Virtual School Meanderings

July 7, 2020

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

An item from one of the regional education laboratories.

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Schools across the country face wrenchingly difficult decisions about reopening buildings for the upcoming school year in the midst of a pandemic that has not been defeated. Even so, school buildings cannot remain closed indefinitely. The educational costs of the spring school closures have surely been large, and no one thinks that even the most successful remote-learning approaches can fully replace classroom instruction. It is in this context that the American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued guidance strongly encouraging the reopening of school buildings (without specifically addressing how many days students should be in school).

The question, then, is how to reopen school buildings without creating undue risk of a spike in COVID-19 infections. At the request of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, we spent the last month gathering information and analyzing data to inform the guidance that the department would provide to schools. We monitored emerging evidence on COVID-19 in children, examined research on remote-learning strategies, and spoke to stakeholders across the state about challenges and concerns related to reopening schools. In addition, we enlisted our colleagues in public health research to apply an agent-based computational model to predict the spread of COVID-19 in schools under various scenarios using different disease mitigation strategies. We reported our findings in depth in a lengthy memo for the Pennsylvania Department of Education that was released publicly last week; we will also discuss them in a public webinar on Monday, July 6, at 1:30pm ET (please join us!).

Read more.

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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.

July 4, 2020

This Week’s Remote Learning Resources From The REL Program

The weekly listing of regional education laboratories resources.

 Institute of Education Sciences

This Week’s Remote Learning Resources from the REL Program

In response to COVID-19, the 10 Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) have collaborated to produce a series of evidence-based resources and guidance about teaching and learning in a remote environment, as well as other considerations brought by the pandemic. See below for a roundup of upcoming REL events and featured resources on this topic. A full list of resources is available on the REL COVID-19 webpage.

Upcoming Webinars

Re-opening Schools Safely: New Evidence on Mitigating COVID-19 Spread
Monday, July 6 at 1:30–2:30 p.m. ET

REL Mid-Atlantic
This webinar will share lessons learned from a project with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide coaching and technical support on its plans for reopening schools in the fall. Presenters will discuss emerging evidence on the COVID-19 pandemic, best practices in blended and remote learning, and findings from an agent-based modeling simulation that estimated the level of COVID-19 transmission in schools under various scenarios and mitigation strategies.
Audience: school leaders, district leaders, state leaders, community partners

Supporting Children’s Reading at Home: Family Resources for Kindergarten through 3rd Grade
Thursday, July 9 at 2:00–2:45 p.m. ET

REL Southeast
This webinar will provide a virtual walk-through of the “Supporting Your Child’s Reading at Home” resources for parents and caregivers of rising kindergarten through grade 3 students. During the session, participants will learn how to use the resources with children at home.
Audience: families, caregivers

Featured Resources

Adapting Educator Professional Learning to a Virtual Environment
Webinar recording | REL Pacific
Audience: teachers, school leaders, staff development coordinators

Career Readiness: Preparing the Student
Infographic | REL Southeast
Audience: families, teachers

Reaching Teaching, and Empowering Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Blog | REL West
Audience: district leaders, state leaders

Tips from a Teacher: Supporting Early Childhood Literacy Skills in the Time of COVID-19
Blog | REL Midwest
Audience: families, caregivers

*****

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.
IES Research on Facebook IES Research on Twitter
By visiting Newsflash you may also sign up to receive information from IES and its four Centers NCESNCERNCEE, & NCSER to stay abreast of all activities within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

Going The Distance: Online Strategies For Helping Students With Disabilities

I know at least one reader that will find this interesting.

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As schools across the country physically closed this spring, educators and students shifted to online and distance learning. This swift and unexpected change forced educators to rely on different—and sometimes new—approaches to support students’ learning. Finding effective practices that advance distance learning for students with disabilities, who represent one-fifth of our nation’s school-age learners, is a critical concern.

In response, many organizations are offering resources, tools, and support to educators, parents, and students. For example, GoogleMicrosoft Education; and Educating All Learners, a coalition of national organizations committed to education equity, are reaching out to educators during this challenge. Decision makers need to know how to choose tools that will work for this group of students.

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.

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.

July 3, 2020

REL Southeast Director’s Email—July 2020

A newsletter from one of the regional education laboratories.

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REL Southeast

Director’s Email

July 2020

This Director’s email comes at a difficult time for our nation, our states, and our schools. Some challenges are new, such as the novel coronavirus pandemic that completely disrupted the end of the school year and continues to disrupt plans for the next school year. Some challenges have plagued our nation for many years, such as the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black Americans. Like you, we are adjusting to this new normal while also recognizing how far we have yet to go. Still, I continue to believe in the potential for education to be a positive force for change. We know the importance of education to every indicator of individual and community prosperity and overall quality of life. Therefore, we strive to support districts and states in our region to create schools that breed change. Our schools can be a place where our children become citizens who learn from, empathize with, and support others who appear different from themselves. Our schools can also provide our children with the educational, cultural, social, and civic foundations for active participation in our citizenry. In doing so, our schools can offer so much to eliminate racism and bias and help our nation heal. I know that these things do not happen on their own.  We must all join together in this effort to push us all forward. At the REL Southeast, we stand ready to support our region in any way we can to face the daunting work ahead.
Dr. John Hughes
Director, REL Southeast

Product Spotlight


A mother reading with her daughterSupporting Your Child’s Reading at Home

These videos and activities provide families with information about how to support children as they practice foundational reading skills at home. Materials are available for kindergarten through grade 3.

Explore the resources here.

Upcoming Event


Supporting Children’s Reading at Home – Family Resources for Kindergarten through 3rd Grade

Participants of this virtual event will receive an overview of the components of the Supporting Your Child’s Reading at Home resources,  and a virtual walk-through of the website. These resources, for children in kindergarten through 3rd grade, are drawn from research on best practices for helping children learn to read. Participants will learn how to use these research-based resources with their children at home and will be given the opportunity to ask questions.

Register for the event here.

Product Spotlight


Career Readiness: Preparing the Student

This infographic presents two practices from the REL Southeast infographic, Preparing a Career Ready Student, that focus on how parents and educators can help with preparing the student for careers.

View the infographic here.

Product Spotlight


Preventing Summer Learning Loss

This infographic presents several areas that should be considered when planning summer learning opportunities. It also also points readers towards REL products that may be used to help guide planning and implementation of summer learning programs and academic interventions.

View the infographic here.

Ask A REL

Ask A REL is a collaborative reference desk service provided by the 10 regional educational laboratories (REL) that by design, functions much in the same way as a technical reference library. It provides references, referrals, and brief responses in the form of citations on research-based education questions.

To submit your question to Ask A REL, click here. Explore Ask A REL responses here.

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July 1, 2020

REL Webinar: Re-Opening Schools Safely – New Evidence On Mitigating COVID-19 Spread

This up-coming webinar may be of interest to you.

 Institute of Education Sciences

REL Webinar: Re-opening Schools Safely – New Evidence on Mitigating COVID-19 Spread

Join REL Mid-Atlantic for a webinar that will discuss considerations for re-opening schools safely. This webinar will share lessons learned from a recent study conducted in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to inform their guidance for reopening schools in the fall. Presenters will discuss—

  • Emerging evidence on the COVID-19 pandemic and best practices in blended and remote learning
  • Findings from an agent-based modeling simulation that estimated the level of COVID-19 transmission in schools under various scenarios and mitigation strategies

The webinar is open to the public. This webinar is for school, district, and state-level educators and community partners. Submit your questions for the presenters in advance by emailing RELmidatlantic@mathematica-mpr.com. You can also ask questions during the webinar.

Re-opening Schools Safely: New Evidence on Mitigating COVID-19 Spread
July 6, 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.
IES Research on Facebook IES Research on Twitter
By visiting Newsflash you may also sign up to receive information from IES and its four Centers NCESNCERNCEE, & NCSER to stay abreast of all activities within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).
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