“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 …

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 …

How the New Jersey Department of Education Went From Technology Leader to Technology Laggard

On Monday I wrote about Paterson Public Schools’ poor implementation of home instruction during this pandemic, hindered largely by the lack of one-on-one devices for students as well as teachers’ unfamiliarity with technology. This scenario isn’t limited to Paterson: Here’s Trenton’s form of remote learning, which is less a strategy than an abdication of responsibility. The consequences for students in these districts, already high-risk, will be enormous. Chris Minnich, head of NWEA, predicts that “students …

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 …

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 …

For Students Who Struggle With Reading, This Mom of a Dyslexic Son Has Some COVID-19 Era Advice

This is a guest post by Debbie Meyer, a founding member of the Dyslexia (Plus) in Public Schools Task Force, a small group of community leaders working to help students with dyslexia and related language-based disabilities thrive in their neighborhood schools. This was first published at Education Post. For me, helping my son go from a bright but illiterate fourth-grader to a high school student who can read and write was an incredible full-time job. It was really hard …

Remote Education Shines a Light on the Inequities Special Needs Students Already Face in Schools

Ten-year-old Gavin Williams is a lively and affectionate youngster who loves to visit museums, experiment with computer-coding and plunge into ocean waves with his boogie-board.  Gavin is also a fifth-grade student with disabilities who, his mother Sarah told me, has been effectively abandoned by his New Jersey district during COVID-19 school closures. While the quality of remote instruction offered by schools throughout the country varies from desultory to ambitious—an ongoing survey by the Center for Reinventing …

Is COVID-19 Teaching Us Anything at All Outside of Washing Our Hands?

This is a post by my friend and colleague Zachary Wright, a national finalist for the United States Department of Education’s School Ambassador Fellowship. Zach is an assistant professor of practice at Relay Graduate School of Education serving Philadelphia and Camden. Prior to that, he was the 12th-grade world literature and AP literature teacher at Mastery Charter School Shoemaker Campus, teaching the school’s first eight graduating classes. We’re about three weeks into our new Covid-19 realities.  …