At-home learning

District Policies for At-Home Learning; Stories & Tips from Top Educators

By Public Impact, April 10, 2020

As students and teachers shift to working from home, many district policies need to shift as well. In a publication released today, Recommended District Policies for At-Home Teaching and Learning, Public Impact provides recommendations with a focus on: What policies are both feasible and most likely to produce strong learning outcomes for all students, especially disadvantaged learners? Based on a review of policies of virtual schools and districts in response to COVID-19 and on Public Impact experience, these recommendations will be updated as districts, schools, and Public Impact continue to learn during the shift. We welcome your feedback. Read More…

In Arizona, Turning Vulnerabilities Into Strengths as Teaching Goes Home

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, April 10, 2020

“Really, everyone’s a first-year teacher at this.”

When Christina Ross’s small Arizona school shut down for COVID-19, educators knew they needed to move quickly to meet students’ immediate needs. Fifty miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, Desert Oasis Elementary is one of two schools in Nadaburg Unified School District, which Ross describes as “half-rural,” serving a total of 1,200 K-8 students. Read more…

High-Touch At-Home Learning? That’s the Plan in Indianapolis School

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, April 10, 2020

When Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) closed its school doors due to COVID-19, Jeremy Baugh, principal of Lew Wallace Elementary and a 2018–19 Opportunity Culture Fellow, moved quickly with his staff to keep their students learning and connected to their teachers.

“Our Lew Wallace staff, in general, and the IPS community has just gone above-and-beyond for our kids. It’s been incredible to see the connections that they’ve made with them and how hard they’re working to produce high-quality instruction for our kids even in a difficult time,” Baugh said in a recent interview. Read More…

From Start to Finish, A Focus on Relationships During At-Home Learning

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, April 9, 2020

For Candace Butler, who leads a middle-school team of English language arts and social studies teachers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Wilson STEM Academy, relationships are everything. That was true before COVID-19 sent everyone home, and even more so now.

Pre-pandemic, Butler’s weeks were filled with classroom observations, small-group instruction, co-teaching, and team meetings for planning and data analysis. Read more…

Spreading Support in Vance County During At-Home Learning

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, April 9, 2020

In a crisis, everyone could use the support that Opportunity Culture multi-classroom leaders (MCLs) offer their small teaching teams, and fast. Vance County Schools, located in North Carolina at the Virginia border, moved quickly post-COVID-19 shutdown to provide that support through a temporary “remote learner leads” team that takes advantage of MCLs’ skills. Read more…

Consistency and Care: Confronting COVID-19 in a Rural School Community

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, April 8, 2020

During the coronavirus crisis—and any future periods of at-home teaching and learning—rural school districts face special challenges. In North Carolina’s Edgecombe County Public Schools, Multi-Classroom Leader Amy Pearce said in a recent interview, two keys to taking care of students will be schoolwide consistency and a focus on taking care of stressed teachers. Read more…

Stories and Schedules: Making Highly Connected At-Home Learning Work

By Public Impact, April 3, 2020

During this unprecedented crisis, the right schedules, along with videoconferencing, can help keep students and educators emotionally connected, while ensuring continued instructional excellence by teaching teams.

Public Impact has created new schedule examples for at-home learning, either full-day or half-day, for elementary and secondary school Opportunity Culture multi-classroom leader teams and their students. These materials will help schools provide students with face-to-face connections with each teacher and classmates, optimize use of other online learning, limit total screen time, and provide flexibility for when technology shortcomings and family disruptions affect students. Read more…

In Charlotte, Keeping Connected to 212 At-Home Students

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, April 3, 2020

How do you teach 212 students from a distance? Expanded-Impact Teacher Jimmel Williams says you listen carefully to your students’ needs, and keep your teaching—and your high expectations—largely the same.

Williams, who teaches eighth- and ninth-grade math in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and was a 2017-18 Opportunity Culture Fellow, is still figuring out exactly how he wants the “live” teaching component to work with so many students, but he has a wealth of materials—and individual connecting with students—to draw on meantime. Read more…

Keep Doing What Worked: Advice for At-Home Learning

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, March 31, 2020

Keep doing what works: For Erin Burns Mehigan, that message has been central to her school’s shift to at-home teaching and learning. Now an assistant principal at Jay M. Robinson Middle School in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Mehigan was a multi-classroom leader at West Charlotte High School and a 2015–16 Opportunity Culture Fellow.

She took what worked for her as a multi-classroom leader (MCL) to her role at Robinson leading the team of science teachers, as well as all seventh-grade teachers. That includes regular team meetings, which now gather on Zoom twice a week to continue their work to use data-driven instruction, discuss how to hold small-group instruction virtually, and develop at-home schedules that support students without overwhelming them. Read more…

In Georgia, Leading a Team on Distance Teaching and Caring

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, March 27, 2020

For Tu Willingham, distance teaching and team-leading are already well underway. A history multi-classroom leader at Banneker High School in Fulton County (Georgia) Schools, Willingham has tackled the early weeks of the school shutdown with strong team leadership and ideas about what can make distance learning work.

Everyone needs time to adapt to the reality now, Willingham said, noting that he felt inundated by the news until this week, when he felt better able to “move on and just accept the fact that this is a difficult situation that we have to get through.” Read more…