technology in education

Quick Take: Two MCLs’ Pandemic Tools to Monitor Student Understanding

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, February 23, 2021

Although Nikki Glenn, a first-year MCL, and her team of four fifth-grade teachers at Falkener Elementary got to rejoin their students in the classroom for in-person learning in January (with one teaching children who chose to remain virtual), the tools they relied on last semester continue to prove their value.

Glenn’s team worked hard throughout the fall to determine how to effectively monitor students’ understanding and progress from a distance—useful still in socially distanced classrooms. Read more…

3 Model Options Give Schools Budget-Neutral Plans, Schedules, Roles for Partial School Closures

By Public Impact, May 15, 2020

Districts and schools are confronting the learning loss caused by missed school time so far. Opportunity Culture schools—90 percent of which are Title I—have a special responsibility and opportunity to reverse that learning loss with the same method they’ve used for years: highly connective, high-standards instruction that helps more students achieve high-growth learning. Multi-Classroom Leadership by teachers with a high-growth track record is the foundation.

What can that look like if some students and teachers need to stay home, or if schools open, then shut, in waves in the coming school year? Read more…

Top Tips for Teaching and Leading at Home from Opportunity Culture® Fellows

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, May 1, 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis sent students and teachers home, we shared the stories of Opportunity Culture Fellows—educators chosen for their leadership and success helping students make high learning growth—as they were making the shift to at-home teaching. We listened during their interviews for their tips for others focused on helping students learn—and supporting their social-emotional health—no matter what challenges they or their students face, especially if at-home learning continues into the fall or recurs sporadically. Read More…

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…

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…

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…