The current crisis has highlighted the disparity between students with and without equitable access to technology, especially in rural schools. While most teachers are being asked to take their lessons directly to the students’ homes, many administrators know that the challenges in their district go beyond whether or not students have enough devices to do their classwork. During CoSN and ClassLink’s edWebinar, “Leading Digital Transformations in Rural School Districts,” the presenters talked about how the COVID-19 situation amplifies the obstacles rural schools face transitioning to a 21st century learning environment.
Rural school districts face many unique trials, and access to educational technology is no different. But the obstacles aren’t just about location. In many cases, school leaders need to justify why the district should invest in the first place. During the edWebinar “Technology in Rural Schools: Leading with Why,” the presenters discussed how they overcame challenges and helped the community understand the value of tech in schools.
As a new principal at the Dunwoody Springs Elementary School, Fulton County Schools, GA, Ivy Goggins faced pockets of success in the building, a climate of teachers working in silos, and the lack of true collaboration. These are common challenges for many instructional leaders, teachers, and coaches, and Goggins sought to find a way to create a culture of mutual respect, cooperation, and equitable learning opportunities for her teachers and students. In CT3’s recent edWebinar, Goggins, her principal coach Joy Treadwell, Ph.D. from CT3, and Jim McVety, Managing Partner of First Step Advisors, delved into solutions to these challenges through the essential leadership skills that have the potential to impact the entire school community.
Every two or three years, state and federal laws regarding accessibility in education change. However, the goal is always the same: making sure that every student, at every level (classroom, building, district), has access to the resources they need to meet their learning goals. During ClassLink and CoSN’s edWebinar, “Accessibility for All: Creating an Equitable Learning Ecosystem,” the presenters discussed the lessons they’ve learned, especially regarding technology as an instrument for accessibility.
Although many in K-12 are cautious of comparing education to corporations, schools are in the business of educating students and preparing them for life. And one of the most important parts of any business is customer service. During the edWebinar ”Building Trust: 4 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve the K-12 Customer Experience,” the presenters explained why school leaders need to include customer service as part of their strategic plan and offered four steps to start improving school-community relations right now.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the country struggle to move their brick-and-mortar classrooms to remote online learning environments. While empowering students to take the lead in their education is the vision and mission of school districts, the abrupt move to distance learning has put a heavy burden of responsibility on our students. “What is being asked of our children today in terms of executive functioning is way more complicated than it used to be, and their brains are not more ready,” said Courtney Wittner, M.Ed., Director at Hayutin & Associates, during a recent edLeader Panel. Wittner, along with Renaud Boisjoly, CEO of Studyo, identified and provided valuable strategies for supporting students as they navigate these unprecedented and challenging times with executive functioning skills.
Students miss a school day now and then. They get sick, have a doctor’s appointment, or get caught up in a family emergency. These are among common excused absences that don’t usually affect a student’s academic standing. But chronic absenteeism—missing 10% or more of school—is an equity epidemic with short- and long-term impacts on student performance. Each year, almost eight million students are chronically absent for complex reasons.
It may lack sweat equity, but it’s up there with even the most physically demanding of sports. Esports, the competitive side of video gaming, is exploding. And K-12 schools are buying in because it’s not only fun but also a viable educational tool! A recent edWebinar sponsored by Common Sense Education, “Ready Player One: Esports in K-12,” highlights why esports has taken hold in schools. Research-based evidence affirms its highly positive impact on students’ academic achievement, soft skills, and socio-emotional well-being.
To help teachers with the transition to online instruction, an edWebinar hosted by SETDA featured educators sharing what is working for them as they teach students online during the COVID-19 crisis. The presenters also provided recommendations for other educators who are now making the shift from being in a classroom to working remotely with students.
Despite universal concerns about student data privacy, communicating school policies can quickly overwhelm school leaders. CoSN has stepped in with guidance for superintendents and principals to help them with several aspects of student data privacy, including best practices for informing the community. In their edWebinar “Assuring Student Data Privacy: Lessons for Our Times,” presenters offered insights into how school leaders can take charge of communications for this critical issue.