Whether you are writing your transition plan, preparing to return, or have already returned to in-person learning, you, like many other educational leaders, are likely facing many challenges and unknowns.
As you continue to craft and refine your plans, reflecting on the considerations below can help you more effectively build a blueprint for a successful reopening.
1. Consider what we do know.
We may not know what in-person learning will confidently look like as we reopen and transition back to the classroom. Will it be a new normal with socially-distanced parameters in place? Will it return to our ‘old’ normal? Or, will it be different in ways we never anticipated? With so much still unknown, it’s critical we root our decisions in what we do know, and what research supports and has proven. Research has proven that quality teacher-child interactions matter. And now, in a time where we are planning to return to in-person, they are even more critical. As you refine your reopening plans, ensure it focuses on what we know matters most -- high-quality interactions.
2. Consider the well-being of your staff, your children, and their families.
January was the deadliest month for the Coronavirus thus far. For almost a year, we all have been facing the stress, anxiety, and worry associated with Coronavirus and its aftermath. Many have lost jobs, family members, friends, or have felt a loss in other ways, like loss of normalcy. As you write your reopening plans, build opportunities to learn trauma-informed strategies, build opportunities for self-care, build structure to mitigate burn-out, and focus on being responsive to the well-being of those around you, and also yourself.
3. Consider the classroom environments.
For most, reopening plans include children returning to the classroom for the first time in almost a year, if not longer. As you build your plans, reflect on the classroom and how to best support your teachers in creating environments that are warm and welcoming, and support children’s social-emotional learning and development. Determine how you will ensure equitable experiences across the classrooms in your programs, and ensure that each child has an environment that maximizes their potential through high-quality interactions.
4. Consider your staff’s professional development needs.
As the landscape of education continues to evolve, the needs of your staff and professional development opportunities may continue to evolve. As you plan for the reopening, rather than be for this school year or next, think about how your organizational structure may have shifted, and the needs your staff may have as a result. In your reopening plans, includes opportunities to rebuild your workforce if needed, to invest in professional development that supports quality interactions, and to offer trainings that address the challenges your teachers may face in returning to hybrid or in-person classrooms.
5. Consider your needs as a leader.
What services, systems, and partnerships do you already have that can support the critical work of reopening and transitioning back to in-person learning? At Teachstone, we are committed to serving as your partner and helping you to navigate these unprecedented times and determine the right supports and services to best set your program up for success.
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At Teachstone, our driving vision is to ensure every child experiences life-changing teaching. This mission is why we’re making a commitment to restabilize and improve education for every child, and every educator. And, we know that bringing this commitment to life requires providing education leaders with the support they need to not only face the current challenges, but that will propel towards the future of quality and equity.
Given the context of today’s educational landscape, the global pandemic we are still fighting, and the divides our country is facing, strong leadership is essential. There is a clear need to restabilize and improve education for every child, and every educator. But, what does that mean exactly for educational leaders who are leading the way?
Nearly two years ago I joined Teachstone with a deep desire and commitment to support leaders and teachers with real-time, practical, and evidence-based strategies and solutions to address the current needs of children, families, and educators. For the 20 years prior, I led organizations working at the national, state, and local levels focused on addressing the needs of children and families, especially those living in marginalized communities. As a practitioner at heart, my passion has been translating research to practice to drive impact and positive outcomes for children. This passion brought me to Teachstone.
Since 2018, over 10,000 educators and counting have enrolled in a CDA with CLASS® program. That’s a milestone in and of itself. But when you zoom out, it means that tens of thousands of children are now cared for by these professionals. And, when you think of the number of meaningful, high-quality interactions that happen each and every day? It’s not unreasonable to think that there are a hundred thousand or more brain-building moments that happen daily because learners have enrolled in a CDA with CLASS program.