The US Department of Education today released a "Return to School Roadmap" that recommends schools adhere to CDC guidance that requires universal masking in K-12 schools. The road map sets certain priorities for schools, including health and safety; supporting students' social, emotional and mental health; and accelerating academic achievement.
School leaders can help ensure students enjoy school and feel a sense of belonging by building a culture of identity inclusion, educational consultant Becki Cohn-Vargas writes in this commentary. Strategies such as avoiding stereotypes in school activities and fostering respect and safety can help boost student achievement and help students heal from the difficulties of the pandemic, Cohn-Vargas writes.
Catholic schools in Rochester, N.Y., are preparing to welcome students back for the next school year and are reflecting on some of the challenges and accomplishments of last year. Data shows that enrollment and achievement have increased at many diocesan schools, and educators say they plan to remain flexible to meet any challenges that come in the 2021-22 school year.
David Vroonland, superintendent of the Mesquite Independent School District in Texas, in this opinion piece reflects on the many lessons in leadership learned so far during the coronavirus pandemic. Among them, Vroonland writes, is not to panic, err toward overcommunicating and to "remain confident but flexible."
Certain leadership mistakes can lead some employees to quit, damaging morale for an entire team, says Jon Christiansen, founder at Insights & Outcomes and principal at Sparks Research. The most successful leaders will ensure, for example, that they aren't relaying inconsistent expectations, they aren't wasting colleagues' time and team members don't feel powerless or micromanaged, Christiansen suggests.
Carefully analyzing data can help school leaders dial down the crisis-oriented, quick-decision atmosphere of the pandemic, Kennedy Schultz, founder of KMS Intercultural Education, writes. Schultz outlines data-oriented strategies, reflections and solutions related to management, teacher planning and professional development.
School districts must apply by Aug. 13 for a share of the federal $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund, and Trevor Dodson, technology services director of the Vancouver, Wash., school district, explains the district's approach. The district plans to put the funding toward purchasing new, more powerful laptops aimed at improving achievement for students in six through 12th grades, Dodson says.
The Archdiocese of Chicago has appointed Greg Richmond as superintendent of Catholic schools. Richmond, a charter executive, former Chicago public schools official and a Catholic-school parent, replaces Jim Rigg.
Mary Ellen Wagner, who recently retired as principal of St. Rita School in Webster, N.Y., says looking back on her more than four decades in Catholic education, she recalls "the happiness that it has brought me to bring that faith component to others." Wagner says she has long been inspired by the commitment of her faculty and staff to the mission of Catholic schools.
Dedicated buses, car seats, child care and emotional support help along a path to graduation for 140 sixth- through 12th-grade students at Lincoln Park School in Brownsville, Texas, who are pregnant or young mothers. In this interview, Principal Dawn Hall explains how the school provides stability the students often don't have at home and how the school has managed the program during the pandemic.
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