Jul 8, 2020

When crisis calls – look to schools’ first and forever responders!

Cara Jackson
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As states and districts contemplate the logistics of re-opening schools in the fall, supporting the teacher workforce is essential to ensure continuity of learning for students. Education leaders can take several steps to support teachers in the quest to provide equitable and effective instruction. Evidence-based approaches include instructional coaching and induction programs, which can improve instructional quality and student outcomes. Innovative approaches, such as revising staffing models to support high-quality online instruction or making use of virtual environments to practice teaching skills, may prove valuable when social distancing is necessary. Blending more traditional, evidence-based strategies with more innovative approaches can help states and districts navigate the current educational landscape.

In Schools' First and Forever Responders: Preparing And Supporting Teachers In The Time Of Covid-19, we describe the challenges schools face and offer six considerations that can guide and support actions at district and school levels. We urge policymakers to be proactive and consider both short-term and long-term needs of the teacher workforce. For example, states and district can support the social-emotional needs of teachers; seek additional instruction supports through partnerships with teacher preparation programs; develop capacity for high-quality online teaching and learning; support of teacher candidates and novice teachers; and assess the efficacy of strategies and programs to ensure that scarce resources are allocated wisely.

The paper is a quick read with a resources appendix for the reader who wants to go further with the essential actions.

- Cara Jackson, National Center Capacity Building Team