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July 23, 2021

CAPSS Blueprint to Transform Connecticut's Public Schools_LR page
General News & Announcements
Creating Better Learning Experiences for Connecticut School Districts - Webinar

Thank you to everyone who attended the CAPSS x IntelliBoard July Webinar! For those who would like to catch it but were unable to attend, a recording of the session can be found here.

IntelliBoard, as a proud Connecticut-based CAPSS partner, is helping K12 institutions such as your own Create Better Learning Experiences for students. Their reporting and analytics platform provides valuable insights; giving teachers and administrators the confidence that they're effectively serving their learner population. Watch the webinar or reach out directly to Gregory@intelliboard.net for more information.

Watch the Webinar

FREE: A Kick-Off Conference of the Teacher Leader Fellowship Academy with Ken Kay - August 12, 2021

As many of you know, Dr. Betty Sternberg has led a teacher leader fellowship program for classroom teacher leaders and administrators who support them throughout Connecticut. The program is now based at Sacred Heart University.
 
To begin this school year, Betty, together with Dean Alfano from Sacred Heart University, fellow superintendents, principals and teacher leaders will present a conference on reimagining education with Ken Kay, a leading national consultant on transforming learning in our schools. Ken will lead us in thinking about how our schools can be reimagined as we prepare to reopen and build on the experiences of the last 18 months.  

The conference will be offered both on-site at Sacred Heart University and virtually.  The agenda and registration are accessible below.  Deadline for registration is August 2nd.

AGENDA

REGISTRATION

School Safety Federal Grant

Please see below for a federal grant opportunity pertaining to school safety.  There was only one applicant from our state for the previous School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) grant. I encourage your agencies and/or school districts to pursue this funding. I am glad to assist in any manner possible.
 
The STOP School Violence Grant Program is designed to improve K-12 school security by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence and ensure a positive school climate. Eligible applicants may submit one application that includes proposals for one or both of the following areas:

  • Train school personnel and educate students on preventing student violence against others and themselves to include anti-bullying training. This can also include specialized training for school officials to respond to mental health crises,
  • Develop and implement multidisciplinary threat assessment and/or intervention teams and/or operate technology solutions such as anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence, including mobile telephone applications, hotlines, websites, or other school safety technology solutions for accurate identification of danger (without resort to discriminatory stereotypes or violating privacy),
  • Threat assessment and/or intervention teams must coordinate with law enforcement agencies, behavioral health specialists, community stakeholders, and school personnel, and must include a memorandum of understanding.

This grant solicitation is open to :  State governments • Public and state-controlled institutions of higher education • City or township governments • County governments • Native American tribal governments (federally recognized) • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education • Private institutions of higher education • Independent school districts
 
Link to grant:   https://bja.ojp.gov/funding/opportunities/o-bja-2021-47003

Initial deadline with Grants.gov is August 2, 2021.  Full grant application is due by 2359 hours on August 16, 2021.
 
Please contact me with any questions or concerns or if your agency would like to meet to discuss further.
 
Christopher M. McKee
Law Enforcement Coordination Specialist
U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Connecticut
157 Church Street, 25th floor
New Haven, CT 06510
(O): 203.821.3821
(C): 203.931.5088
Christopher.McKee@usdoj.gov

Invitation to Principals to Participate in Study for Research Project

You are invited to participate in a research project that seeks to understand how high school principals utilize leadership practices to address the access and opportunity gaps for Black and Hispanic students in advanced courses.  This qualitative study will include an interview of approximately 60 minutes during the Summer of 2021.  The interview will be recorded via Microsoft Teams or Google Meet and will take place at a convenient date and time for you.  No participant names or other personal-identifiable information will be included in the final presentation of the findings from this study, and you will have the opportunity to review the findings from the study prior to publication.  Furthermore, any information that can lead to your identification or your school will be excluded or replaced with pseudonyms.  For example, findings and quates will not be attributed to you, your school, or a city or state.  

If you are interested in participating in this study, please complete the following survey linked here.  The information gathered in this survey will be used to select a representative sample of participants.  If you have any questions regarding this study, please contact Katelyn Devine, Doctoral Candidate of Educational Leadership and Administration at GWU, at kdevine1@gwu.edu or at (757) 918-3104 and Dr. Jennifer Clayton, Associate Professor of Educational Administration at GWU, at claytonj@gwu.edu or at (202) 994-0757.

Student 5.0: A Postsecondary Planning & Support Program for Class of '21 Graduates

For Grads In Need of a Plan!

Applications are now being accepted for Student 5.0, a free program for just-graduated seniors to find their way to success!

Program participants work virtually with a peer mentor -- a young adult who has recently navigated the postsecondary transition -- to connect their skills and interests to attainable goals. A key element of Student 5.0 is the ongoing support peer mentors provide, because once the plan is created there can be significant need for ongoing support to put the plan into practice!

APPLY HERE

Student 5.0 peer mentors are uniquely situated to offer this support, particularly for participants from high-need, vulnerable communities. Often, peer mentors and participants find they have shared experiences and things in common. With a real eye on meeting the participant where he or she is, the experience results in a true partnership between the peer mentor and the participant while exploring:   
 
•    career research
•    college/training program enrollment
•    financial aid forms
•    job interview readiness
•    resume writing
•    personal budgeting
•    and more, including an opportunity to earn a $200 e-gift card!

Learn more about the Student 5.0 program and apply by following this link.

Student 5.0 is operated by ReadyCT, a Connecticut nonprofit working to advance academic excellence and career-connected learning.

NOTE TO SUPERINTENDENTS: You can copy/paste the text above for distribution to Class of '21 graduates and their families. Contact tami.christopher@readyct.org with questions. You can also raise awareness through social media engagement with @readyCTED. 

SCSU College & Career Readiness Virtual Summer Camp

We are writing today to invite all high school students to the SCSU Annual College & Career Readiness Virtual Summer Camp that will be held August 10 and 11, 2021 (Fully Online).
 
High school students will be able to participate in 14 targeted college and career readiness training modules. At the end of program, participants will receive the signed “Certificate of Completion.”
 
The virtual camp will cover (a) College Admission and College Application Process (b) How to Pay for College: Understanding Scholarships, Grants and Loans, (c) Career Development and Job Readiness Process
 
To officially participate in this program during August 10 and 11, students need to pay 55 Dollars and complete your registration by using the SCSU online payment system:  https://secure.touchnet.net/C21400_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=478
 
Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please see the attached flyer,

Olcay Yavuz
Associate Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
Internship Coordinator
Southern Connecticut State University
Phone 392-204-5442 Mobile 475-434-5306
Web Faculty Profile
Founding Editor JELPS
Coordinator IYLA
Coordinator STEM Leadership Institute

Flyer

School District/University Partnership and Funded Grant Opportunities

School District/University Partnership 1:
Comprehensive College & Career Readiness Virtual Summer Camp

 
Benefits to the Schools: High school students will be able to participate in 14 targeted college and career readiness training modules. At the end of program, participants will receive the signed “Certificate of Completion.”

Pre-Registration: Students need to complete the pre-registration form: https://scsu.iad1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8fcmicrGgWvdUsm

Customized school and district-wide registration is also available. Please see the attached flyer.
 
School District/University Partnership 2 (Fully Funded Grant)
Addressing the Holistic Needs of Students During & After Covid-19

Benefits to the Schools: This funded grant is designed to explore the students’ perspective on academic, social-emotional, college and career development needs so schools can develop comprehensive academic and counseling services.
Participating schools will FREE comprehensive need assessment survey.
Participating schools will FREE customized data analysis report and presentation.

Registration: Students need to complete online survey https://scsu.iad1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ddvuO9Iz5PBBbhQ
No Cost to School Districts
Note: All surveys are approved by the Institutional Review Board of Southern Connecticut State University. And responses will be kept anonymous and confidential.
 
Contact for More Information and Details
Dr. Olcay Yavuz, Associate Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
Email: Yavuzo1@southernct.edu

flyer

NEASS in-person conference

Dear Colleagues,

The New England Association of School Superintendents, Inc., Board of Directors composed of current and former superintendents from across N.E., are pleased to invite you to attend the annual (NEASS) educational conference.

Please notice the conference program has been expanded to include a national keynote speaker, colleagues with conference presentation experience, and several well-being discussion exercises. You may be interested in the robust social program, too.

You can find the at-a-glance program and the social program, as well as registration information at our redesigned website, found at:

https://nesuperintendents.org/

We hope you join your colleagues, family, and friends in scenic Downtown Portland this fall.

Take care,
Lincoln D. Lynch III, Ed.D.
Executive Director

CSDE Partnering with CAS and the CT Center for School Change to Co-Facilitate Ed Leadership Simulations

For the past several years, the CSDE has partnered with the University of Connecticut, a recipient of a Wallace Foundation University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI).  The CSDE has used grant funding to support CT’s administrator preparation programs, as well as current administrators who mentor and support aspiring and new administrators, in developing and supporting equity-driven, antiracist school leaders.  

In support of new administrators, we are pleased to share that the CSDE is partnering with CAS and the CT Center for School Change (CCSC), who will co-facilitate EdLeadership Simulations beginning this Fall, for administrators new to their role within the past five years.  The Simulations selected from the SchoolSims Simulation Library will provide opportunities for participants to engage in facilitated decisions throughout the Simulations, which reflect current, authentic situations that school leaders face on a regular basis.  At each decision point in the Simulation, participants discuss options in breakout rooms, and upon returning to the larger group, the risks and potential outcomes are discussed with the group.  

CAS and CCSC, as well as CT’s APP faculty, will have access to the SchoolSims Simulation Library through December 2023.  While the facilitation of the Simulations in the attached flyer are supported with Wallace Foundation funding, schools and districts can reach out to CAS and CCSC directly to arrange for professional learning using the Simulations.  The attached graphic shows the alignment of SchoolSims Simuations to PSEL Standards.  

For additional information, please contact:  Sharon.fuller@ct.gov.  

Fall 2021 SchoolSims Flyer

PSEL Standard Alignment Graphic

Wallace Foundation University Preparation Initiative

Innovative Technology Solutions to Address Digital Equity

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and its Connecticut State Chapter, Connecticut Education Technology Leaders Association (CTETL), are pleased to collaborate with the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents to support the work of current and aspiring superintendents and district leadership teams in leading all aspects of digital learning transformations.

The EmpowerED Superintendent edWebinar Series –
“Innovative Technology Solutions to Address Digital Equity: Award-Winning Collaborative Leadership Strategies”

It’s a wrap! The final episode of Season 3 of the EmpowerED Superintendent edWebinar series aired on Monday, July 12. The webinar series is co-hosted by CoSN, AASA and edWeb.net, and sponsored by ClassLink. The premier of Season 4 begins on Monday, September 13, 2021, at 5:00 pm ET. 

The July 12, 2021, webinar was titled “Innovative Technology Solutions to Address Digital Equity: Award-Winning Collaborative Leadership Strategies”.  Student access to robust digital tools is key to their success as 21st-century citizens. CoSN created the Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity to encourage and recognize those districts that are working to eliminate inequities and narrow the access gap. The winning district team is  selected based on its efforts to build community awareness and actions taken to narrow the Homework Gap and other issues related to Digital Equity.

The Superintendents and District Technology Leaders from each of the school districts that were awarded CoSN’s Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity in 2021 (Desert Sands USD, CA) and in 2020 (Santa Fe Public Schools, NM) were the featured guests during the Monday, July 12 edWebinar broadcast. You are welcome to watch, listen and learn from Superintendent Scott Bailey and Dr. Kelly May-Volmer, Assistant Superintendent, Education Services, from Desert Sands USD, CA along with Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, Superintendent, and Dr. Tom Ryan, Former Chief Information and Strategy Officer from Santa Fe Public Schools, NM, as they shared the strategies they used to build community awareness and the actions they have taken to address a wide variety of issues related to digital equity.

Access the link below to the watch the recording of the Monday, July 12, 2021 edWebinar: https://home.edweb.net/webinar/supers20210712/

Previously broadcast webinars from Seasons 1, 2 & 3 of the EmpowerED Superintendent series are also freely available as recordings and podcasts at https://home.edweb.net/supers/.

CoSN Resources:
1) CoSN Digital Equity Toolkit

The CoSN Digital Equity Toolkit provides five strategies schools and districts can implement to address the “Homework Gap” and four steps school leaders can take to collaborate with local governments and other community leaders. You can read the executive summary and access the link to download the complete Digital Equity Toolkit at: https://cosn.org/DEtoolkit

2) CoSN Student Home Internet Connectivity Study
CoSN recently released the preliminary findings of a breakthrough study on students’ at-home internet connectivity which provides guidelines on bandwidth, devices, and other remote learning needs based on the data. The study was supported by a grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). The findings serve as a guide for school district leaders who are working to improve online learning equity. Key findings from the Student Home Connectivity Study as well as a link to access the full report are available at: https://cosn.org/digitalequity

CoSN Membership
If your school or district would like more information about joining CoSN or getting more involved with CoSN, please contact Brian Calvary, CAE, CoSN Director of Membership and Chapters, at bcalvary@cosn.org.

The Dos and Don’ts of Separation Incentives as a Fiscal Tool for Connecticut School Districts

A well-crafted separation incentive can be a win-win approach for management and educational employees to achieve fiscal savings, avoid layoffs, and restructure departments or positions. The key to constructing a successful incentive is considering when and how it should be implemented. Below are crucial points to examine:

1.    DO Properly Analyze Whether an Incentive Will Work
One of the biggest mistakes districts often make is failing to properly analyze the costs of an incentive over multiple years, then implementing a program that does not truly save dollars over the long-term.  A key focus of any incentive, therefore, is to ensure that a comprehensive analysis is conducted that accounts for costs such as retiree health care, natural attrition, and the incentive itself. The likelihood of plan success should also be analyzed based on different benefit offerings, current workforce demographics, and the re-staffing needs for projected retirements.

2.    DON’T Offer A Cash Incentive
Separation or retirement incentives in school districts are often offered as a one-time, lump sum “cash” payout option. This has distinct and significant drawbacks: Uncle Sam takes a large portion of the benefit upfront, employers are subject to paying payroll taxes on the benefit, and the incentive itself must be paid in one lump sum, which puts a great strain on the budget. There are more valuable alternatives that should be considered prior to implementing a cash incentive.

3.    DO Use a Tax Deferred Vehicle
Instead of a cash offering, consider a locally-controlled tax qualified retirement vehicle, such as a 403(b) plan which allows employer-to-employee contributions for 5 years post-employment, making it an ideal tax deferral vehicle for a separation incentive. The employer can also fund the incentive over 5 years for cash flow purposes, and employees gain more flexible distribution options such as IRA rollovers, which typically end up increasing participation.

4.    DON’T Do if Salary Differentials are Small
Retirement incentives generally focus on near-retirement-age employees that are clustered at higher salary levels and protected by seniority. Cost savings are achieved by replacing these employees with those that are lower on the salary scale (such as entry-level employees) or by eliminating certain positions altogether. Larger salary differentials, commonly seen with teachers, make the savings happen, whereas narrow salary differentials can often cause an incentive to cost money, rather than create savings.

5.    DO Only if You Can Beat Natural Retirement Attrition
A separation incentive only works, and creates savings, if a district offers enough of an incentive to significantly exceed natural retirement attrition in any given year. This means that if you typically have 10 retirements in a year, you need to incentivize at least 20 or 25 employees to leave to achieve savings. This is because the first 10 employees would have retired regardless which means they must be considered a cost in the analysis, not a savings.

6.    DON’T Try to Do It All Yourself
Whenever possible, have seasoned firms with separation incentive experience help your district properly analyze, design, and communicate the incentive. Find an expert in the consulting and design of school district or higher education retirement incentives (not to be confused with 403(b) vendors) that will not only assist your district in the development of the program but can also handle all of the communication with employees and retirees.

By Kathryn Cannie, Senior Manager at Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS)

Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) is the nation’s leader in the analysis, design, administration, and communication of locally controlled, customized voluntary separation incentives. We have administered over 1,000 incentives for 450+ school districts and colleges since 1984 and have completed over 5,000 analyses. For more information on our services, or to receive a complimentary analysis based on your district’s demographics, please contact PARS Senior Manager, Kathryn Cannie, at (617) 549-6555 or kcannie@pars.org.

Website: www.pars.org

Coronavirus Resources
CDC Publishes Guidelines for Reopening Schools - by Shipman & Goodwin

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) published in May 2020 its “interim guidance” for reopening various sectors of our communities, including schools.  The guidance provides the CDC’s “recommendations to keep communities safe while resuming peer-to-peer learning and providing crucial support for parents and guardians returning to work.”  

Interim Guidance on Scaling Up School Operations
The CDC’s interim guidance for schools is laid out in a series of three steps designed to inform a gradual “scaling up” of operations based on the “scope and nature of community mitigation.” For each step, the CDC provides recommendations and safety actions designed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as schools begin to reopen.  The interim guidance does not specify how or when a school would advance from one step to another.

Step 1 - Schools that are currently closed, remain closed. E-learning or distance learning opportunities should be provided for all students. Support provision of student services such as school meal programs, as feasible. Camps should be restricted to children of essential workers and for children who live in the local geographic area only.”

Step 2 - Remain open with enhanced social distancing measures and for     children who live in the local geographic area only.”

 The interim guidance does not address how such restrictions would be applied in the context of magnet schools, inter-district programs or independent schools.  

 “Step 3 -  Remain open with distancing measures. Restrict attendance to those from limited transmission areas (other Step 3 areas) only.”

The interim guidance provides recommendations that are specific to each “step.” For example, there are very specific recommendations regarding such matters as the spacing and direction of desks, mixing of student groups, food service operations, restrictions on visitors to schools and numerous other educational functions.  Additionally, there are many measures that are universally applicable to all steps.  Those measures include: promoting healthy hygiene practices; intensifying cleaning, disinfection and ventilation; limiting sharing materials; training all staff; checking for signs and symptoms of COVID-19; and planning for when a staff member, student, or visitor becomes sick.  

With regard to face coverings in particular, the interim guidance recognizes that “face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school.”  The guidance goes on to recommend that “face coverings should be worn by staff and encouraged in students (particularly older students) if feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.”   
Additionally, the CDC explains that the following should be maintained during each step:

  • Establish and maintain communication with local and State authorities to determine current mitigation levels in your community.
  • Protect and support staff and students who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as by providing options for telework and virtual learning.
  • Follow CDC’s Guidance for Schools and Childcare Programs.
  • Provide teachers and staff from higher transmission areas (earlier Step areas) telework and other options as feasible to eliminate travel to schools and camps in lower transmission (later Step) areas and vice versa.
  • Encourage any other external community organizations that use the facilities also follow this guidance.

Next Steps
The CDC interim guidance is one piece in an evolving puzzle related to the reopening of schools.  The Governor and the Commissioner of Education are engaged in addressing the multitude of considerations associated with the reopening of schools. For example, on June 1, 2020, the Governor issued the document, Rules for operating Summer School during COVID-19.  It authorized Superintendents to begin in-person summer school classes on July 6, 2020 only if (1) locations comply with the requirements set forth within the document and with the CDC Decision Tool (available here); and (2) plans have been reviewed with Local Directors of Public Health and school medical advisors, if applicable.  Independent schools and other non-public schools are encouraged to follow the same schedule and guidance.  The guidance concerning school reopening is continuously changing.  Schools should continue to monitor any Executive Orders released by Governor Lamont and guidance from the State Department of Education and relevant state agencies, as they relate to the reopening of schools. Schools should also continue to monitor the CDC and State websites for guidance regarding the same.

Please continue to monitor Shipman & Goodwin’s site for issues related to school law at ctschoollaw.com or our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center for updates concerning COVID-19. If you have specific questions about this guidance, please contact any member of Shipman & Goodwin’s School Law Group.

Your Feelings Matter. Hear Others’ Stories. Share Your Own.

Many of us are deeply affected by the anxiety and uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis. We can’t accelerate a resolution to this pandemic but there is something you can do: share your experience. 

Our friends at the Child Mind Institute have launched CrisisLogger.org to assess the impact of the coronavirus crisis on mental health and provide parents, educators, health workers, students and others with a way to express their feelings that will also help other families.

Here’s how it works:

  • Share your fears, frustrations, and hopes in the form of an audio clip or video
  • You can share this publicly or you can choose to make them private
  • Answer a few questions to learn more about your situation.
  • The Child Mind Institute will analyze this information to generate recommendations for better resources to support you and others

We hope that you'll take a few minutes to participate and help researchers develop better mental health resources for children and families, and the educators who work with them. Your feelings during Covid-19 really do matter!

CrisisLogger.org

Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created extreme disruption and extraordinary circumstances for educators, students, and families. Still, we have seen amazing examples of strength, dedication, and passion in the K– 12 space—teachers and students bringing the classroom online and navigating new, and often imperfect, systems to connect with one another, and communities working tirelessly to ensure children are safe, fed, and emotionally supported.
 
Looking forward to the future, educators are reimagining the structure and culture of their schools and districts to establish a new connected learning environment that serves all students. Connected Learning Era: Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 is offered as a resource by HMH® summarizing “what works” in connecting educational technology with teaching and learning in both virtual and in-person classrooms.

The Weather Channel - New Educational Programming for Kids

The Weather Channel television network is now airing new educational content for families with children currently staying at home due to school closures. The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has forced families across the country to transition to at-home learning, and the network is well-equipped to provide kids with a daily dose of science while their schools and classrooms are closed.

The Weather Channel is now dedicating time during each hour of live programming at :50 past the hour to share educational content. Scientific explanations on everything from how raindrops and rainbows form, to why thunder happens, how to stay safe in all kinds of weather, and more. More info can be found here.

Segment examples include:
Soap Experiment with Mark Elliot: Facebook / Twitter / YouTube
Tornado Watch vs. Warning: Facebook / Twitter / YouTube

CONTACT
Sarit Schneider Babboni
101 Marietta St NW, Floor 29, Atlanta, GA
O: 404.334.3545| C: 678.986.0704

COVID-19 Free Social Emotional Toolkit from Rethink Ed
rethinkED logo

 

March 13, 2020

Rethink Ed is Committed to Supporting Social-Emotional Wellness During School Closures

Fear and anxiety about the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has led to increased stress levels in both children and adults. School closure, abrupt changes in routine and a heightened sense of uncertainty can also have a detrimental effect on the social, emotional and mental wellbeing of students, educators and school staff. As educators work diligently to prepare and implement virtual academic learning plans, it is equally important to have a contingency plan and resources in place for social emotional learning as well. As our nation faces unprecedented school closings due to COVID-19, Rethink Ed is committed to keeping our students learning and providing schools with resources and tools that extend beyond the classroom.

Rethink Ed will provide districts that are planning closures for preventative health measures with a tool kit that will include webinars, whitepapers, tips and strategies for supporting your entire community during this time of uncertainty. We will offer free access to our online Social Emotional Learning Suite through the remainder of the school year. Please contact us for details.

While this is a difficult time, it is important for us all to continue to focus on our physical, mental, and social emotional health and to work on strategies for helping ourselves and others build resilience and community support.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the foundation for managing emotions, having healthy relationships, understanding and empathizing with others, being responsible and safe, and learning to cope with difficult situations and manage our stress, emotions, anxiety, and fear during this unprecedented situation.

Rethink Ed SEL is a comprehensive K-12 online platform that provides many opportunities for students of all ages and abilities, teachers, administrative staff, and parents to develop their social emotional skills. We provide on-demand professional development videos, grade level videos and curriculum that promotes well-being, connectedness and success for all students and adults. We are committed to supporting you as you navigate through this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Diana Frezza
Senior Vice President
diana.frezza@rethinked.com
49 West 27th St., 8th Floor
New York, NY 10001

rethinkED SEL Goals & Objectives

Discovery Education’s Comprehensive Response to the Worldwide Coronavirus Outbreak

Connecticut Superintendents and Educational Leaders-
 
Like educators everywhere, we are concerned about the coronavirus’ potential impact on student learning and it is our mission to help affected schools maintain normalcy and continuity during this difficult time. I encourage you to learn about Discovery Education’s Comprehensive Response to the Worldwide Coronavirus Outbreak and our response to Covid-19.
 
Below I’ve provided some important offers and resources to support your schools. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have any questions or wish to connect virtually next week.
 
Discovery Education is a company whose mission is to prepare learners for future success by connecting them to the world outside the classroom. We will continue to monitor this event closely and look for ways to help educators everywhere prepare students for success, no matter where they are.  
 
Sincerely-

John David Son
Senior Manager | Education Partnerships
Discovery Education
M. 270.210.0084
Follow me on Twitter

WAYS TO SUPPORT VIRTUAL LEARNING

CDC Publishes Guidelines for Reopening Schools - by Shipman & Goodwin

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) published in May 2020 its “interim guidance” for reopening various sectors of our communities, including schools.  The guidance provides the CDC’s “recommendations to keep communities safe while resuming peer-to-peer learning and providing crucial support for parents and guardians returning to work.”  

Interim Guidance on Scaling Up School Operations
The CDC’s interim guidance for schools is laid out in a series of three steps designed to inform a gradual “scaling up” of operations based on the “scope and nature of community mitigation.” For each step, the CDC provides recommendations and safety actions designed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as schools begin to reopen.  The interim guidance does not specify how or when a school would advance from one step to another.

Step 1 - Schools that are currently closed, remain closed. E-learning or distance learning opportunities should be provided for all students. Support provision of student services such as school meal programs, as feasible. Camps should be restricted to children of essential workers and for children who live in the local geographic area only.”

Step 2 - Remain open with enhanced social distancing measures and for     children who live in the local geographic area only.”

 The interim guidance does not address how such restrictions would be applied in the context of magnet schools, inter-district programs or independent schools.  

 “Step 3 -  Remain open with distancing measures. Restrict attendance to those from limited transmission areas (other Step 3 areas) only.”

The interim guidance provides recommendations that are specific to each “step.” For example, there are very specific recommendations regarding such matters as the spacing and direction of desks, mixing of student groups, food service operations, restrictions on visitors to schools and numerous other educational functions.  Additionally, there are many measures that are universally applicable to all steps.  Those measures include: promoting healthy hygiene practices; intensifying cleaning, disinfection and ventilation; limiting sharing materials; training all staff; checking for signs and symptoms of COVID-19; and planning for when a staff member, student, or visitor becomes sick.  

With regard to face coverings in particular, the interim guidance recognizes that “face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school.”  The guidance goes on to recommend that “face coverings should be worn by staff and encouraged in students (particularly older students) if feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.”   
Additionally, the CDC explains that the following should be maintained during each step:

  • Establish and maintain communication with local and State authorities to determine current mitigation levels in your community.
  • Protect and support staff and students who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as by providing options for telework and virtual learning.
  • Follow CDC’s Guidance for Schools and Childcare Programs.
  • Provide teachers and staff from higher transmission areas (earlier Step areas) telework and other options as feasible to eliminate travel to schools and camps in lower transmission (later Step) areas and vice versa.
  • Encourage any other external community organizations that use the facilities also follow this guidance.

Next Steps
The CDC interim guidance is one piece in an evolving puzzle related to the reopening of schools.  The Governor and the Commissioner of Education are engaged in addressing the multitude of considerations associated with the reopening of schools. For example, on June 1, 2020, the Governor issued the document, Rules for operating Summer School during COVID-19.  It authorized Superintendents to begin in-person summer school classes on July 6, 2020 only if (1) locations comply with the requirements set forth within the document and with the CDC Decision Tool (available here); and (2) plans have been reviewed with Local Directors of Public Health and school medical advisors, if applicable.  Independent schools and other non-public schools are encouraged to follow the same schedule and guidance.  The guidance concerning school reopening is continuously changing.  Schools should continue to monitor any Executive Orders released by Governor Lamont and guidance from the State Department of Education and relevant state agencies, as they relate to the reopening of schools. Schools should also continue to monitor the CDC and State websites for guidance regarding the same.

Please continue to monitor Shipman & Goodwin’s site for issues related to school law at ctschoollaw.com or our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center for updates concerning COVID-19. If you have specific questions about this guidance, please contact any member of Shipman & Goodwin’s School Law Group.

Your Feelings Matter. Hear Others’ Stories. Share Your Own.

Many of us are deeply affected by the anxiety and uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis. We can’t accelerate a resolution to this pandemic but there is something you can do: share your experience. 

Our friends at the Child Mind Institute have launched CrisisLogger.org to assess the impact of the coronavirus crisis on mental health and provide parents, educators, health workers, students and others with a way to express their feelings that will also help other families.

Here’s how it works:

  • Share your fears, frustrations, and hopes in the form of an audio clip or video
  • You can share this publicly or you can choose to make them private
  • Answer a few questions to learn more about your situation.
  • The Child Mind Institute will analyze this information to generate recommendations for better resources to support you and others

We hope that you'll take a few minutes to participate and help researchers develop better mental health resources for children and families, and the educators who work with them. Your feelings during Covid-19 really do matter!

CrisisLogger.org

Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created extreme disruption and extraordinary circumstances for educators, students, and families. Still, we have seen amazing examples of strength, dedication, and passion in the K– 12 space—teachers and students bringing the classroom online and navigating new, and often imperfect, systems to connect with one another, and communities working tirelessly to ensure children are safe, fed, and emotionally supported.
 
Looking forward to the future, educators are reimagining the structure and culture of their schools and districts to establish a new connected learning environment that serves all students. Connected Learning Era: Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 is offered as a resource by HMH® summarizing “what works” in connecting educational technology with teaching and learning in both virtual and in-person classrooms.

The Weather Channel - New Educational Programming for Kids

The Weather Channel television network is now airing new educational content for families with children currently staying at home due to school closures. The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has forced families across the country to transition to at-home learning, and the network is well-equipped to provide kids with a daily dose of science while their schools and classrooms are closed.

The Weather Channel is now dedicating time during each hour of live programming at :50 past the hour to share educational content. Scientific explanations on everything from how raindrops and rainbows form, to why thunder happens, how to stay safe in all kinds of weather, and more. More info can be found here.

Segment examples include:
Soap Experiment with Mark Elliot: Facebook / Twitter / YouTube
Tornado Watch vs. Warning: Facebook / Twitter / YouTube

CONTACT
Sarit Schneider Babboni
101 Marietta St NW, Floor 29, Atlanta, GA
O: 404.334.3545| C: 678.986.0704

COVID-19 Free Social Emotional Toolkit from Rethink Ed
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March 13, 2020

Rethink Ed is Committed to Supporting Social-Emotional Wellness During School Closures

Fear and anxiety about the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has led to increased stress levels in both children and adults. School closure, abrupt changes in routine and a heightened sense of uncertainty can also have a detrimental effect on the social, emotional and mental wellbeing of students, educators and school staff. As educators work diligently to prepare and implement virtual academic learning plans, it is equally important to have a contingency plan and resources in place for social emotional learning as well. As our nation faces unprecedented school closings due to COVID-19, Rethink Ed is committed to keeping our students learning and providing schools with resources and tools that extend beyond the classroom.

Rethink Ed will provide districts that are planning closures for preventative health measures with a tool kit that will include webinars, whitepapers, tips and strategies for supporting your entire community during this time of uncertainty. We will offer free access to our online Social Emotional Learning Suite through the remainder of the school year. Please contact us for details.

While this is a difficult time, it is important for us all to continue to focus on our physical, mental, and social emotional health and to work on strategies for helping ourselves and others build resilience and community support.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the foundation for managing emotions, having healthy relationships, understanding and empathizing with others, being responsible and safe, and learning to cope with difficult situations and manage our stress, emotions, anxiety, and fear during this unprecedented situation.

Rethink Ed SEL is a comprehensive K-12 online platform that provides many opportunities for students of all ages and abilities, teachers, administrative staff, and parents to develop their social emotional skills. We provide on-demand professional development videos, grade level videos and curriculum that promotes well-being, connectedness and success for all students and adults. We are committed to supporting you as you navigate through this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Diana Frezza
Senior Vice President
diana.frezza@rethinked.com
49 West 27th St., 8th Floor
New York, NY 10001

rethinkED SEL Goals & Objectives

Discovery Education’s Comprehensive Response to the Worldwide Coronavirus Outbreak

Connecticut Superintendents and Educational Leaders-
 
Like educators everywhere, we are concerned about the coronavirus’ potential impact on student learning and it is our mission to help affected schools maintain normalcy and continuity during this difficult time. I encourage you to learn about Discovery Education’s Comprehensive Response to the Worldwide Coronavirus Outbreak and our response to Covid-19.
 
Below I’ve provided some important offers and resources to support your schools. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have any questions or wish to connect virtually next week.
 
Discovery Education is a company whose mission is to prepare learners for future success by connecting them to the world outside the classroom. We will continue to monitor this event closely and look for ways to help educators everywhere prepare students for success, no matter where they are.  
 
Sincerely-

John David Son
Senior Manager | Education Partnerships
Discovery Education
M. 270.210.0084
Follow me on Twitter

WAYS TO SUPPORT VIRTUAL LEARNING


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