Remote Learning: Administrator Strategies
Post in News by NinaSclafani on 28th April 2020
With schools making the choice to continue distance learning through the end of the school year, Teq’s Chief Learning Officer and former Superintendent, Robert Wayne Harris, and Teq’s Director of eLearning, Joseph Sanfilippo have been sharing their top strategies and tips to keep your teachers and students thriving during this time.
Identify a Team of School District Stakeholders
As an administrator, the decisions you make impact everyone in your district. But it’s nearly impossible to predict how each decision is going to impact everyone without hearing from them. For that reason, it’s vital that you round up a team to represent the voices in your district. This team of representatives should include:
- Fellow school admins
- District technology experts including the Director of IT and Director of Technology
Once you have your team of stakeholders established, discussion topics should include:
The best method of instructional delivery for your district
Do each of your students have Internet access? What kind of devices do they have in order to receive the instruction? Is your district more high-tech or should you be delivering your instruction with low-tech options such as paper packets? Ensuring everyone is on the same page will give you a realistic look at what technologies your students are ready to use at home and how you should deploy instruction materials.
What video conferencing platform you would like your educators to use?
If your students can easily access the Internet, we recommend face-to-face interactions using a video conferencing platform. But how do you determine which is best for your district?
Are you already using Microsoft 365 Education or G Suite for Education? Or are your teachers experts using the SMART Learning Suite for teacher-led instruction? Each of these education-focused solutions have their own video conferencing tools built into their platforms. If you’re uncertain where to start, try the video app that works with the platform they are most familiar with.
Whatever platform you end up choosing as a district, it is important to ensure everyone is using the same platform in order to best deploy remote learning with your students. This will minimize confusion for your students and will allow them to master the single platform even if they are meeting with multiple teachers throughout the day.
(For online PD to learn more about how to use each of these video conferencing tools, visit the Remote Learning category on OTIS.teq.com, free for all educators and admins during this time.)
Setting realistic goals and expectations
Establishing overarching goals is excellent, but it’s also important to have a check list of goals that can be achieved weekly. Task-focused goals minimize confusion, help establish routine, and create a clear path for everyone involved. Focused goals can include (but are not limited to):
- Identifying specific content you would like covered per grade and subject area
- The number of assessments you would like your students to receive from their teachers during this time of Remote Learning. You can also break it down further to include a specific number of quizzes, essays, and/or projects you would like your teachers to assign their students.
- The number of times per week you would like to communicate with staff, parents, and students.
- Determine a time/schedule when your staff should be available to meet with fellow staff, students, or parents.
Communication is Key
Once you and your stakeholders have comprised a plan, you will need to communicate that with the rest of your district. Frequent communication with your staff, students, and district parents is key to deploying a successful remote program.
The best ways to stay in contact with the people in your district include:
- Weekly Administrator Emails to parents and students offering updates on the district’s plans
- Providing your district with a website (or page on your current schools website) that offers daily updates and letters from the Superintendent and staff
- Frequent updates to your district’s social media pages that can include messages from staff that explain some of the cool things they’re doing with their students
- Encourage your teachers to frequently communicate with parents
When providing important information to the district, specifically about plans to reopen:
- Make sure the message is consistent
- Communicate early and frequently
- Provide effective, short and sweet messaging
- Be ready for questions and acknowledge each question so the people in your district know you hear them and you’re working on it
Communicating with Staff
Last, your staff needs to know what’s going on even before the parents and students. You never want to catch your team off guard. They should be a part of each decision you make in this time. They also need to know what is being communicated to parents so they’re ready to assist when the questions start rolling in.
More Tips and Resources
For more resources like this, visit the Administrator section of the OTIS for Educators online PD course library. There, you will find courses such as:
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting our schools and learning, Teq is making all of our PD courses on OTIS for educators FREE to help schools and districts implement distance learning. Sign up for a FREE Basic account!