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Safeguarding Back to School: Principles to Guide a Healthy Opening to Classrooms During COVID-19

Monday, June 8, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

Safeguarding Back to School

Presented by Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, Senior Director for Education Issues, AFT; Dr. Lisa Thomas, Associate Director, Educational Issues, AFT; Eric Tucker, Executive Director, Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools, NY; Anisa Phillip, SPED Coordinator, Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools, NY; and Tricia Forrest, Partner and Project Manager, Urban Projects Collaborative, NY
Hosted by Barbara Pape, Policy and Communications Director, Learner Variability Project, Digital Promise

Sponsored by Digital Promise

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The transition back to school this year will be unlike any in history. Guidance and rules are still being refined and released, and our children and families/caregivers, our workers, and our school communities understandably feel anxious and tentative about reopening safely.

In this edWebinar, leaders of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools (LAB), in New York City, discuss key questions we must all consider as we begin the journey back to school – from the school bus ride to the dismissal bell. While some challenges remain outside of the purview of the education system, both the AFT and LAB have described a range of issues to be considered and offered solutions on what schools need to do to offer a safe environment for teaching and learning.

The AFT published the detailed A Plan to Safely Reopen Schools and Communities and LAB’s Version 1 (VI) toolkit is aligned with the AFT’s document, with several additional goals that focus on students with disabilities and ensure that plans can be modified to meet the needs of all schools.

In this edWebinar, we:

  • Learn about two detailed and reflective planning documents to help teachers, administrators, parents, students, and the community better understand what it takes to re-open schools safely
  • Discuss safe re-opening from the morning school bus to the return home
  • Better understand ways to include students with disabilities in all re-opening plans

This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to teachers, librarians, school and district leaders, and all education stakeholders of all grade levels.


Marla Ucelli-KashyapAbout the Presenters

Marla Ucelli-Kashyap is Senior Director for Educational Issues at the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT), where she serves as a strategic advisor to AFT President Randi Weingarten and leads a team working on key areas of policy, practice, technical assistance, and professional development aimed at helping teachers and their unions improve education quality and their profession. Previously, she was Director of District Redesign and Leadership at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and a senior program officer at the Rockefeller Foundation. She holds a B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa graduate) from New York University and an M.P.A. from Rutgers. She has served on numerous boards and advisory groups and as a founding co-chair of Grantmakers for Education. Ucelli-Kashyap currently serves as board chair of the Learning First Alliance.


Lisa ThomasDr. Lisa Thomas is a Senior Education Policy Analyst at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), providing research and programmatic support to the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union. Dr. Thomas manages a portfolio of topic-specific special education, behavior, and classroom management courses within AFT’s Professional Development Program, Educator Academy. She has directed several national campaigns on bullying prevention, school discipline, restorative practices, and autism and special education. In addition, Dr. Thomas represents AFT on a number of federal committees, national leadership and coalition groups, including the National Universal Design for Learning Task Force, co-communications chair; State Accountability for All Students Advisory Board; Atlantic Philanthropies Research-to-Practice Collaborative on Equity and Access; National Academy of Science and Technology; and the former federally- funded National Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Partnership.


Eric TuckerEric Tucker is Co-founder and Executive Director at Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School (LAB). He was the director at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY. As managing director of Catalyst Strategy, Eric led school design and implementation work for clients including Ascend, Excel, and Building Excellent Schools. As CAO and Executive Director of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, Eric grew a national network serving 450 urban schools. Eric taught argumentation and debate in Providence and Chicago. Eric has a doctorate from Oxford University.


Anisa PhillipsAnisa Phillip is a Special Education Coordinator at Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School (LAB). She began teaching at Hudde Middle School as a literacy specialist for ExpandEDSchools. She then served as a Math Fellow at InnovateEDU and completed a teacher residency at LAB. Anisa has taught 6th- and 7th- grade ELA, writing, and history to students in a 12-1-1 setting, where she scaffolded instruction to support student needs and encourage growth. She has a B.A. from John Jay and an M.A. in education from Relay Graduate School of Education.


Tricia ForrestTricia Forrest is a partner and project manager at Urban Projects Collaborative, LLC (UPC), with over 15 years of experience in project management, operations, and strategy. She has worked with firms dedicated to design, owner representation, and professional management services. Tricia leads UPC’s K-12 education practice and has worked on new schools and renovation projects throughout the New York region. She has a B.A. in international business, management, and finance and an M.S. in economics, global business, and finance. Tricia also is the mother to a fifth-grade student in New York City public schools.


Barbara PapeAbout the Host

Barbara Pape is the policy and communications director for the Learner Variability Project at Digital Promise. She has 20 years’ experience in strategic communications, writing, and policy analysis, primarily in education. Previously, she served as the executive producer of the award-winning Teaching & Learning conference, sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, where she developed content and oversaw outreach and communications. As a writer, she has written for numerous publications, including Harvard University, the National Education Goals Panel (U.S. Department of Education) and Parents magazine. Barbara also served as editor and publisher of the first electronically delivered education newsletter, the Daily Report Card. She served on the Advisory Board of the Kennedy Center’s Intersection of Arts Education and Special Education Committee, serves as a judge for the Miliken-Penn Graduate School of Education Business Plan competition, and is on the Boards at the Education Writers Association and Potentia. She earned an Ed.M. at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and launched her career as a middle school language arts teacher.

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Digital PromiseDigital Promise was created with the mission to accelerate innovation in education to improve opportunities to learn.

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Monday, June 8, 2020
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
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