Posted May 7, 2020
Written by Arun Ramanathan, CEO, Pivot Learning, featured in EdSource
Since schools were closed two months ago to curb the spread of the coronavirus, changes have come so fast it has been difficult to get our bearings. But as the educational picture has come into focus, it is clear that students are losing critical months of learning. The students who can least afford to lose that learning — English Learners, foster youth and students with disabilities — are taking the biggest hits. Addressing this situation will take state leadership.
The planning should begin with recognizing the limits of virtual learning. Overburdened parents are thankful for anything that engages their children, but ensuring availability of internet access and devices are the just the first steps. Every other element is dependent on the capacity of teachers, students and parents.
Distance learning is difficult enough for middle-class parents in a single-family home, but it is far more difficult for low-income families in smaller residences — not to mention homeless families. For students with disabilities such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism, the situation may be untenable educationally and emotionally. Nor can we expect non-English speaking parents to teach their children English. The longer we stay in this situation, the more we will deepen the structural and racial inequities in our education system. READ MORE
Posted April 29, 2020
Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) in Watsonville, CA wasted no time. In early January as concerns about COVID-19 were just beginning to surface in the United States, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Rodriguez moved quickly to implement a distance learning plan for the district in order to minimize the learning loss that would be unavoidable once California’s Shelter in Place order went into effect.
First, Dr. Rodriguez wanted to ensure all students had access to online distance learning. By getting Chromebooks and hotspots into the hands of her students, this goal was readily achieved. But given the diverse population of the district — 66% English learners, 81% in poverty, 14% special education, 16% without permanent housing, and 10% migrant — having the right hardware and software was not enough. Dr. Rodriguez created a robust tech support network for parents and teachers to turn to for help getting online, using applications, and accessing the other remote learning tools being offered by the district. READ MORE
Posted April 16, 2020
by Linda Diamond, President, CORE and author ofTeaching Reading Sourcebook and Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures
Originally published in AASA’s The School Administrator, April 2006 Number 4, Vol. 63
Middle schools and high schools across the country face a literacy crisis of monumental proportions. Whether they are students from households where English is a second language or learning-disabled students mainstreamed into difficult classes, struggling readers demonstrate lower achievement in all academic subjects. While many poor readers have developed coping strategies, they rarely improve their academic performance or test scores.
Secondary schools are ill-equipped to help these students become better readers. And with a more diverse student population entering middle and high school than ever before, the challenge of educating under-prepared readers will only increase. Whether the problem stems from societal change, the use of instructional reading practices in elementary school lacking research support or some combination of factors, these struggling readers deserve to learn. And they can’t learn if they can’t read. Understandably, secondary school students who are reading below grade level often are unmotivated and turned off to reading. Many of them are the same students who were poor readers in 3rd grade — about 75 percent of students with reading problems in 3rd grade will still have them when they get to high school, according to Sally Shaywitz, professor of pediatrics and child study at Yale University School of Medicine. In fact, research shows that the gap between good and poor readers actually widens in later grades. READ MORE
Posted April 9, 2020
by Nancy McGivney, Senior Educational Services Specialist, CORE
Here we are confined at home with our little darlings wanting attention while we want to keep their learning happening. One of the best ways to be close to our children and further their learning is through Read Alouds. A Read Aloud is exactly what it says: read a book aloud to your children. As a number wonk, I’m inclined to choose kids’ books with math in them. Here are five of my favorites that come highly recommended based on ample experiences with my granddaughters. READ MORE
Posted March 30, 2020
by Linda Diamond, President, CORE and author of Teaching Reading Sourcebook and Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures
Ann Leon, CORE consultant specialist in Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics and Sight words (SIPPS) reading foundational skills program, could not leave Pajaro Valley Unified School District’s primary grade teachers and children without resources. Even when she was to leave and the schools were closing, Ann worked tirelessly with the district personnel to ensure that resources would be available for teachers to be able to continue teaching their children the SIPPS lessons remotely in small groups. She continues this support remotely today. Together, with Pajaro’s Lynda Pate, they created folders online to make accessing the SIPPS word lists easy, and they reviewed where materials for teaching the SIPPS lessons resided online. Even more important, they created packets for children to pick up when they came to the designated location to pick up their free meals. READ MORE