April 8, 2020
What's New at NCTR?

Reminder to NCTR Partners
Please complete the short survey from NCTR regarding COVID-19 challenges. Partners received an email this week with the survey link and a summary of other support and resources NCTR is making available, including:
  • Survey of shifts and strategies residencies are employing to address current and anticipated challenges;
  • One on one coaching calls;
  • Upcoming webinars to connect partners around COVID-19 programming changes, planning for sustainability in the current environment, enacting a high-quality residency experience virtually, best practices in virtual hiring, and more;
  • Peer-to-peer support and thought partnership; and, 
  • Teacher Preparation Portal curated resource library.

Michael Hines, Stanford University Graduate School of Education assistant professor (and spouse of NCTR’s Network Director Erica Hines), writes in The Washington Post this week about circumstances that took place 100 years ago, but that are echoed in today’s COVID-19 crisis response from schools.  The article “tells the story of what happened in 1937 when the public schools in Chicago closed for three weeks, delaying the start of the school year, because of fears about the spread of polio, which caused epidemics over several decades.”
Partner Updates

ECS State Policy Database
Education Commission of the States is tracking and organizing state action on topics related to COVID-19 in one place.  Bookmark this page and check back as ECS is updating the site regularly.  

Employer Paid Sick Leave
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) took effect April 1 and lasts through December 31, 2020. This law provides paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave for employees who are unable to work or telework for specified reasons related to COVID-19. FFCRA applies to most employers with 500 employees or less, although certain employers with less than 50 employees may be eligible for certain exemptions.  The Department of Labor provided a notice for employers, and also has a helpful Q&A on their website for both employers and employees affected by the law.
Resources and Connections

Three More #QualityEdChat Opportunities This Week
The Center for American Progress’ K-12 Education Policy Team have led #QualityEdChat discussions on Twitter at noon EDT each day this week, and three more opportunities remain for NCTR partners to weigh in on strategies highlighted in CAP’s 2019 A Quality Education for Every Child report:
  • Wednesday, 4/8: Modernizing and elevating the teaching profession 
  • Thursday, 4/9: Increasing investment in public education 
  • Friday, 4/10: A balanced approach to charter school policy 
To weigh in on these topics, use the #QualityEdChat hashtag when you tweet. You can also review Monday and Tuesday’s chats (on racial equity in education policy and preparing students for the future workforce, respectively) by searching that same hashtag.
DEI Webinar Next Week
Monday, April 13, 1pm EDT, The Raben Group’s Beyond Diversity Strategies Team hosts a live stream webinar “Doubling Down on DEI: Looking at DEI Strategies & Self-Care in Uncertain Times” on why it is the right time for organizations to redouble their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work. Raben Principals Kerryn Agyekum, who has 20 years of experience as a diversity & inclusion, communications, and HR practitioner, and Patty First, an executive and life coach who uses her coaching to help clients become their best selves by showing up fully in their work and their lives, will lead the conversation. Learn more and RSVP for the stream here.

Virtual Talent Guide for Hiring Educators

The New Teacher Project (TNTP) believes that in this time of crisis it is possible to build strong, diverse teams of teachers and other school staff virtually. However challenging this is with schools closed, students and educators deserve intention and attention to the hiring process, and TNTP released a Virtual Talent Guide for administrators and HR teams, a new feature of its continually updated Resources for Schools During the Covid-19 Crisis webpage.

In the News

Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus in Some States
NY Times

Data show that the coronavirus is infecting and killing Black people at disproportionately high rates. Recent information from several states and large cities illustrates the public health risk associated with “entrenched inequalities in resources, health and access to care.”  In Chicago, statistics demonstrate the impact on Black communities:  “African-Americans accounted for more than half of those who have tested positive and 72 percent of virus-related fatalities in Chicago, even though they make up a little less than a third of the population.” 

Coronavirus school closures push out student teachers. Will US teacher shortage get worse?
USA Today

Despite best efforts to digitize the community of a classroom throughout “safer at home” COVID-19 school closures, “educators and professors are concerned the switch to remote learning [this school year] will limit student teachers' exposure to leading lessons and managing a classroom,” and at a crucial time for preparing new teachers to fill vacancies in the education workforce.

With Schools Closed, Kids with Disabilities are More Vulnerable Than Ever

Parents, especially those working full-time from home, as well, are struggling to provide the enriching learning experiences that special needs children need to progress. Many special education students are nonverbal and/or are challenged by writing and typing, making virtual classrooms frustrating for them and their guardians.

Teachers strategize to keep English learners engaged during COVID-19 crisis

Online instruction can be especially challenging for English language learners, requiring teachers take extra steps to ensure comprehension and learning, even and especially if parents are unable to assist at home.

This Evaluation May Keep Effective Teachers in Low-Performing Schools, Researchers Say

Tennessee’s 2011 teacher evaluation transformation in pursuit of Race to the Top funds was controversial, but studies have shown that the policy (and its bonus incentives) led to higher retention of highly-rated teachers in the schools that need them most. What’s more, as cited in a TN Department of Education 2018 report, “3 out of 4 Tennessee teachers now believe Tennessee's teacher ratings overhaul has improved their instructional practice.”

Please note that the articles and events in the NCTR E-Blast do not reflect the opinions of our organization, but rather represent information that we believe will be relevant to you and your programs.

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