We're in this Together: A Message from Teaching Lab with Resources for Teachers & Families

Sarah Johnson

Dear Teaching Lab Community,

During this time of crisis, I sincerely hope you, your families, and your loved ones are safe and well.

As schools and businesses have closed across the nation as a result of COVID-19, we all find ourselves living in a new normal. At Teaching Lab, we took some time to support each other so that ultimately we could better support our partners long-term. Many of us are seeking to balance work with the needs of our children and families at home. And, as we all strive for that balance, our kids’ teachers continue to work tirelessly to support them from a distance.

We honor our teachers, like my own son’s pre-k teacher, who have put in the extra time to call us personally on the phone, put together distance learning materials, and quickly learn how to use Google classroom and Zoom to support their students, despite difficult circumstances. And we honor our school support staff, who, in places like NYC and many other cities, quickly mobilized to continue providing students with free meals and technology.

In conversation with the teachers and communities we partner with, we’ve started to ask “How are you? What do you need at this time?” This is the time when relationships matter more than anything, and we continue to center our commitment to support teachers in pursuit of educational equity, realizing that while the environment and resources have changed, the need for high-quality instruction for all students, remains. We want to continue to hear and learn from you so that we can support you: if you have more you want to share, please complete our 3-minute survey.

In response to what we’re hearing, we’re acting fast to support our partners now.School leaders and teachers have reached out, seeking support on how to provide engaging and meaningful learning opportunities for their students. We understand the shift to remote learning requires reimagining how we use high-quality curricular materials in digital and virtual learning settings, and we’re supporting educators in innovative ways. For instance, partnering with educators in New York City, we are developing distance learning plans and virtual teacher professional learning using EL Education’s K-2 Labs and 3-5 Additional Language and Literacy materials (ALL Block) in their K-5 ELA curriculum to ensure elementary students still receive essential and compelling literacy instruction. These products can be used by other educators. Reach out on Twitter, Facebook, or just reply to this email to learn more!

In terms of the future, Teaching Lab is committed to supporting school systems now in planning proactively for when students return to school. Drawing on the proverb, “the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago and the second best time is now,” we believe that strong and proactive plans will ensure we take an assets-based approach to support students in dealing with trauma and learning loss due to COVID-19. By the fall, this means we will support systems in putting plans in place so the Whole Teacher can support the Whole Student. At Teaching Lab that means engaging in what we call Head, Heart, and Habits:

  • Head: equipping teachers with high-quality curriculum
  • Heart: meeting the social-emotional needs of teachers and students so they can learn
  • Habits: ensuring teachers engage in ongoing learning, particularly to meet the needs of students who may be disproportionately impacted by the crisis, including English Learners, students with disabilities, and students with unfinished learning.

Again, reach out to learn more about putting proactive instructional plans in place now.

Finally, we want to share what we think are the best resources with you. Below you’ll find our favorite current resources to support distance learning, virtual professional learning, and also parents engaged in supporting their children at this time. Our blog will regularly updated with more amazing resources.

In times of crisis, spending time in community sees us through. During a time when it is difficult to come together as a community, we must be creative. Thank you for all you do to creatively come together in community with your families, loved ones, students, and teachers. We’re in this together.

Sincerely,

Sarah Johnson, CEO, Teaching Lab

Resources for Supporting Teachers and School Communities

Resources for Supporting Students and Families

March 30, 2020

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