How is your district preparing for a potential long-term closure?

Mar 11, 2020

In times like this, with so much uncertainly, the Future Ready Schools® network comes together to do exactly what we envisioned it to do five years ago; support each other with tools, resources, and advice as districts embark on similar challenges. Last night the FRS network did just that during an hour long twitter chat lead by Carl Hooker (@MrHooker), Future Ready Faculty Member and a long time educator. The purpose of the chat was to support schools that have closed, those that are developing contingency plans, and the countless educators that are working through “what-if” scenarios. Carl, along with hundreds of educators from coast to coast, were able to collaborate, share and help each other problem solve around the issues that are weighing heavy on everyone’s mind — how do we ensure that our students’ academic as well as social and emotional needs are met in the event that their school is closed due to the coronavirus?

Listed below you can see just a small portion of the #FutureReady chat. As expected, the collective expertise of educators shined through. You can access the full chat transcript here.

We Know: There are Awesome Things Already Happening in Our Schools and Districts – RIGHT NOW

Portable WiFi hot spots procured for families with no home internet access, meetings set up with union leaders for initial planning, exploring the use of @OtusK12 as “The” LMS for District, beginning to consider PK, K-2, 3-5, 6-8 needs, Reviewing other District Plan.
– Michael Lubelfeld, @mikelubelfeld

Intentional regular communication with our school community. Planning amongst leaders in the district. Training of teachers on how to best use our digital tools in an extended break from school
– Joseph A Catania III, @Tech_4Schools

I believe it is important to keep in mind we will not replace our usual routine in an online environment. This is an opportunity to be creative and utilize our tools to keep us moving forward, not rebuild our entire curriculum in an online environment overnight.
– Brandon Langer, @brandonlanger

Contingency Planning: Ideas for remote learning opportunities for students

I will stress that learning opportunities do not necessarily need to be digitized. Ideally, learning is designed so that students are interacting with their environment/hands-on as much as usual #FutureReady
-Michelle R. Green, @mrg_3

We are using Zoom to host the video-conference style classes. Students sign in from home and I share my screen with them. If they get stuck, they share their screen with me. It’s really cool. Navigating it all has a learning curve.
– Kristy Manuel, @KristyManuel

Reinforcing tools teachers and students have already been exposed to. Classlink is used as a landing page where appropriate and available connectors are found. We also arranged a process for tech support by creating an email address and Google voice number.
– Dana Castine, @danacastine

Rather than looking to reinvent the wheel let’s focus on leveraging the resources we already have in place (online or offline) and help our teachers, students, and families be successful. #FutureReady
– Kyle Pace, CETL, @kylepace

Perhaps not rushing to hurriedly and poorly adopt a new tool or tools is the most #FutureReady thing a thoughtful educator could do right now. If it ain’t already a habit, it won’t become one in a hurry.
– Bud Hunt, @budtheteacher

If your students can read, then get them a set of texts or encourage them engage in some #studentchoice reading. I am pro #edtech, but we can all learn by reading, reflecting, and writing about our experience with that material.
– Brandon Langer, @brandonlanger

On Preparing staff, students and the community for possible closures

This is where #SEL comes in for ADULTS. Giving folks permission, language, tools to manage fear and uncertainty. Creating space not only to talk about WHAT you are doing, but how are THE PEOPLE doing? Even a 3-5 minute warm up in faculty mtg can build connection.
– Leslie Hazle Bussey, @hazlebussey

#BCPS has been great about updating parents and letting them know where we are.
– Emmanuel Andre, @MrEandre

The use of posters, assemblies while school is in session to educate students, faculty, families on ways to stay healthy and attuned to facts in the current environment.
– Dean J. Fusto, @DJFTLL

On Shared Plans and Resources

At FRS, we believe that educators are some of the most dynamic, talented, empathetic people on the planet. We know that together, we will continue to rise to the challenge of supporting our students, while keeping our most marginalized groups at the forefront.

Together, we can do this.

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The new Future Ready Schools® (FRS) podcast series, Leading Through Unprecedented Times, looks at how teaching and learning have shifted online overnight due to mandated school closures across the nation. FRS leaders are simultaneously addressing and amplifying equity issues among marginalized groups as schools become the community hub for food distribution and human connection. Listen to powerful stories from school and district leaders who are overcoming adversity and offering their communities hope as they lead through unprecedented times!

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