April 13, 2020
Here at EdTec, supporting charter schools to succeed is at the heart of everything we do, day in and day out. As we navigate this difficult time together, this blog series will address various topics to help school leaders identify the tools, resources, and support they need to lead effectively. This time, we’re providing some inspiration and sharing examples of how our school partners are going above and beyond to serve their communities.
Across the country, schools are transitioning to some form of remote or online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic. While this is a time of uncertainty for many educators, it is also an opportunity to find innovative ways to respond to challenges and approach learning. Although schools are physically closed, school leaders are finding ways to keep their school communities connected and engaged. They are making sure students have the appropriate tools to continue learning at home, providing online learning resources, and encouraging students and teachers alike to find time to relax and have fun.
To provide inspiration and circulate ideas among the charter school community, we are spotlighting a few examples of how our school partners are rising to the challenge, broken into four categories:
- Online Learning Curriculum & Instructions
- Student Engagement
- Community Support
- Equitable Access
This is only a partial list of the many ways our school partners are serving their communities. If you have an example from your school that you would like to share, please click here to let us know.
Online Learning Curriculum & Instructions
We’ve included a few examples of how our school partners are implementing online learning and sharing educational resources with both students and parents.
Para Los Niños
As a way to help parents keep a structured learning schedule for their children, Para Los Niños is sharing practical resources such as example study agendas for each grade level on their website and Twitter channel. They include a mix of online educational resources, such as Khan Academy, to supplement in-class content or material.
Language Academy of Sacramento
The teachers at the Language Academy of Sacramento are creating weekly virtual learning packets that include daily schedules to keep kids on track.
Creo College Prep
Creo College Prep is making the transition to distance learning by uploading daily video lessons on their YouTube channel.
Rocketship Public Schools
Rocketship created a Digital Learning Launchpad to help families and educators adapt to learning from home by sharing what is working for their organization. Rocketship is sharing continuously updated resources, tools, and advice to support and advance student learning and character development from home.
Connect Community Charter School
The school leaders at Connect Community Charter School are providing their students and families easy access to helpful resources. They developed mini-websites for each grade level utilizing Google Sites to share distance learning resources and grade-level appropriate educational resources for parents to explore.
Elite Public Schools
To help continue the learning process during school closure, Elite Public Schools is providing family and student resources on their website. The resources include a daily schedule to suit the needs of both parents and students, along with free educational tools to keep learning fun. The website also features a student highlight video that shares what students are learning from home.
High Tech Los Angeles
High Tech Los Angeles is making the transition to distance learning by providing daily schedules and live sessions for each grade level. They also have a distance learning FAQ to answer any questions or concerns that parents or students may have.
Intrepid College Prep
Intrepid College Prep hosted remote learning webinars for parents in three languages and posted them on their website.
Lighthouse Community Public Schools
Lighthouse Community Public Schools is supporting the success of students by sharing learning resources for each grade level on Google Docs. The learning resources include work packets created by teachers along with online resources to support distance learning. They are also providing free educational online content for parents who are looking for additional support and enrichment ideas to continue learning at home.
Our school partners are finding creative ways to engage with students during the crisis, to both deliver critical information and provide a much-need break or healthy laugh!
Para Los Niños
Para Los Niños is utilizing social media to keep things fun! On opening day for baseball, they shared an image of their staff on Zoom, all wearing Dodgers jerseys. Although they couldn’t celebrate opening day on campus, they didn’t let it hold them back from showing their team spirit!
In an effort to bring joy to distance learning, Ethos Classical announced its first annual virtual spirit week on Instagram, encouraging students to post pictures and stories of artwork, silly outfits, and family photos.
Rocketship Public Schools
Although these are uncertain times, Rocketship is finding opportunity in the crisis. On their blog, the charter network is sharing how teachers, families, and students are making the most out of distance learning. They are also using social media to highlight how teachers and students are managing to have fun along the way.
In the spirit of friendly competition, Strive Collegiate Academy hosted a dance contest in their Instagram story in which students could vote for the best of two TikTok videos featuring their teachers! They are also using Instagram to promote their virtual spirit week.
Amethod Public Schools
Student health and safety is a top priority for many schools. Teachers from Amethod Public Schools created a YouTube video that walks students through five essential steps to help them stay safe during the quarantine.
Virtual dance parties, pajama day, and college pride day are just a few ways that Élan Academy is making the most of spirit week. Although students aren’t on campus, they are keeping spirit week alive by encouraging students to participate in fun at-home activities.
This is a hard time for many students, but teachers at Grizzlies Prep are sharing motivational videos on social media to keep students encouraged! In the videos, they are also providing ideas for ways that students can have fun with their families while at home.
We’ve included a few examples of how our school partners are supporting their community with access to teachers and counselors via phone or video chat, as well as other resources families need during this difficult time and transition to at-home learning.
Creo College Prep
Even though the school campus is physically closed, Creo College Prep is making sure that both parents and students have access to teachers. The school posts schedules and office hours on their website so that parents know what their children should be focused on and when they can video chat with teachers for support. The school is also hosting a daily community chat where the whole school comes together to connect and share gratitude.
Memphis Merit Academy
The school leaders at Memphis Merit are committed to making sure families have access to a teacher or administrator during the school closure. Parents and students can call a virtual teacher hotline for assistance with coursework.
Alpha Public Schools
To support their school community during this crisis, Alpha Public Schools is providing access to remote learning resources and family support resources. To make sure students have access to the internet, they are offering mobile hotspots to help students connect to the internet so that they can complete coursework. The organization is also offering counseling check-ins for students who are in need of additional support. To help parents who may be experiencing financial hardship, they have established an emergency fund to raise money to provide financial assistance and other resources.
Oxford Prep Academy
To keep parents informed about the crisis, OPA developed a COVID-19 Resources and Information page where they are sharing information on many topics including local meal service locations for all K-12 students, available childcare locations, and a COVID-19 hotline staffed by local nurses.
School leaders at Nevada Rise created the Families of Nevada Rise Facebook group and shared instructions for how to join to encourage families to connect and support each other during this time. They also created a YouTube channel with fun videos.
Buffalo Creek Academy
Buffalo Creek Academy plans to open this fall, but they’re already very active in their community. The leadership team recently set up a table at two grocery stores and handed out school supply bags to families to support students learning from home. They’re also holding professional development sessions online in preparation for the upcoming school year.
During this challenging time, it’s important that schools provide equitable access to the technology and training needed for students to continue learning at home. Here’s a few examples of how our school partners are committing to instructional equity as they transition to online learning.
Amethod Public Schools / Oakland Charter High School
Oakland Charter High School recognizes the importance of ensuring all students have access to the appropriate technology to continue learning at home. They are distributing Chromebooks to students in need and providing internet services to families who lack access.
Solare Collegiate is loaning Chromebooks to students who do not have access to a computer at home, and their website includes information about free access to community hotspots. Solare is also helping to make sure all parents and students are prepared to participate in student learning by providing detailed instructions about how to sign into email and Google Classroom.
Alpha Public Schools
Alpha Public Schools put together a one-pager with information about free or low-cost home internet options for families, including instructions for how to sign-up.
During these uncertain times, it is inspiring to see how schools are going above and beyond to provide their students with quality online learning and make things fun along the way! We hope the examples provided here will provide ideas and inspiration for school leaders across the country to try something new or different. If you have an example you would like to share with other school leaders, please click here to let us know.