Equitably Reopening Schools

Sarah Johnson

Last week, as part of our Learn with Teaching Lab Discussion Series, we hosted a conversation between Sarah Johnson (CEO of Teaching Lab) and Dr. Jawan Brown-Alexander (Chief of Schools at New Schools for New Orleans) about how we can support the Whole Educator on behalf of the Whole Child, as we equitably reopen schools.

We must acknowledge that when we held this discussion we were, and are still, experiencing the grief and anger brought on by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and so many before them. We are also still dealing with a devastating pandemic that disproportionately impacts Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, and extended school closures that are exposing the already-existing systemic racism in our healthcare and educational systems.

It is with this context that we focused our discussion on principles to consider in order to equitably reopen schools. The discussion focused on the following questions:

  • What is our vision for supporting all students to engage in grade-level work when millions of students return to school in the fall after being out of school for months?*
  • What are the concrete systems and structures school systems should put into place to ensure all students continue to learn with an aligned high-quality curriculum?*
  • What specific professional learning supports do teachers need to engage in effective, manageable, and equitable instruction?*

To ground our conversation, Teaching Lab presented our Framework to Equitably Reopen Schools. We are using the following principles to support our partners in meeting the holistic needs of students, educators and communities. Below, we have listed the framework principles along with useful resources and tools.

Did you miss the Discussion? Watch the recording here.

Framework to Equitably Reopen Schools

Vision for Recovery:

  • Educators stop and reverse the continuation of student inequities.
  • Students continue to learn amidst crisis and uncertainty so they get or stay on track to graduate college- and career-ready and to pursue their dreams.
  • Students, families and educators are listened to and treated with humanity as we collectively handle, heal from, and emerge through crisis.

I. Center equitable instruction while planning for multiple reopening-school scenarios.

II. Listen to students, families/caregivers, and educators and develop plans that are informed by and responsive to them.

III. Assume all students can and will learn when educators use high-quality instructional materials, take an asset-based approach, and engage in targeted support for diverse learners (including English learners, students with disabilities, and students with unfinished learning).

IV. Invest in high-impact and ongoing teacher professional learning, focused on Head, Heart, Habits, and Equity.

  • Contact us here to learn more about Teaching Lab’s high-impact, ongoing, and equity-centered Teacher Professional Learning.

VI. Attend to the social and emotional well-being of students, families/caregivers, and educators.

VII. Assess students using short-cycle assessments that assist teachers in taking clear and in-the-moment actions to support student learning.

Did you miss the Discussion? Watch the recording here.

June 15, 2020

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