Leading in a Crisis: Spotlight Our School Partners During School Reopening

April 28, 2021

As school reopening continues to be a main topic of conversation and debate across communities nationwide, school leaders face the challenges of determining when students will return and what a typical school day will look like. Re-opening hasn’t been uniform across the country, and the guidelines and strategies vary by state (EducationWeek). Some states have implemented thresholds that must be met for in-person learning to resume, while others have left the re-opening decisions to local school districts.

EdTec supports charter schools across seven states. Although re-opening looks different everywhere, there is a common theme amongst our school partners of continuing learning in a safe, fun, and engaging way for all students. Read on for a few highlights of all the great work happening in classrooms across the country.

California

Before re-opening, schools in California must first meet critical thresholds in health metrics. The California Department of Education launched the California Safe Schools for All Hub to consolidate key resources and provide support and guidance for reopening. continues to update reopening guidance. For parents and students who are not comfortable returning to the classroom for in-person instruction, distance learning is still an option. Check out how our school partners are adapting:

Heartwood Charter School – Schools tours are back! Heartwood Charter School is now offering limited in-person on-campus school tours for prospective families.

The Academies – The Academies Charter Management Organization has welcomed students back on campus and is prioritizing safety and learning in the classroom.

Sunrise Middle School – Sunrise Middle School is now offering their after-school program for 5th and 6th graders with fun activities such as gardening, cooking, art, and sports!

Para Los Niños – Virtual events are still bound to draw a much larger crowd and are more accessible for families, so Para Los Niños plans to host a big virtual party to celebrate the accomplishments and perseverance shown over this incredibly difficult year!

High Tech LA – A picture is worth a thousand words! The seniors at High Tech LA were welcomed back to campus for their senior portraits. They also received their senior sweatshirts and swag.

Grimmway Academy – The Grimmway Academy students celebrated their return with fun activities as a part of their EGG-stravaganza!

Everest Value – The staff at Everest Value School are excited to see students in the classroom again as they transition from distance learning to a hybrid model in the upcoming weeks.

East Bay Innovation – The students at East Bay Innovation came back to campus a little taller and with new haircuts! The administration at East Bay Innovation welcomed students with fun, collaborative, in-person activities.

Aspire – Aspire is providing critical support by offering in-person instruction for their most vulnerable students.

Georgia

The Georgia Department of Education, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health, has developed guidance to support districts and communities in determining their plans and strategies for reopening schools. Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools provides considerations, recommendations, and best practices for reopening, and is designed to help districts prioritize the health and safety of students and teachers. This guidance is not mandated, or state required. Local school districts have the authority and flexibility to meet their individual needs and be responsive to their communities. See how our school partner in Georgia is tackling re-opening:

Ethos Classical – Our school partner, Ethos Classical Charter School, is currently operating with their scholars onsite or on a virtual basis based on family choice.

Louisiana

Individual school districts can decide when to re-open for in-person learning, although the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted minimum health and safety standards for reopening. The Louisiana Department of Education put together a resource guide that includes health guidelines, best practices for reopening, templates, and a reopening checklist.

Élan Academy – Teachers are essential workers! The teachers are more appreciated than ever for their hard work throughout the pandemic. They have shown up for their scholars and are being vaccinated for a safe return to the classroom.

Nevada

In February, Governor Sisolak signed an emergency directive to ensure all students had safe and equitable access to in-person learning, whether full- or part time. The Nevada Department of Education also requires schools to develop distance learning plans.

Nevada Rise – Effective April 5, Nevada Rise began operating with a hybrid model, offering both in-person and online instruction. School leadership prepared a helpful FAQ sheet for parents to help families prepare for the transition. Staff was excited to welcome students back to campus with signs and balloon!

New Mexico

The New Mexico Public Education Department’s Reentry Guidance provides requirements, recommendations, and best practices for reopening. Local district and charter school leaders have the authority to decide to keep schools closed. Discover how our school partners are re-opening:

Solare Collegiate – With scholars back on-campus, Solare Collegiate is prioritizing safety and learning in the classroom while making learning fun and engaging for all students. For example, they hosted a cooking activity where students could participate either in-person or online.

Altura Prep – Altura Prep is taking advantage of being back in person as an opportunity to live up to their core values and give back to the community!

New York

In New York, all K-12 schools can remain open for in-person learning as long as the in-school positivity rate is lower than 9%. The decisions to open or close schools are made by local school district officials. The New York State Department of Education has published extensive school reopening resources to help guide schools as they plan for a return, including requirements and best practices. See how our school partners in New York are embracing re-opening:

Creo College Prep – The teachers at Creo College Prep are introducing mindfulness into the classroom through yoga practices!

Valence College Prep – The show must go on! Although in-person learning has resumed, Valence College Prep continues to offer a balance of in-person and virtual events. The students kept the performing arts alive from a distance by hosting a virtual musical performance.

Brooklyn RISE – Brooklyn RISE is bringing the school spirit back to campus! What better way to celebrate the return to in-person learning than a spring spirit week.

Tennessee

In Tennessee, school districts can decide whether to open school buildings based on guidance from the Tennessee Department of Education to assess the risk if it is safe to re-open. Our school partners in Tennessee have embraced a mix of in-person and hybrid instruction:

Grizzlies Prep – The students at Grizzlies Prep are back in the classroom, with school administrators emphasizing safety and learning.

Memphis Merit – Who doesn’t love a friendly competition? To celebrate being back on-campus, Memphis Merit hosted a Teachers vs. Scholars basketball game!

Rocketship – Rocketship has also resumed in-person learning, with their schools in Tennessee fully transitioned back into the classroom.

STRIVE Collegiate – STRIVE Collegiate is now embracing a hybrid model in which a percentage of students will remain virtual, and another percentage will return in person. They are also offering an in-person physical education program to give their students a physical outlet to excel in life.

Susie King Taylor Community School – The first-grade class at Susie King Taylor Charter School kicked off the spring with a fun science and engineering project that asked, Can your Peep float on your boat?


As some form of normalcy returns to our school communities, re-opening strategies must follow applicable guidelines to ensure a safe and successful learning experience for all students. How is your school handling reopening? What has been the biggest challenge? Is there something that worked well for your school community that you would like to share with other schools? Let us know in the comments!

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