Leadership Resources

This page contains resources and guidance designed to help superintendents, principals, and other senior administrators as they navigate this complex and ambiguous time.

As you move through this rapidly changing and unprecedented situation, we recognize that you may want to look first to direction from government guidance and policy. Below are some resources shared by the Arizona Department of Education, the US Education Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These resources come from a number of organizations and publications who have collected and shared tips and guidance for continuity planning and communication to your communities.

As many schools transition to remote learning, some companies are lowering their fee walls and/or offering premium features for free during the school closures. Here are some of the primary tools that you may find useful for communicating with your teams and sharing with your faculty and staff.

Conferencing software

The tools, software, and apps below are commonly used conferencing solutions across many schools and teams.

One suggestion for conferencing, beyond the operational and logistical needs, is to offer daily “office hours” or “coffee break” times where staff can join together to share tips, needs, frustrations and fellowship.

  • Zoom video conferencing: lifting the 40-minute limit during the outbreak
    • Free video conferencing software. Additionally, the company has created resources and is hosting information sessions to help small businesses use Zoom.
  • Google Hangouts Meet: getting premium features during the outbreak
    • Google Hangouts Meet is a videoconferencing and online meeting app. Starting this week, Google will begin rolling out free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G-Suite and G-Suite for Education customers globally including:
      • Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
      • Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain
      • The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive
  • LogMeIn: Free 3 month emergency remote work kits
    • Kits are designed for nonprofits, schools, and health care organizations that aren't already customers and include GoToMeeting for video conferencing, GoToWebinar—where users can host presentations for up to 3,000 users—and LogMeIn, which provides remote desktop access from numerous devices.
  • Cisco Webex: Free version of its Webex service with no time restrictions.
    • A web conferencing and video conferencing application. It will allow up to 100 meeting participants and has added toll-free dial-in features with a 90-day license for businesses that are not already customers.

Notable teaching & learning tools

The tools, software, and apps below are commonly used solutions across many of your K-12 classrooms. While these companies are offering temporary access to premium features, we urge against asking faculty and staff to implement these tools if their use would be a novel or first-time adoption.

  • Explain Everything Whiteboard: Dynamic, recordable whiteboard app offering free access during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Flipgrid: Already free licensing for educators but useful for student interactions / discussions—a good guide to remote learning at the link.
  • Formative: Formative is a free platform for gathering and acting on live student responses but is donating access to all features for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year for teams who may be in need of virtual teaching due to COVID-19.
  • Kahoot!: Kahoot! (quizzing / game tool) offers free access to all features to support distance learning in schools affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Education institutions can get free access to Kahoot! Premium to empower distance and online learning and engage students anywhere, anytime.
  • Nearpod: Free individual accounts, with support during the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • Pear Deck: Remote learning/presentation software, offering either individual or district-wide access during the outbreak.
  • For a more robust, crowdsourced list, see this: Coronavirus Virtual Learning Offerings Google Sheet developed by educational technologist Christina DiMicelli.

There are myriad considerations and needs to account for when/if you make the decision to close your schools and transition to remote teaching and learning. We have compiled and remixed a set of planning tips gathered from the continuity planning resources listed above.

While this list is certainly not exhaustive in accounting for all of the facets of this unprecedented challenge, our aim is to provide direction should you need it.

Prepare (As Time Permits)

We know that you may not have time to fully account for all of these things, especially if you have already transitioned to remote learning. However, these items may still be useful as you move forward. Links to sample documents are provided where available.

This action planning checklist has been remixed and shared from the Learning Technology Center of Illinois’ School Closure Planning Document and from the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals’ School Closure Learning Continuity Planning Checklist

Action item

Issues to address

Resources/links

Look to your school's emergency operations plan, if available, which should include plans for Continuation of Operations (COOP)

   

If needed, establish team to support the creation of local learning continuity plans

   

Develop communication for community

  • Do you have a way to address/ensure digital equity?
  • You may want to set up a makeshift website or IT support number people can call with password/software issues.
  • Do students and families have high-speed internet access at home?
  • Do students and families have access to computing devices at home?

Sample newsletter developed from LTC/MASSP above

Create school closure document for teachers/support staff/students/parents

  • Include how admin and staff will communicate with each other, what platforms will be used, expectations for teaching and learning
  • What are the essential responsibilities of teachers during this time: attendance, assignments, availability
  • How will student needs be met for those with 504s and IEPs?

Sample “eLearning Agreement” developed by LTC/MASSP above

Ensure all parent contact information (i.e. phone, email address) is current

   

Determine expectations for what a school day will look like online

  • How much work should be assigned since tasks could take longer online?
  • Who decides?
 

Develop online attendance policy (if needed)

  • Attendance for both staff and students? Is a single Google Form submission at the start of each “school day” sufficient?
  • Should students have to check in with each teacher they have for attendance?
  • How will this work if students are sick? How will “sick days” be reported to schools?
  • Will considerations be made for older students who become “caretakers” of younger siblings when parents need to report to work?
 

Suggested Implementation Phases (from Global Online Academy)

These suggested implementation phases have been shared from EdSurge’s Preparing to Take School Online? Here Are 10 Tips to Make It Work, by Reshan Richards and Stephen J. Valentine. It was originally published on Global Online Academy's (GOA) Insights blog on March 4, 2020.

Implementation phases and food for thought

Phase 1: Week 1 (Days 1-5)

  • Days 1-2: Richards and Valentine suggest treating the first two days as you might for a weather-related closure. In those two days, teachers should plan or refine ‘calamity day’ activities that can be completed independently and asynchronously during the next three days.
  • Days 3-5: While students are completing asynchronous activities, Richards and Valentine suggest that teachers and teaching teams should prepare for the next five days of school which will be conducted online. A subgroup of leaders at the school should offer technical and instructional support while those preparations are being made.

Phase 2: Week 2 (Days 6-10)

  • Richards and Valentine suggest there should be at least one or two community-wide broadcasts or video messages by the school leadership during this time.
  • Faculty group and team leaders should plan to have more frequent touchpoints with their groups.
    • It might be helpful to use a regular school schedule to follow so that students—and especially families of younger students—can plan on what to work on during the day. Some teachers will plan synchronous meetings and others will plan asynchronous activities.
  • The overarching goal during these 5 days is to help everyone get used to connecting with one another, receiving instruction from faculty, and engaging in meaningful tasks.
  • Formally measuring and assessing learning should not necessarily be a priority during this phase, Richards and Valentine note.

Phase 3: Beyond Week 2 (Day 11 and beyond)

  • Richards and Valentine offer that beyond 10 school days, consider your institution to be in an “online school” mode and introduce structures for feedback, formal and informal assessment, and calendars and timelines that are best suited for online learning.
  • Once you’ve crossed into this threshold, your teachers and students will be getting used to a new normal of connecting and receiving information. It is during this phase that assessment of learning, feedback cycles, student voice, and supporting individuals—both in terms of learning and in terms of social-emotional needs—all need to enter a new phase.