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What's Your Plan?

Posted by 
Mitch Weathers
 on 
July 1, 2020

While on another Zoom call today a colleague in Massachusetts asked a great question, one I had not thought about. It seems all of us in education are waiting on the edge of our collective seat to learn what school will look like in the fall. Some states have announced that schools will be safe enough to return as normal. Some districts plan to implement a hybrid schedule where students will spend part of the week at home. Others, like the California Community College system announced they will remain 100% remote learning.

Regardless of your school's schedule, this is an important question to ask, "What if after one or two weeks of school in the fall, we learn there is an uptick in COVID-19 cases and all the schools around the nation immediately close, as they did this spring?" I know this may sound strange but I hadn't even given that issue any considerable thought. I have been so focused on what fall 2020 might look like, doing my best to plan and flex accordingly, that a second immediate closure wasn't even in my thought process.

Needless to say it's a great question, and we'd be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn't incorporate a plan into our agenda for this fall, (or at a bare minimum, discuss it as a possibility). It is critical that every district, network, school, and teacher create an implementation plan for the fall that will work for your schedule, but also one that can transition to a distanced-learning scenario overnight.

I've wondered what my teaching plan would have looked like this spring had I known months ahead of time that on a particular day in March all schools would immediately close. I like to think that I would have made that transition to distance-learning in a more graceful way -- one that would have helped each of my students a little more with the shock of a sudden transition -- and to be as successful as possible.

So, I'm encouraging you to use my wake-up-call, (and possibly my naivety), to ponder these points as you look to the fall 2020:

  • Can your plan work for all of your students, including those without reliable internet access?
  • Do you have all of your parent's current phone numbers/contact info so you can text lesson plans home if needed?
  • Can your plan work for students with too few devices in the home?
  • How can you structure and support learning at home as you do with your lesson plans in class? Can you help students move beyond the list of things you assign to truly engage in their learning?
  • Will your plan include "drive-by" pick up sessions (also my colleague's idea) for students to get analog resources and turn work in?

If we incorporate the possibility of going 100% distance-learning into our fall plan, we reduce our stress, and the stress of our students, that is so inherent in the transition to remote learning, should we be ordered to go that direction.

If you have read any of my recent articles you know that I believe for all students to equitably engage in their schooling in a remote learning environment, our plan must include analog solutions in addition to digital. If our plan does not blend the two, we are complicit in widening the growing COVID Gap which is disproportionately impacting communities who have historically been underserved by education in America.

So...what's your plan?

I would love to hear your ideas! Please share them with me directly: [email protected] or via twitter and include @organizedbinder in your tweet.

Thanks for reading and sharing,

Mitch

ps. If you're on twitter I encourage you to connect with my friend and colleague who asked this question. Her name is Bonnie (aka the BiologyGoddess), she is a teacher in Massachusetts, an edtech guru, and a blogger. She has loads of great ideas!. Here is her Nohea twitter card as an introduction:


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