Virtual School Meanderings

October 17, 2020

REL Webinar: Re-thinking Education Accountability Systems in Light of COVID-19

I suspect that this will be an interesting webinar.

 Institute of Education Sciences

REL Webinar: Re-thinking Education Accountability Systems in Light of COVID-19

Join REL Mid-Atlantic for a free webinar that will discuss critical questions about how to refine accountability system measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Presenters will discuss:

  • The impacts of COVID-19 on accountability measures, including what can and cannot be measured, what measures will have to be reworked, and possible limitations of measures
  • State views on making decisions about their accountability systems in the upcoming school year
  • Their own perspectives on using accountability systems more broadly for long-term planning

Presenters will include representatives from Bellwether Education Partners, Maryland State Department of Education, and District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

Submit your questions for the presenters in advance by emailing RELmidatlantic@mathematica-mpr.com. You can also ask questions during the webinar.

Re-thinking Education Accountability Systems in Light of COVID-19
October 29, 2020
1:30–2:30 p.m. ET
Register here

*****

The Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) build the capacity of educators to use data and research to improve student outcomes. Each REL responds to needs identified in its region and makes learning opportunities and other resources available to educators throughout the United States. The REL program is a part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education. To receive regular updates on REL work, including events and reports, follow IES on Facebook and Twitter. To provide feedback on this or other REL work, email Contact.IES@ed.gov.

The Institute of Education Sciences, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the nation’s leading source for rigorous, independent education research, evaluation and statistics.
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October 9, 2020

REL Webinar: Re-thinking Education Accountability Systems in Light of COVID-19

This webinar may be of interest to readers.

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REL Mid-Atlantic Banner
REL Webinar: Re-thinking Education Accountability Systems in Light of COVID-19
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Register for the webinar button
Join REL Mid-Atlantic for a free webinar that will discuss critical questions about how to refine accountability system measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Presenters will discuss (1) the impacts of COVID-19 on accountability measures, including what can and cannot be measured, what measures will have to reworked, and possible limitations of measures; (2) states’ views on making decisions about their accountability systems in the upcoming school year; and (3) their own perspectives on using accountability systems more broadly for long-term planning.

Our presenters include the following:

  • Brian Gill, REL Mid-Atlantic
  • Chad Aldeman, Bellwether Education Partners
  • Chandra Haislet, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Donna Johnson, Office of the State Superintendent of Education, District of Columbia

Submit your questions for the presenters in advance by emailing RELmidatlantic@mathematica-mpr.com. You can also ask questions during the webinar.

Re-thinking Education Accountability Systems in Light of COVID-19
October 29, 2020
1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET

Register for the webinar button

Click here to tweet about @RELMidAtlantic
This work was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) under contract ED-IES-17-C-0006, with REL Mid-Atlantic, administered by Mathematica. The content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

September 9, 2020

Updates From The Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic

Several useful remote learning items in this REL newsletter.

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REL Mid-Atlantic: Newsletter
From the Director | Reopening Schools | Coronavirus Impact | Promising Practices | Governing Board  |  Predicting Academic Risks  |  New and Improved

Latest News from the Director

The last school year ended with school buildings closed across the region and around the country. The new one has begun with widely varying approaches in different schools and communities as well as enormous uncertainty about how long some school buildings will remain closed and how long others can remain open as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. With infection rates fluctuating and scientific knowledge evolving rapidly, REL staff spent much of the summer trying to provide evidence-based support to educators and policymakers. As you’ll see in the items below, we’ve identified promising practices for remote learning, offered a tool to help educators learn what works in their own schools, addressed the implications of trauma from the pandemic, and produced the nation’s first quantitative comparison of the likely relative effectiveness of different reopening approaches for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. We hope this work is helpful to you in planning for what is sure to be a very unusual and challenging 2020–2021 school year.

Brian Gill, Director
REL Mid-Atlantic

Reopening Schools While Mitigating COVID-19’s Spread: How Many Days Should Students Attend?

Like other state education agencies, the Pennsylvania Department of Education needed to determine an approach to reopening schools in the fall that mitigates the spread of COVID-19 infections. REL Mid-Atlantic provided research support to the department based on emerging evidence on COVID-19 in children, research on remote-learning strategies, and a computational model that predicted the potential spread of COVID-19 under in-person, remote, and hybrid models of instruction. In this blog post, REL Director Brian Gill offers policymakers and educators advice on addressing the challenge. A webinar recording, tailored for school district and state-level educators and community partners, shares the lessons we learned from this rapid-turnaround project. Presenters explain the project’s findings and the ways that Pennsylvania used the findings to inform its guidance to schools.
Presenters include the following:

Brian Gill, REL Mid-Atlantic
Ravi Goyal, REL Mid-Atlantic
Jacob Hartog, REL Mid-Atlantic
Danielle DeLisle, REL Mid-Atlantic
Adam Schott, special assistant to the secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education

Check out the infographic showing that dividing students into smaller groups, with part-time in-person attendance and precautions for those attending, is likely to slow infection spread the most. And read frequently asked questions about reopening schools.

Trauma-Informed Strategies Can Address the Unprecedented Impact of Coronavirus on School Communities

With the 2019–2020 school year in the rearview mirror, school leaders and staff are shifting their attention from crisis response to crisis recovery. For the most vulnerable students, such as those experiencing chronic homelessness and food insecurity, the pandemic might have taken a considerable social and emotional toll. Read this blog and fact sheet for ideas on supporting students and staff who return to school in the fall bearing the weight of trauma, which can adversely affect teaching and learning.

Promising Practices to Enhance Remote Learning

When schools are forced to shutter their doors, educators need effective remote learning strategies. Check out these newly released infographics and fact sheets to understand promising practices in remote learning—and identify what is or isn’t working in your own schools.

Be sure to take a look at the REL COVID-19 website to find webinars and other resources from all 10 RELs to support distance learning.

Photo of parent helping child with writingTips for Supporting Elementary Writing Skills at Home

This practical guide offers families and caregivers three main suggestions, as well as supporting exercises, to help young children build their writing skills at home. It is based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse.

Going the Distance: Online Strategies for Students with Disabilities

One-fifth of our nation’s school-age learners are children with disabilities. The shift to remote learning has caused educators to search for new ways to support these students. Read this new blog post for tips on how to choose the tools that will work for this group of students.

Kevin Dehmer Joins the Governing Board

Photo of Kevin DehmerWe are proud to announce that Kevin Dehmer, interim commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Education, has joined the REL Governing Board. Dehmer also serves as the chief financial officer and assistant commissioner for the Division of Finance at the New Jersey Department of Education.

Using Data from Schools and Child Welfare Agencies to Predict Near-Term Academic Risks

REL Mid-Atlantic partnered with Pittsburgh Public SchoolsPropel Schools (a charter school network), and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services to explore whether using data from child welfare agencies and schools could help educators and administrators better predict which students are at risk of not achieving educational milestones in the near-term (i.e., next term or school year, depending on the outcome) more than using school data alone. In this new reportblog, and fact sheet, the study team highlights key findings, including the following:

  • School data are the strongest predictors of near-term academic problems across all outcomes.
  • Predictive performance remains strong when models rely exclusively on school data.
  • Some out-of-school events, such as child welfare involvement and emergency homeless services, strongly correlate with near-term academic problems.
  • While information on out-of-school events does not add much power to predictive models, it may help educators understand some of the underlying challenges faced by students in their home lives.

New and Improved

We’re pleased to share new and improved navigation for the Our Work section of the website—check it out and let us know your thoughts!

We’ve also worked with our colleagues at the nine other RELs across the country to gather resources on recruiting and retaining teachers: check out the teacher recruitment resources here and the teacher retention resources here. To make it easy to find relevant resources, we’ve organized the information for states, districts, and teacher preparation programs.

Please reach out to us at RELmidatlantic@mathematica-mpr.com anytime to share your ideas about important research and analytic issues we can help you address.

Please reach out anytime at RELmidatlantic@mathematica-mpr.com to share your ideas about important issues the REL Mid-Atlantic could address, request free technical assistance, or ask questions about how we can help you in your work.
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This work was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) under contract ED-IES-17-C-0006, with REL Mid-Atlantic, administered by Mathematica.  The content of the newsletter does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

September 3, 2020

Three Steps For Using Culturally Responsive Practices To Support Equity During Remote Learning

An important topic and resource that I wish I could have posted earlier in the day.

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This blog post, the third and final post in a series examining equity and culturally responsive practices in light of COVID-19, is part of a collaboration between REL Mid-Atlantic and REL Pacific. The first post provided an overview of using culturally responsive practices in online learning. The second post described strategies for building collaborative relationships with students and their families and ways to explore social justice and community issues.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the need for remote learning have amplified concerns about deepening educational inequities for vulnerable students. To attain educational equity, schools must identify and distribute resources that individual students need to ensure they can experience a high-quality education. Achieving equity can be especially challenging when learning takes place at home, where access to technology, an instructionally focused environment, and an adult who can monitor and support learning vary.

Educators preparing for remote learning in upcoming school year should consider culturally responsive practices with an eye toward achieving educational equity. Hallmarks of these practices, highlighted in our previous posts (here and here), may prove vital to confront the challenges of these times.

Read more.

Click here to tweet about @RELMidAtlantic.

Contact Info

For more information, please contact us at RELmidatlantic@mathematica-mpr.com or visit our website.

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This work was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) under contract ED-IES-17-C-0006, with REL Mid-Atlantic, administered by Mathematica Policy Research. The content of the newsletter does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

August 15, 2020

Tools For Schools: Curated Resources For Reopening

These resources might be useful to educators right about now (well, maybe a few months ago too).

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 10 Regional Educational Laboratories released a series of evidence-based resources and guidelines about teaching and learning in a remote environment. This curated series includes infographics, blogs, webinars, videos, activities, and frequently asked questions. We hope you’ll find the following resources useful as you plan for the 2020–2021 school year:

New resources are added regularly, and you can find them all here.

Contact Info

For more information, please contact us at RELmidatlantic@mathematica-mpr.com or visit our website.

Twitter Follow Us on Twitter for Latest Updates
This work was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) under contract ED-IES-17-C-0006, with REL Mid-Atlantic, administered by Mathematica Policy Research. The content of the newsletter does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.
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