Virtual School Meanderings

April 6, 2020

K12 Inc. Commits to Education Continuity During Coronavirus Outbreak

I am often quick to criticize K12, Inc. and Pearson Education for their enrollment predatory practices and poor student performance in the K-12 online learning world.  But I also want to be able to praise them when they have earned it.  As you can see from the first item below, here is an example of K12, Inc. acting like a public school, and not a private corporation – offering up its curriculum, its online tools, and its expertise to help their fellow public school students, teachers, and leaders during this unprecedented time.

Today, a big tip of the hat to K12, Inc. – VERY WELL DONE!!!

An Update from the K12 Inc. Public Affairs Team (April 3, 2020)  View this email in your browser
K12 Inc. Commits to Education Continuity During Coronavirus Outbreak
K12 Inc. is responding to the nationwide wave of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering free online curriculum, platforms, training, and technical assistance for students, families and school districts.“The spread of COVID-19 is a global pandemic disrupting the lives and livelihoods of billions of people around the world,” said K12 CEO and Chairman Nate Davis. “With schools closing their doors – potentially for months – K12 is committed to providing the support and tools that will enable students of all ages to continue to learn and grow.”Read more here.

K12’s response to nationwide school closures, including free offerings and resources for educators and families, can be found at

Online Instruction Can (and Does) Work for Students with Disabilities
By Jeff Kwitowski

A heavy burden falls on the parents of students with disabilities, and the teachers who serve them, who are facing the sudden new reality of learning full-time from home.  It’s not easy. I know. I’m one of those parents.

But I take confidence, and others should too, knowing there are thousands of dedicated online school educators who have been doing this for years.  They are on the front lines. They understand what works. Most importantly, they have knowledge and wisdom to share and a sincere desire to help.

Read the full piece here.

Student Spotlights

  • Logan Voisin:  For Logan, a 16-year old sophomore at Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy, his online charter school has given him a sense of normalcy during the coronavirus outbreak, allowing him to continue his education without losing months of learning.
  • Julia Porter:  After undergoing seven surgeries before the age of 18, Julia is determined to pursue her dream of becoming a surgeon and is taking career readiness courses through the online charter school, Idaho Technical Career Academy.
  • Bella Lazarides:  The 8th grade student who recently enrolled in Hoosier Academy, an online charter school in Indiana, shares advice for students across the state who are trying to adapt to e-learning from home.
  • Samrah Noreen:  At 20 years old, Samrah defied the odds and graduated with a high school degree from Wisconsin Virtual Academy online charter school.  She will become the first in her family to attend college.

More student success stories can be found at

News & Commentary

FEATURE STORY:   Online Charter Schools Help Idaho Students During COVID-19 Pandemic

Monti Pittman, head of Idaho Technical Career Academy, said both his school and Idaho Virtual Academy are ready and willing to share knowledge and expertise with fellow educators in Idaho. He said there are teachers and staff that used to work in traditional schools and have made the transition to remote learning and are also standing ready to help.

“Our schools also work with a national provider, K12 Inc., that is giving free content to families, curriculum, platform, services, and teacher training to school districts in need,” Pittman tells KMVT, in addition to hosting webinars and lessons from K-12 educators, he said.

Copyright © 2020 K12 Inc., All rights reserved.

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April 5, 2020

We’re Open For Online Learning!

Another item from my Kiwi readers.

Check out our range of online webinars and programmes
Tēnā koe Michael

At the end of week one of the official lockdown, we’re all beginning to get a taste of what our lives might be like over the next while. Each of our circumstances will be different, and some of you might be turning your attention to your own professional learning and development.

We want to let you know that CORE remains “open for learning”.

Our webinars (30-60mins) and programmes (8+ weeks) cover a range of learning areas.

Discover what’s on in Term 2 >

Upcoming webinars

Making sense of Tapasā (for Early Years)
21 April 2020
Innovation is in our DNA: engaging Māori students in Design Thinking
7 May 2020
Assessment for learning: using Seesaw (beginner)
30 April 2020
Leadership stories of strength and action
11 May 2020
Future focused schools: aligning strategies to realise positive change
5 May 2020
Ten Trends: drivers of change shaping our future
13 May 2020

Spotlight on Game Based Learning

Game based learning can take ākonga on a journey, from being consumers to being digital creators. Hear how Fiona Summerfield used game based learning with her yr8 and yr11 children in this podcast.

Switching locally-focused PLD hours

The Ministry of Education is encouraging schools, kura, and Kāhui Ako to switch already contracted, locally-focused PLD hours to support for distance learning. If you have already contracted hours to work with a CORE facilitator, and you’d like to switch the focus of your PLD, please contact your facilitator directly.

CORE Blog and resources

We’ve put resources and information to support distance learning in one place on our website. The blogs ‘Learning at home: starts with relationships’ and ‘Engaging junior learners and whānau from home‘ are a great start. We’ll be updating this web page regularly and we’ll let you know when a new blog goes up.

Contact us

Any questions? We’re happy to help.

Cassandra Brown
021 197 5399

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Your Bulletin Board/LookJED Mashup Is Here!

Note the online teaching and recorded lessons mentioned below.

Here is the Lookstein Center mailing for the week of March 30, 2020. This is a free service to the global educational community supported by Lookstein membership. Continue reading for events and opportunities, jobs, resources for educators, and thoughtful conversations in Jewish education.
The Latest from The Lookstein Center
Tips for Transitioning to Teaching Online
The current health crisis has caused schools around the world to make a rapid transition to teaching and learning online. The Lookstein Center has been helping schools around the globe incorporate digital instruction into their curriculum for more than 10 years.
See here for some resources to help you get started teaching in your online classroom, including video tips. a list of resources for asynchronous lessons, and some pre-made Pesach virtual lessons.
Watch these two sample video tips below, to learn how to create and utilize breakout rooms in Zoom.
Synchronous Quick Tip #3 - Using Breakout Rooms
Synchronous Quick Tip #4 - Breakout Room Sample Lesson
Events and Opportunities
Many Jewish organizations around the world are offering free and helpful resources, webinars, and other services to keep the Jewish spirit alive, even in a time of crisis.
  • Yair Leolam presents Project SHINE 2.0, with three separate contests that address the theme of “Finding the Good in Times of Crisis.” Each contest is open to two age groups, 6-8th and 9-12th graders. All submissions and questions should be sent to: with the name of the contest (Art, Poetry, Video) in the subject line. See here for more information.
  • The Shalom Hartman Institute is offering Hartman@Home, a series of resources, videos, and webinars, here.
  • Yesod is offering a series of online programming, including classes to prepare for Pesach, here.
  • Yad Vashem is offering a series of free online exhibits, online courses, and more here.
  • Torah Live is offering a new Pesach course, “Prophecies Revealed,” here.
  • The Jewish Federations of North America have collated resources to help Jewish educators during these trying times, including information about how to apply for a nonprofit loan to ensure that all Jewish educators can continue to be compensated. See more here.
  • Ayeka is offering free resources to help Jewish educators during this crisis. Click here for a free, downloadable haggadah. To register for the free, upcoming webinars, “Practical Pesach Seder Ideas and Suggestions in Response to Corona,” click here, and “Soulful Passover Preparation,” click here.
  • The MOFET Institute is offering the free course, “Learning, Teaching, and Curating: Situated Digital Experience in Museums.” Click here for more information and to register.
  • The USC Shoah Foundation is offering a series of free student webinars, “Mindfulness Explorations.” Click here for more information and to register.
Job Board
Click on the job title for more information.
From the Hub
Recorded Online Lessons
Started by Bin Goldman
There’s a lot of great teaching going on right now that happens to be recorded. I’d like to gather as much as I can and make it available on a website. Do you or one of your teachers have an excellent recorded lesson that you can share? PM me, please!
Parsha Discussions for the 21st Century
Classroom Discussion Idea for Tzav
It must have been a moving experience for Moshe to be personally involved in the installation of his older brother Aharon as High Priest, Kohen Gadol. Even though Aharon was God’s choice for the position, certainly one of Moshe’s great challenges was avoiding the appearance of nepotism in the appointment. When is it advisable, if ever, to appoint relatives to positions of importance or offer them profitable contracts? Do we sometimes go too far in avoiding appearance of impropriety that the most qualified individuals are overlooked? Is it wrong for a business owner to hire a less-qualified relative over another candidate simply because of the family connection?
The Lookstein Center | (646) 568-9737 |
The Lookstein Center | The Lookstein CenterBar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 5290002 Israel

April 4, 2020

We’re Here To Help

A newsletter from a US-based K-12 blended learning organization.

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Join the conversation as we partner with communities to design and implement school-based change.

In This Week’s Issue

  • New Be Education podcast episodes available
  • Let us know how we can support your district
  • RI Distance Learning Helpline update
  • The Learning Accelerator launches new “Today’s One Thing” blog series

New Episodes of the Be Education Podcast

Christina Corser and Nick DiNardo, co-hosts of the Be Education Podcast, have released 2 new episodes that we hope you’ll find relevant and helpful in the current climate. Take a listen to the releases described below:

  • Episode 49 Pandemic and the Implications on Education: Two weeks ago feels like it happened last year.  This episode marks an initial discussion around COVID-19.  We talk about the implications that this might have through the end of the school year, what this is going to do to student learning, and to administrations who are making these decisions.
  • Episode 50 The Importance of Preparation in Education: What is the importance of preparation in education, in the classroom setting? Complete with a Home Depot analogy.

Be on the lookout for The Be Education Podcast on Spotify in the near future!

We’re Here to Help

This week, our Implementation Team has hosted 8 webinars related to different use cases of Google Classroom for our partners at Providence Public Schools. We are holding weekly virtual meetups for educators within the Diocese of Providence. Our Educational Strategies Specialists have been working with teachers individually and in small groups to support their needs in virtual coaching formats. If your district is interested in learning more about how Highlander Institute can support you during critical upcoming professional development days, please contact Kara O’Connell at

RI Distance Learning Helpline Weekly Update

As week 2 of the RI Distance Learning Helpline winds down, our Fuse RI Fellow volunteers have been receiving consistently positive feedback on their support. We have added a phone line option for accessing the helpline at (904) 414-4927‬. Here’s a glimpse at some of the coaching session topics that Fellows have discussed with RI teachers so far:

  • What resources are available to support differentiated learning once students have taken a formative assessment?
  • How can I have students share their artwork and talk about it in a virtual setting?
  • I’m trying to figure out a good routine for class. I would appreciate input about what kind of balance to strike between online meetups and independent work.
  • I’m looking for support for students to help guide them through their Google Classroom on their own, and some ways to be creative about assignments.
  • What tools work best for distance learning for students with dyslexia & ADHD? How do we make these lessons truly interactive & multi-sensory?

Serving students through distance learning formats is a massive undertaking, and we are all discovering the challenges and bright spots together. We plan to keep the helpline running indefinitely as Rhode Island students, teachers, and families continues to navigate the realities of this new normal. Please reach out today if you’d like 1-on-1 support, and spread the word to the educators in your life.

From Other Organizations

“Today’s One Thing” Blog Series

Earlier this week, The Learning Accelerator launched a blog called “Today’s One Thing“, a teacher-driven series on remote learning. Through survey results, educators helped us better understand the overwhelming number of resources being tossed your way. Our team is working to weed through the massive amount of information out there to find and vet the best resources and provide them to you weekly in a bite-sized format. Every Wednesday, we’ll share concrete resources, ideas, tools, and best practices around one specific topic targeted towards helping you solve your challenges in actionable ways. Our hope is to provide you with resources that you can easily and immediately utilize to reach as many of your students as possible. This week’s post is on creating connections with students.

Highlander Institute thanks our Mission Sponsors for their generous support:

Keep Connecting Weekly News 4.3.20

A newsletter from Texas.

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Weekly News 4.3.20

A Special Message from our President-Elect, Charlene Stubblefield

Keep Connecting Message from Charlene Stubblefield

Keep Connecting Free Weekly Webinars:

Don’t miss the opportunity to connect and chat over lunchtime with our consistent group of participants as TxDLA continues its series of Keep Connecting webinars every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30am – 12:30pm, sponsored by i2i Technologies. The webinars are led by distance learning experts providing a toolbox of immediate needs to our members and the distance learning community during this time of transition. The format is very conversational, not just a talking head presentation and includes a time of Q&A from participants.

Please visit our website to see the full line-up and sign up, and to stay updated with future webinars and other available (free) resources.The recordings of past webinars are also included on this page. Live webinars are free and open to anyone. On-Demand resources are available for two weeks after the live webinar. Become a TxDLA member for $35/year to get unlimited access to all resources.

Up Next Week:
FUN is FUNdamental
Tuesday, 4.7.20, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CST
Valary Oleinik, International Speaker and Educational Consultant on Gamification and Creativity, USDLA Board of DirectorsThere are many cognitive, physical, and emotional benefits to having fun; and putting people into positive emotional states has been proven to make better learning environments. Join us for an interactive session where we will explore ways to unleash your creativity and use fun as a way of engaging learners as we move in person learning events to the virtual space. We will also cover how adopting a gameful mindset will benefit you during these particularly stressful times and beyond.

Building Your Online Courses for the Future
Thursday, 4.9.20, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CST
Steven Pace, SW Region Account Executive, TechSmith, and Jim Davis, Technical Solutions EDU
Easily expand your online course presence and create & manage effective video content to engage your online students. There is an easy to use, comprehensive, scalable video creation and management system already being used in Texas colleges that you can roll out quickly and effectively to meet your online course delivery needs. TechSmith Relay is the program we’ll be demonstrating and discussing the ease of use, accessibility, and improved student engagement for your video content.

Sign Up for Webinars

Featured Resources

Tips for Students (Submitted by Brian St. Amour, Temple College)
A Principal’s Reflections: 8 Non-Digital Remote Learning Ideas (K-12)
THECB FAQ for Higher Education Institutions on Compliance with State Rules and Reporting Requirements Impacted by COVID-19 (Higher Ed)
See All Resources

Partner Spotlight

TxDLA has had a longstanding partnership with Diamond Partner Barco and Barco’s Director of Education Sales, John Copeland. From the very first TxDLA Annual Conference, John was involved and has supported every TxDLA conference since then in some capacity. He currently serves on both the TxDLA and USDLA Board of Directors, and has been an invaluable leader to TxDLA, always willing to serve with a friendly smile.

Barco’s WeConnect Virtual Classroom solution is the ultimate solution for delivering virtual instructor led training. Lots of solutions can offer polling, questions, quizzes and breakout sessions, but no one else can offer a purpose built platform specifically for training and learning with the quality and scalability of Barco’s Virtual Classroom. Check out the recent webinar that Barco presented, or reach out to John if you would like to find out how you can use Barco’s platform.

Learn About Barco

TxDLA Partner Solutions

TxDLA thanks it Partners for submitting specific resources and special offers to our members as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the Partner Solutions section of the Keep Connecting website for regular updates.
See All Partner Solutions

U.S. Department of Education Issues Proposed Rules for Distance Learning

The U.S. Department of Education issued proposed rules for distance learning on April 1, 2020, following a months-long rulemaking process last year. The proposal seeks to give schools more flexibility for providing online programs, such as by reducing some barriers to offering competency-based education and providing latitude for measuring the credit hour. Submit comments before May 4.
Read and Comment on Proposed Rules

TxDLA Membership

If you have not renewed your 2020 TxDLA membership, please consider renewing today for only $35 to continue receiving this timely digest, unlimited webinar recordings, and to enjoy all of the benefits of TxDLA!
Join or Rejoin Today!

Meme of the Week

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