This year will be like no other — you know that. Learning loss alone may take years of concerted effort to address, especially for Black and Latino students and students from low-income homes. We’ve likely all seen the data, read about or worked with parents and students feeling disengaged and exhausted, and dreamt about a return to some semblance of normalcy. Even at the foundation, it’s hard to remain true to our motto, “impatient optimists,” with each new challenge.
In the face of 2020’s uncertainties, we remain grateful to be working with partners and other organizations that have created tools to help support school leaders during this transition, like New Visions’ Launching the School Year, the Day in the Life tool from Chiefs for Change and CASEL’s Roadmap for Reopening. And we are excited by the stories we’re hearing about schools and classrooms. We’re particularly grateful to our teachers. With nearly 1.8 million teachers and 45,000 principals, the Teacher2Teacher and Principal Project networks are places where educators share, support, learn, and inspire each other in new and creative ways. I go there when I need a boost.
Consider Principal Arria Coburn. Her students asked her to use TikTok to stay connected. “Humor is the way you win kids over. It meant something to our students to see us try something new – and it helps us maintain a positive school culture – even when we can’t be together. It matters to students to know that they matter to us … and sometimes a silly video is the way we show it.” Or Teacher Jorge Valenzuela who is sharing self-directed professional development strategies to support educators to become more trauma-informed and culturally responsive. “I’ve devised a couple of easy, manageable strategies for doing my own self-directed PD…Please remember – there’s no one way to do this, and it’s all about figuring out what’s most effective for you..”
We know there are so many others, so please consider joining T2T and Principal Project for inspiration or to share your good story, best practice, or lesson learned. Tell us here so we can use our voice to spread the word. We need your good stories and best practices so we can learn from each other.
Times are tough and sometimes feel unrelenting. But a teacher named Ashley Bullock, said it best: “This year will be remembered for so much. One thing I will never forget is seeing so many teachers step up, share, collaborate, and engage. Even when it seems like the world is on fire, we still got each other.”
Last month, we hosted a powerful event on supporting students during COVID-19. Former DCPS Chancellor and Reconstruction CEO Kaya Henderson led a discussion with partners from three exemplar organizations: City Year, College Advising Corps, and Saga Education. Learn more.
What if School Looked Like This? Centering Students in Virtual Learning Design is the culmination of a project where students and teachers shared stories from virtual learning experiences. Centering the stories and experiences of adolescent students—especially from underserved groups—and inviting them to the design table with adults is at the heart of this project.
Building systems that lift up Black and Latino students and children from low-income homes has always been at New Leaders’ core. They are providing best-in-class leadership development to help schools provide students with challenging, engaging learning experiences regardless of where learning happens. Learn more about their new Virtual Leadership Academy to help leaders across the U.S.
Through our investment in Bento, a free education data visualization tool, we are supporting leaders who need to make data-driven decisions in this difficult time. Bento allows users to drill into survey results from thousands of teachers and principals on topics such as COVID-19 response, curriculum usage, teacher prep, SEL, and school safety. Get access here.