6 practical tips to help students manage post-pandemic screen use

The coronavirus pandemic presented unprecedented challenges for schools. Teaching became a juggling act. Educators were forced to navigate the never-ending stress of new local, regional, and national rules and the ongoing adaptation of their classrooms. A dizzying amount of flexibility was required. Materials, strategies, and techniques needed to reach students in-person, online, and in hybrid settings had to be adjusted on the turn of a dime.

As always, educators had to take into account different learning styles and preferences. Some students took to online learning well, but many didn’t. Teachers had to find creative ways of making school material interesting, engaging, and relevant (a task that is difficult enough during normal circumstances). 

On top of the pedagogical demands, the emotional connections that are so central to meaningful teaching and learning shifted and changed as well. Teachers had to find new ways of developing and maintaining personal relationships with their students.…Read More

Oklahoma State Department of Education Names i-Ready® a Reading Sufficiency Act K–3 State Approved Screening Instrument

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., July 14, 2021—The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OKSDE) recently named Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready as a Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA) K–3 State Approved Screening Instrument. With this approval, schools across the state can start using the award-winning Diagnostic in the 2022–2023 school year to screen students’ reading skills and receive actionable criterion-referenced and normative data to deliver impactful student instruction. Today, the award-winning i-Ready program serves more than nine million students and 25 percent of all K–8 students in the United States.

“Establishing a strong reading foundation at an early age is so important for students’ ongoing success,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “With this approval of i-Ready, we look forward to supporting educators in Oklahoma by providing the tools needed to help them understand exactly where their students are with their reading so they can target their instruction accordingly.”

As detailed in the RSA, each student enrolled in Grades K–3 in a public school in Oklahoma will be screened at the beginning, middle, and end of each school year for grade-level-specific reading skills, as identified in the subject-matter standards adopted by the OKSDE. Schools must use a State Board–approved instrument for this screening.…Read More

CASEL Releases Recommendations for SEL Investments with American Rescue Plan (ARP) Dollars

CHICAGO, IL – The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 represents a $123 billion infusion in K-12 education, including support for social and emotional learning (SEL). To assist leaders and policymakers in this opportunity, CASEL has released a new policy brief, The Three Highest Priority Investments to Make in SEL with American Rescue Plan Dollars. Originally developed for the Recovery to Reinvention series led by PIE Network and Bellwether Education Partners, the brief includes specific guidance for district leaders, local policymakers, and state policymakers.

Decades of research have demonstrated the effectiveness of SEL for supporting students’ academics, behaviors, mental health, and long-term success. The ARP’s historic levels of K-12 dollars offer a critical opportunity to invest a long-term foundation for evidence-based, systemic implementation of SEL that fully supports students and schools through the pandemic and beyond. Investments in SEL align to the ARP expenditure guidelines, and policymakers can help optimize resources by ensuring investments are evidence-based, sustainable, and responsive to the needs of all students, including those in historically marginalized communities. 

There are three key areas where investments of ARP dollars could most effectively bolster systemic implementation of SEL: …Read More

4 ways our district finds educational opportunities during the pandemic

The pandemic has created plenty of seemingly insurmountable challenges, but it has also presented amazing opportunities for school districts. Maybe the opportunity is the chance (or the necessity!) to try new tools that may have been too risky or training-intensive in more normal times. Maybe it’s an attitude of goodwill and mutual aid that strengthens relationships among district stakeholders. Maybe it’s a big injection of funding from the CARES Act that will let you make long-needed purchases or investments in your district that previously felt out of reach.

Whatever the case, the post-COVID world is going to be different. The good news is that the world to come, especially in your own school district, has not been determined yet, and we have the opportunity to put our stamp on it before it ever arrives.

Here’s how we’ve been taking advantage of opportunities at Marion County School District to keep students on track as much as possible throughout the pandemic, along with a few ideas about how we’ll do things differently in the post-COVID world.…Read More