“Simple, Equitable, Joyful, and Accessible:” Best Remote Instruction Practices From NJ Charter School Leaders

On May 19th the New Jersey Public Charter School Association held a webinar called “Learning from NJ’s Public Charter Schools during COVID-19.” Interest among the 360 attendees was intense as local leaders shared best academic practices as well as strategies for managing everything from meal distribution to digital access to family trauma. Given the uneven quality of home instruction offered by NJ’s 555 traditional districts — in general, wealthy districts’ programming is far superior to …

Senator Ruiz amd Assemblywoman Lampitt Join Public Charter School Leaders To Share Best Practices for Home Instruction: Sign Up Now!

For teachers, parents, and administrators struggling to meet children’s educational needs during the coronavirus pandemic, here’s an opportunity to learn about best practices: Next Tuesday, May 19th, from 11 am to 12:15, the New Jersey Public Charter School Association is hosting a webinar to share innovative distance learning practices from schools that are knocking it out of the park. For families and public schools — both within and without New Jersey — this is a …

My Son’s School Is My Partner As We Work Together on His Emotional Health

This is a guest post by Alison Seanor, a parent of a first grade student at Elysian Charter School in Hoboken, New Jersey. Every morning I log into a Zoom and see dozens of smiling, six-year old faces beaming back at me.  My son isn’t one of them. He’s the one hiding under the coffee table at my feet.  Transitioning to remote learning has not been easy for my son, Nicholas. My normally calm and …

100,000 Students in New Jersey Are Cut Off From Remote Instruction: Murphy and Repollet Say “Let Them Eat Cake.”

In mid-March President Trump told a group of governors they were on their own in searching for respirators to help those stricken with the coronavirus. “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves. We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself. This reminds me of the 90,000-100,000 New Jersey students — disproportionately low-income and of color—who …

NJ School Districts Best Not Mess with Special Ed Parents

When news leaked that 30 New Jersey districts were demanding that parents sign waivers before their kids could get access to special education services during pandemic school closures, the proverbial shit hit the fan. And rightly so. Special education parents know that certain services listed in Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) can’t be delivered remotely and certain therapies can’t be replicated in the home environment. Here’s what we do know: IEP’s are legal contracts and, while …

We Can’t Use This Crisis To Abandon Our Most Complex Learners: Creative Solutions Abound

This post was written by Lindsay Jones ( President and CEO of National Center for Learning Disabilities), Erin Mote ( Executive Director of InnovateEDU), Lauren Morando Rhim ( Executive Director and Co-Founder of the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools), and Eric Tucker (  Executive Director of Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools). It was first published at Fordham’s Flypaper. COVID-19 has delivered countless challenges for essential workers, from nurses and doctors risking their lives due …

This New Jersey District Isn’t Even Getting The Bare Essentials To Its Students

This is the first section of a two-part post. Today I’m looking at Paterson Public Schools and its sluggish response to students’ needs for home instruction during the coronavirus. The second section (up tomorrow or Wednesday) will look at how Paterson is, in some ways, a proxy for other NJ districts’ failures and how some of  its struggles can be traced back to the state Department of Education (not just the Murphy Administration) and even the …

Teacher Tells Hamilton Students, “Die A Long, Painful Death”

My central Jersey town has a Facebook page and members have been complaining that groups of teenagers are taking advantage of school closures by playing pick-up games on the high school football field. Turns out this is an activity that extends beyond Lawrence, with one key difference: In neighboring Hamilton, a math teacher at Steinert High School, Nicole Griggs, saw a group of students playing football in a park and, according to the Trentonian, shouted …

Sources Reveal the Story Behind NJ’s Inequitable Online Learning

Joicki Floyd is an English teacher at Newark’s Weequahic High School which, like the rest of New Jersey, is relying on remote instruction during coronavirus school closures. Last week she called every one of her 94 students to find out why so few were participating. Of the students she was able to track down, Floyd found, according to Chalkbeat,  that at least 10 “still did not have laptops or reliable internet at home nearly a …

Four Reasons Why Public Schools Won’t Return to “Normal” Anytime Soon

Yogi Berra proclaimed (perhaps apocryphally), “predictions are difficult, especially about the future.” I have no crystal ball but, whenever this pandemic subsides, I think we’re a long way out from returning to “normal” schooling. Why? Here are four reasons. Human Behavior:  My  husband is an avid sports fan. I’m not but tried to be supportive when he contemplated a summer without his season ticket to the Trenton Thunder, our local AA team. I said, “maybe …