Most schools implementing remote learning have been doing so for more than a month. In that time, we’ve seen some inspiring stories of ingenuity, resilience, and positivity from our partner schools. Here we are sharing key takeaways and lessons learned from schools that have been implementing remote learning programs.
Settle on a clear and prioritized vision for educators, teachers, and families.
Set priorities and a vision. Settle on a vision first, otherwise you might create a plan that runs in multiple directions. It helps to narrow the focus to emphasize what you really want to happen each day for students and families, because you likely will be unable to conduct a full eight-hour school day at home.
Prioritize connections with other people.
Prioritize taking care of students and educators. Most schools do this by leveraging the strong relationships they have in their community. Emphasize that the school is still the same school it was before the closures. A school’s priority should be to take care of people, and that people hear this message directly from school leadership. Emphasize the end product rather than “seat time” to allow for flexibility in the work schedules of teachers, educators, and students. Having predictable systems, structures, and environment so people know what to expect is also helpful. When people know they won’t be penalized if they have to shift or adjust depending on their needs, they perform better.
Communicate with students and families.
Gather information quickly. Many schools have found that this time has reinvigorated people and showed what is possible when you are deeply engaged with your community. Consistent communication and having feedback mechanisms matter. Share announcements and small successes, and let parents know how to get in touch with the school. Examples can include weekly emails to parents about progress and successes, social media posts highlighting teachers and students, or robocalls about updates.
Explore workarounds for lack of tech access.
Many schools and families are facing inequities when it comes to technology and internet access. Depending on your community, different grants or plans might be available (e.g. internet companies offering support or free plans). Schools may want to do some groundwork to see what is available, and what the lift would be for families to access these resources.
Some schools with a large population of students without computer or internet access have printed out packets with weekly or biweekly resources, creating a safe way for families to pick up packets at school and for students to work at home.
*Schools should ensure the operations of their remote learning programs align to district and state standards.
Check out our recent blog posts to hear more stories from schools seeing successes with remote learning.