forget about your needs

During stressful times it is important to prioritize self-care, personally and professionally.

Here are some suggestions for taking care of yourself and each other:

  • Continue to meet with your teacher team to collaborate and stay connected.
  • Take care of yourself and your family; breathe, rest, and take downtime.
  • Ask for help when you need it!

We see you, educators, working hard to take care of your students and each other! And we thank you for your hard work and your big hearts!

Preparing for remote learning

As we consider widespread school closures and how we might adapt, it’s important that our aim isn’t to recreate a typical school day, but instead, leverage strong teacher and student relationships and available technology to prioritize connection and support each other, and to create and document learning experiences and activities.

We are in uncharted waters. It’s okay to not have all of the answers. We’re all in this together.

And speaking of being in this together, I want to share some thinking I did with my partners at the Greater Rutland County Supervisory Union (GRCSU). The following thoughts were developed with the GRCSU coaching team. We hope this helps. Together, we got this!

Before a closure:

Instead of launching into remote learning mid-stride, consider taking a step back. What if we imagine instead that we are beginning a new, online school year? How would you be preparing for remote learning then?

Think back to those first days and weeks of school. How did you scaffold and set students up for success and new routines? How can you apply that here?

What norms and expectations can you develop so that students’ online experiences feel as safe and engaging as face-to-face time?

If your school is still open, consider what skills and materials students might need to access learning online and plan for those before a closure. Consider how you might scaffold online learning.

Also consider: Can students bring their devices home? What is the plan for students who don’t have device access (or adults available to help?)

Keep it simple:

  • What are your norms for online engagement?
  • How will you communicate with students? How are you going to disseminate information and resources?
  • Which apps or tools are students familiar with? Let’s freshen up those skills.
  • Are there any essential new tools students need to learn how to use?
  • Can you (or your students) create screencasts on how to use or access tools for reference later?

Shifting from content to transferable Skills

It will be incredibly challenging to offer equitable opportunities to all students remotely. Therefore, it seems that we may want to consider what is most important, what is realistic, and how we can use our resources so that students who need extra support can get it. Many families will be experiencing incredible challenges during this time — from childcare coverage, from economic hardship, and from actual illness.

It’s unreasonable to think that we’d be able to continue to meet all of our content area proficiencies under these circumstances. But this is a great opportunity to shift focus to transferable skills, and engage students through reflection.

Why? Because the transferable skills are likely the skills students are using, or could use, to navigate daily life: clear & effective communication, problem-solving, citizenship. As educators, we can help students connect their lived experiences to these skills, and hold space for reflection. This is learning.

Changing the structure

We can’t recreate the school day online. And we shouldn’t try. So how might we simplify things, while remaining connected with students?

Tending to social-emotional needs may be a priority during this time. Can you hold a virtual “morning meeting” for students who are able to attend? Can you offer 1:1 check-ins with students to keep them moving in their learning?

For students of any age, consider:

  • Holding a (morning/afternoon) meeting to check-in with everyone. Use this time provide emotional & social connection (and to deliver any whole-group instruction if necessary);
  • Using a (familiar to students) Learning Management System (LMS) to communicate work and assignments;
  • Holding office hours or scheduling virtual (or phone) meetings with individual students;
  • Using a reflection tool like Flipgrid, so that students can reflect or respond to prompts, assignments, or conversations.

Middle/High Schools:

Students in these grades often have multiple teachers. For some students, this is challenging enough in person. How can your faculty streamline this for students?

In addition to the suggestions above, consider:

  • Having advisors or another faculty member be the ‘point person’ for each student, instead of expecting students to connect with all of their teachers.
  • Work together as a faculty to develop expectations and assignments, have the advisor/point person communicate that to their advisees using the LMS.
    • At one school, teachers have been using Google Classroom as a faculty to share curriculum and student assignments related to Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs). This way advisors all have access to the PLP materials and can deliver them to their individual advisees, this model could work in this situation as well!
  • Check out the Distance Learning JumpStart Guide

Building on what they know

This is probably not the best time to introduce a lot of new technology or tools. What do students already know how to do and use that you could build upon? Are they already familiar with Google Docs, or Google Classroom?

Synchronous vs asynchronous delivery

Delivering synchronous instruction may prove challenging. If you aim for this method, try to keep it to a minimum.

Asynchronous formats might be simpler, especially if/when bandwidth is a consideration. This means offering an assignment or learning opportunity for students to engage with at their own pace. Consider tools such as VoiceThread or Marcopolo. Online forum software. Chat.

Determining what’s essential

Helping students find a way to practice and retain their skills is a great place to start.

How can you pare down and focus on the essentials? Which texts are you using? Which skills are you focusing on? How might they translate to activities outside the classroom?

Stay connected

Perhaps the most important priority at this time is staying connected, providing some sense of continuity, and emotional support. Learning targets, skills and practices may need to be disrupted as other priorities take center stage in students’ lives, due to this unprecedented move. And that’s okay. Reach out, and encourage connection. Provide humanity. Encourage students to communicate complications. If nothing else, provide simple understanding: “I hear you. That’s challenging. How are you doing? Are you okay? I want to keep hearing from you, all right?”

And this applies to you as well, educator friend. Let’s take this opportunity to slow down, step back, and breathe. We’re in this together.

Let us know how we can help.