Moving Towards the End of the School Year

As we march into the last few months of this school year, we look to finish the year strong and we begin preparations for our ‘new normal’ for next school year. There is a lot of talk about what can we take with us from this past year as we move towards our new normal. Schools are looking at data to make informed decisions and are setting year-end goals.

There is an important and time sensitive NYS Education Department announcement to bring to your attention:

New federal funding is available to all non-public schools in NYS. Applications for this funding is due no later than March 17th.

March into Math!

Guided Math in Action Series

Differentiate your math instruction with small group math instruction. Join our Guided Math in Action series to discuss setting up, implementing and evaluation a guided math group. This series will support instruction now and to help close the COVID loss for our ‘new normal’ in September.

Tuesdays @4pm: Guided Math in Action K – Gr. 2

Thursdays @4 pm: Guided Math in Action Grs. 3-5

Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (EANS Funding)

Important date: March 17 – submission deadline for EANS Letter of Intent 

New York State has announced that new federal funding is available for religious and independent schools impacted by financial hardship and student learning loss due to the pandemic. Submissions are due to NYSED on or before March 17th.

Learn more about the EANS application process by visiting NYSED or by registering for one our live webinars.

What is Guided Math? 

Hear what educators are saying about our Guided Math in Action Series

  • “Excellent Session”
  • “Appreciate all the resources and guidance”
  • “The depth of the workshop was really helpful!”

What is your biggest takeaway from this session?

  • “Super ideas for modeling with manipulatives”
  • “Love all the resources and online tools”
  • “The importance of doing mini-lessons and keeping it short”
  • “Real ‘How-to’ advice”

Culturally Responsive Classroom Webinars

Learn strategies for identifying and eliminating systemic bias while celebrating student diversity and promoting equity with our on-demand Culturally Responsive Classrooms webinar series:

Understanding Structural Racism and Its Impact on Students

Promoting Equity Through Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices

Culturally Affirming Social-Emotional Learning Practices

Leadership Conversations: Unfinished Teaching & Learning

As we push into the final third of this most memorable year, we as leaders have the opportunity to help our communities come together, identify collective learnings, and plan for a brighter future with our kids and staff. While there is much healing that will continue to happen, there is also a lot of hope and some glimmers of normalcy on the horizon. Understanding that ALL these conflicting feelings and emotions live within our schools is part of what makes leading so challenging. One way we could help navigate it all is through the language we use. As leaders our words carry a lot of weight, and how we discuss issues is how those issues will be discussed by staff, students and families.

Consider the following statements:

Rather than harping on the “Learning Loss” occurred as a result of the pandemic, think about how you could move your staff to reframe that conversation as “Unfinished Teaching and Learning.” The first phrase is deficit oriented and seemingly places the emphasis exclusively on kids, while the second includes teachers and provides a bit more hope. Unfinished teaching and learning means teachers need to collaborate more; they need to better understand each other’s work and curriculum in order to best support kids when they see them.

Rather than thinking about “Getting back to normal,” reframe the conversation as “What can we take with us from this past year as we move into our new normal?” In other words, maybe we don’t simply go back to life before the pandemic, but rather incorporate the learning, the challenges, the new skills and the resiliency we’ve developed into our new normal. What new teaching tools were gained that we want to bring with us? What new social-emotional coping strategies can we bring with us when life throws us a new challenge? There is a lot to be said for getting students, staff and families to reflect on how they’ve been changed by this past year, and how a new school year should honor and embrace those changes.

Finally, we have to keep remembering that we grieve and celebrate at different times and at different paces. For example, while some of us might be feeling hopeful and encouraged by pending vaccinations, others of us might be feeling sad that they are not able to access that. We need to continue to make space for one another, and keep asking “How are you feeling?” Think about how you could use The Mood Meter and other tools to check in on one another, and to take care of each other.

If we’ve learned anything through this pandemic, it’s that we do indeed have a shared humanity, that we each experience a wide range of emotions, and that together, we can find support, heal and move forward towards a brighter future. Leaders, I would encourage you to think carefully about the language you use so that the conversations in your schools continue to tilt toward the optimistic and hopeful.

Mitch Center is a monthly contributor to our Leadership Corner Conversation and provides leadership professional development for The Long Island PDRC.

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This newsletter is presented by Catapult Learning in partnership with the New York State Department of Education.

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