Balancing SEL and classroom basics

As we enter our third year impacted by COVID, I predict that it is going to take schools three years to fully recover. After spending a year at home, my high school students are back in the classroom, and I am thrilled to be with them.

However, even beyond academic challenges, students also need to work on the basics of being a student, such as getting to class on time and not relying on their cell phone for answers. Here’s how I see teachers, administrators, and students working together to get school back to something resembling normal.

SEL will be essential for students and teachers.…Read More

Happy habits: SEL matters more than ever

“My hope is these extra couple of days will allow everyone to take a little extra time for themselves and their families. Family is, after all, much of what Thanksgiving is all about.”

–Dr. Kelvin R. Adams, Superintendent of Schools, St. Louis Public Schools

Like St. Louis, school districts across the country opted to add an additional partial or entire week off during the holiday season/winter break to allow the students and adults to find time for and take care of themselves.…Read More

Oklahoma City Public Schools Announces TutorMe Partnership

OKLAHOMA CITY, Jan. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — TutorMe, the online tutoring solution of the future, and Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) today announced an agreement to provide more than 35,000 K-12 students with free access to TutorMe’s online 24/7 tutoring service for the 2021-2022 school year.

With more than 15,000 tutors available anytime to help with more than 300 subjects, TutorMe provides immediate expertise whenever and wherever students need it. Whether it’s homework help or a study session, students pair up with their private tutor for a personalized 1-on-1 lesson in the advanced lesson space.

“Implementing TutorMe gives our students access to a vetted education professional tutor anytime they need help, in any subject, at their fingertips,” said Neal Kellogg, director of educational technology services. “Students will easily be able to access this resource through our online learning management tool. This resource will be a game changer for OKCPS students, especially when students are working independently or in an asynchronous learning environment. OKCPS is proud to offer this high level of academic support to our students at no cost to our families and we encourage our students and families to take full advantage of what TutorMe has to offer.”…Read More

Study: Instructional Mode Played No Significant Role in COVID-19-Related Learning Loss in Indiana Public Schools in 2020-21

MUNCIE, Indiana – Students, teachers, and administrators across the country have faced unprecedented challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But researchers at Ball State University have concluded that various modes of instruction—whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid—did not play a significant role in learning loss among students in Indiana public schools during the 2020-21 school year.

What Contributed to COVID Learning Loss in Indiana’s Schools?,” a recently published study from Ball State’s  Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), utilized Indiana Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN) test scores from Spring 2019 to Spring 2021 as a measure of learning for Indiana public K-12 schools.

Testing the effects of several different contributing factors—including school size, demographics, type of school, instructional modes, and more—CBER researchers Drs. Michael Hicks and Dagney Faulk concluded that the level of poverty in a school, as measured by the share of students eligible for free and reduced lunch, was the single strongest correlate of COVID-19-related learning loss during the 2020-21 school year.…Read More

3 ways chatbots can support mental health in schools

The U.S. Surgeon General has issued an advisory warning about a mental health crisis for children. Several national health organizations have also declared a national state of emergency for child and adolescent mental health resulting from prolonged stress, instability, and isolation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is old news for most of our educators, who once again find themselves as the baseline support system we rely on to fulfill the basic needs of our nation’s youth.

“When students returned to classrooms in August this year, we saw higher levels of stress and anxiety,” said Patrick Brady, Superintendent at the Massena Central School District in New York. “Addressing mental health concerns has become a number one priority in our district.”…Read More

When it comes to learning loss, don’t reinvent the wheel

As we head towards the last half of our second school year in a pandemic, there is no doubt that the impact of learning loss has exceeded all predictions. As reported by McKinsey,  students are behind an average of four months in reading and five months in math. Unfortunately, the pandemic widened preexisting opportunity and achievement gaps, hitting historically disadvantaged students hardest. In math, students in majority black schools ended the year with six months of unfinished learning; students in low-income schools with seven.  

Helping students catch up and keep up is a challenge many schools are just starting to tackle now that they’ve navigated the logistics of teaching and learning in a (hopefully) waning pandemic.  

Unfortunately, we are already seeing the best intentions and worst habits of problem-solving work their way into resolving student learning loss. Everyone wants to do something big and sweeping to ‘fix’ the issue.  …Read More