Whatever it takes: How this district pivoted with the pandemic

When speaking with Andrew Wallace, Director of Technology, South Portland Maine Schools, two classic marketing slogans come to mind: “Think Different” and “Just Do It.”

Whether it is getting Chromebooks and hotspots to students in need, supporting faculty in the move to remote learning, or just giving students a sense of comfort, he and his district, which includes a pre-k center, five elementary schools, two middle schools, and South Portland High School, are making up new rules as they go along in this pandemic era. Below are some highlights.

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National Dropout Prevention Center Offers Resources

School closures are traumatizing students, families, and educators, presenting a new dropout risk factor and requiring schools to develop immediate virtual solutions. The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) has produced topical videos and virtual professional development to support schools and educators during current uncertain times.

As an overview of the current school situation and its long-term effects, NDPC offers three videos suitable for viewing and subsequent online discussions for faculty. The Trauma of Pandemic School Disruption, hosted by John Gailer, developer of the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model, explores the far-reaching implications of trauma related to school disruption for students, staff, families, and the community at large. View video on YouTube. A second video, School Disruption as a Dropout Risk Factor, hosted by Dr. Sandy Addis, Director of National Dropout Prevention Center, discusses the short- and long-term effects of school disruption on the nation’s dropout rates. View video on YouTube. A third video, Virtual Learning in a Time of School Disruption, hosted by Ray McNulty, President of Successful Practices Network and National Dropout Prevention Center, explores the advantages of capitalizing on virtual learning. View video on YouTube. As a supplement, each host is available for online discussions regarding his topic and for follow up interviews.

Additional offerings from NDPC include on-line courses that can deliver high-impact virtual professional development to educators who must work remotely during extended school shut down periods. Courses include five online courses in the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model, one course for each step of the model. Each of the three-hour interactive virtual courses addresses a component of chronic stress and trauma. Together, the five courses prepare an educator to implement trauma-skilled measures and to support other educators in their work with trauma-impacted students.…Read More

Ensuring accessible content for all students

This summer, many faculty will work on developing or revising curricular content for their courses. One of the keys in developing new digital materials is verifying that those materials offer accessible content for all students.

Today, most learning management systems (LMS) and software programs offer some level of accessibility compliance checking. However, they are not always thorough or error-free.

Related Content: 5 steps to ensure accessibility…Read More

9 top YouTube channels to boost classroom lessons

Video can be a powerful tool for classroom learning, and it’s safe to say that teachers have never had more videos at their fingertips than they do today.

But with so many videos on YouTube, how do you find the good stuff? You know, those perfect, one-of-a-kind, just-right-for-your-lesson videos—the ones that make you think, “Oh, my students have to see this!”

The best YouTube videos for the classroom are the ones that teach or—better yet—show something you can’t otherwise do in your classroom. Videos that are more than flashy attempts to spice up a chapter from a textbook. Videos that go beyond zany talking heads doling out CliffsNotes for the digital age. Classroom-worthy videos on YouTube shouldn’t be replacements for your lessons; they should be additions to the awesome lessons you already teach.…Read More

OneRoster – Securely share roster, course, and enrollment information between systems

OneRoster is a data standard for securely sharing roster, course, and enrollment information between systems, and is already seeing broad adoption across the ecosystem. With the release of v1.1, districts can import data faster, add start and end dates, associate students with digital course materials, and synchronize grades.

Watch the short video demo and see how quick and easy it is to synchronize data and identify and fix errors using OneRoster v1.1 in Kimono.…Read More