April 16, 2020
What's [The Good] News at NCTR?

NCTR is celebrating excellent Residents and Mentors from our partner residency programs! This winter, NCTR asked partner programs to submit their nominations for the annual recognition of Mentor of the Year and Resident of the Year.  In the past, NCTR has celebrated award winners at our annual spring Symposium. This year, travel restrictions and safer-at-home directives across the country have resulted in a postponed Symposium for our partners.  

This week we are launching the celebration of 27 Resident and Mentor of the Year nominees! In the face of an unprecedented disruption to their own school year and their students’ lives, these educators are providing essential support to PK-12 students across the country. 

Mentor of the Year nominees demonstrate a commitment to resident growth, promote inquiry and reflection, and are excellent in modeling effective teaching and cultural competence. Similarly, Resident of the Year nominees display a commitment to their students’ learning and exemplify the qualities of strong colleagues and leaders. Over the next few months, we will honor the tremendous work these educators are doing, now in the midst of a global crisis, to ensure that their students have access to the most effective, equitable, and nurturing education possible.

Resources and Connections 

Funding Opportunity
2020 Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Grant Opportunity
The SEED program provides funding to increase the number of highly effective educators by supporting the implementation of evidence-based practices that prepare, develop, or enhance the skills of educators.  In the 2020 competition, $22,000,000 of grant funding is available for eligible entities to develop, expand, and evaluate practices that can serve as models to be sustained and disseminated.  Approximately 10 awards will be given.

Serving America’s Most Vulnerable Students During School Closures
Tuesday, April 21, 2-3pm EDT

This EdWeek webinar focuses on the ways education leaders can continue meeting the needs of their students, especially those who depend on school for food and safety, while in these challenging times.

Supporting Your Teachers With Distance Learning
Friday, April 17, 2-3pm EDT

This webinar from teacher-founded start-up The Modern Classroom Project will outline key principles for supporting both teachers and students through the transition to distance learning.
Featured News

Coronavirus Worsens and Illuminates Existing Equity Issues in Education

From our youngest learners, to students pursuing post-secondary opportunities—and all of the teachers along the continuum entrusted with their advancement—everybody in education has been impacted by the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures this spring.  But individuals and groups already facing systemic inequities are most vulnerable to the socioeconomic threats introduced by Coronavirus.

Pre-K Children
An EducationDive article explains that an estimated 70% of the nation’s childcare centers for kids in the formative years before Kindergarten closed in the span of a week, and others are severely restricted.  Some Pre-K educators that are still employed and connecting to students virtually are trying to balance screen time, what’s required of parents at home, and to minimize learning gaps.  But additionally, the social benefits of schooling for young children have been reduced or eliminated entirely.  “They are missing a lot of opportunities for socialization, which is a major focus of Pre-K,” says Georgia preschool teacher Heather Williams.

K-12 Students
As EdWeek revealed, early studies show that responses to the COVID-19 school closures nationwide—both among students and teachers—vary significantly along the lines of economic status across and within schools.  Critical issues such as access to and proficiency with technology, teacher attentiveness outside of the face-to-face teaching routines, and student “attendance” for remote learning illustrate big differences in our best- and worst-resourced school systems.  Children with disabilities, while protected and entitled to public education by the law, have been disproportionately affected by moves to distance learning.  An EdSurge op-ed recommends parents and teachers meet in the middle to ensure continued learning.

What of the high school seniors who, pre-pandemic, faced just one final semester push before launching into their futures, many committed to enrolling in institutes of higher education for the fall?  Politico reports that some of these teenagers, especially would-be first generation college students, join the ranks of college and university underclassmen now reconsidering their options and planning for a gap year working instead of taking on student debt.  Additionally, many high schoolers now lack the school counseling support to navigate the college application and student aid deadlines.  National College Attainment Network shared that FAFSA completions are down for a third straight week.
With all of the virtual resources, open-sourced content, and social media shares of curriculum in the time of COVID-19, one might assume educators are currently best equipped to transition to online learning.  But EdWeek highlighted that the glut of resources can be overwhelming to sort through, distill and put into practice.

Furthermore, an educator’s ability to balance full-time online instruction with their potentially expanded (or at least more concentrated) home and family duties amid a global pandemic was never an explicit part of a job description.  As Hawai’i elementary educator Lory Peroff describes in this EdWeek Teacher blog, “it’s OK to not be OK” right now.  

Higher Education
The Center for American Progress K-12 Education Policy Team conducted a Q&A with California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) student life and student affairs administrators, who “emphasized that the pandemic did not start a basic needs crisis [on campus]; it exacerbated one that was already there.”  From students living in poverty relying on student housing and meal plans, to undocumented immigrant students, populations already on the razor’s edge are more at-risk with the closures of campuses like CSUDH.
In The News
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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