Studies show that many students suffer from summer learning loss. And this year’s losses may be even greater due to COVID-19 school closures. Start thinking about ways to partner with parents to help students retain what they have learned this year. Here are three strategies:

  1. Define it. Most parents might not know what the term “summer slide” means. Explain in general terms that children will lose some of their school skills if they don’t use them.
  2. Defeat it. Give parents ways they can work with their children. Make a list of “summer slide stoppers.” Suggest that parents read with their child for 15 minutes every day. Recommend summer online classes or virtual field trips. Share ideas for on-the-spot learning, such as measuring ingredients for a recipe.
  3. Distribute it. Share tips for preventing summer slide to parents as soon as possible. Send home notices, post summer learning ideas on your school website, run an ad in the local newspaper or try to get a spot on a local radio or cable TV station.

 

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Include college and career readiness information on your website

Studies show that parent involvement in post-secondary planning makes a student’s successful transition to college and a career more likely. Make sure your school website provides families with the information they need to navigate the process. This is especially important now that face-to-face meetings are impossible due to school closures. On your school website, include:

  • Links to resources such as the FAFSA, The College Board and the ACT websites.
  • College and career readiness articles and strategies.
  • Important details about college entrance exam dates and registration deadlines. Include your district’s high school graduation requirements.

did-you-know  Did You Know?

According to a recent nationwide survey, 78% of parents of K-12 students are satisfied with the communication from their children’s school during the COVID-19 shutdowns and 87% have at least one child who is engaging in learning activities from their school. However, nearly 25% of parents worry that their children may be ill-prepared for the upcoming school year.

Understanding Coronavirus in America Study, USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research.

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Are you supporting teachers as they pivot to online learning and virtual classrooms? Share these tips from a veteran online teacher:

  • Consider recording some lectures and sending them to students. Students who struggle with internet access may miss a live lecture.
  • Keep recorded videos short—around 15 minutes. A series of short videos is more effective than one long video.
  • Show your face. Studies show that students are more engaged when they can see you.
  • Set up virtual office hours for students who need one-on-one attention.

 

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Make time for self-care

The new reality of remote learning is challenging for educators and students alike. Self-care is paramount during these uncertain times. Here are a few strategies to help you prioritize personal health:

  • Maintain consistent sleep and wake times that allow for plenty of sleep. Consider tracking your sleep with an app that measures sleep quality.
  • Establish a daily exercise schedule. Take a brisk walk or download a free fitness app.
  • Carve out time to relax. Schedule activities that promote calm, such as reading, working on puzzles or meditating.
  • Connect with others. Use video conference tools to stay in touch with family and friends. You can even share a meal online!

did-you-know  Did You Know?

A new nationwide poll conducted by the Collaborative for Student Success shows that 65% of teachers favor starting next year with “regularly scheduled instruction” rather than extending next school year, revisiting material from the end of this school year or offering students the option to repeat a grade. You can visit https://forstudentsuccess.org for full survey results.

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A kindergarten roundup event is a great way to connect with rising kindergartners and their families. While schools are unable to host in-person events, they can still reach out to families remotely. Consider hosting a video conference or recording a video presentation for families highlighting your kindergarten registration process. During your presentation, also share strategies for creating a home learning environment and let parents know that their engagement in school can boost their child’s:

  • Academic achievement.
  • Attendance.
  • Positive behavior.
  • Motivation for learning.
  • Likelihood of graduation.
  • Likelihood of postsecondary education.

 

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Educators share insights on the effects of COVID-19

EdWeek Research Center is conducting twice-monthly national surveys of K-12 teachers and district leaders to discover how they are addressing challenges affiliated with COVID-19 and remote learning. Here’s what one of their most recent surveys found:

  • Student and teacher morale have declined significantly.
  • Teachers are engaging in instruction and communication; however, equity problems persist.
  • Educators are most concerned that students will fall behind in math.
  • Email and video conferencing are the most common form of teacher-student interaction.
  • About 20% of students are not participating in school. That number is closer to 33% for low-income families.

did-you-know  Did You Know?

PBS KIDS is hosting a new Read-Along Series for children. Families can view the livestream on Mondays at 12:00 EST on PBS KIDS’ Facebook and YouTube, as well as Penguin Random House’s Facebook. Be sure to let your families know!

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Families need guidance from schools on how to create effective learning environments at home. Share the following tips:

  • Create a flexible learning space. Your child may like to sit at the kitchen table to do math problems but prefer to sit on the couch to read. Giving kids a choice of where to complete work can result in greater learning.
  • Check in with your child throughout the day to find out how he’s feeling. Ask questions such as, “What emoji best represents your mood right now?” or “What color represents how you are feeling?”
  • Schedule frequent breaks. Students need breaks every 20-30 minutes to maintain focus and energy.
  • Incorporate exercise and play into the day. Physical activity has been shown to improve children’s memory, attention, mood and cognitive function. Unstructured play allows kids to practice social-emotional skills and creative problem-solving.

 

Five strategies for getting students back on track

When students, teachers and staff return to school buildings, educators will be faced with helping students get back on track. Chalkbeat.org has identified five research-based strategies that school leaders and policymakers might consider:

  1. Extend the school day or school year to make up for months of missed school.
  2. Provide extra tutoring during the school day for groups of students who are struggling.
  3. Loop elementary school teachers with the same group of students next year to provide a sense of familiarity for students when they return.
  4. Increase the number of mental health professionals available in schools, such as counselors, school psychologists, social workers and nurses.
  5. Integrate content regarding coronavirus into the curriculum to help students make sense of what is happening in the world.

 

Quote of the Day

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"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

Helen Keller

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There are lots of things parents can do to limit their children’s stress and fear during these unsettling times. Share the following tips with families:

  • Limit your child’s access to the news.
  • Share positive information, such as the increasing numbers of people who are recovering from the virus and the acts of kindness being performed around the world.
  • Create routines. A daily routine for waking, eating, learning, playing and sleeping helps kids maintain a sense of order.
  • Find ways to exercise. Physical activity is a great stress reliever, and it is a great way to spend time together as a family.
  • Connect with friends and family. Encourage your child to reach out via phone or video chat. Write cards or letters.

 

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Five books for professional development

Reading is an effective way for educators and school leaders to gain knowledge and achieve professional growth. Here are five titles to explore:

  1. Phyllis Hunter, It's Not Complicated! What I Know for Sure About Helping Our Students of Color Become Successful Readers
  2. Kat Howard, Stop Talking About Wellbeing
  3. Juliana Othman and Fatiha Senom, Professional Development through Mentoring: Novice ESL Teachers' Identity Formation and Professional Practice
  4. Pamela McLean, Self as Coach, Self as Leader: Developing the Best in You to Develop the Best in Others
  5. Lee Watanabe-Crockett, Future-Focused Learning: 10 Essential Shifts of Everyday Practice

did-you-know  Did You Know?

The U.S. Department of Education has compiled a collection of COVID-19 resources for schools and school personnel. Check it out: https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus.

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