After the initial crisis hit, Accelerate Institute leaders sprang into action to meet the basic needs of students and teachers. Then, spring break gave many leaders a chance to regroup and strategize a more sustainable plan to take them to the end of the year. To do this, our leaders leveraged the drivers of Change Management. These drivers provide a structure for goal setting, buy-in, planning, execution, course correction, and time management.
The “bookend” of Change Management is Black-Belt Teaching. Our leaders needed to crystalize a vision for their remote learning instructional model that was sustainable. Meaning, it meets the developmental needs of students, is manageable for teachers, and still provides whole group, small group, and special education services to all students. There were many expectations coming at leaders from the district or network and from parents on what remote learning should look like, often in conflict with research that said that students should not be in front of a computer for 8 hours. How do you balance needing to meet the needs of students, while also creating sustainable workloads for teachers and meeting the expectations of other stakeholders?
Additionally, many teachers and leaders were fearful of remote learning due to a lack of experience and training. So how do you develop teachers’ confidence and skills on remote learning planning and execution? Our leaders leveraged the “Teacher Support Cycle” to create professional development experiences for teachers, leaning heavier on support and coaching rather than accountability.
Angela Johnson-Williams (Providence Englewood Charter School, Chicago) has her team so bought in to goals and systems that after the switch to remote working, they still wanted to keep their momentum going with virtual data analysis meetings.
Via staff huddles, Katie-jo Ramirez (Legal Prep Academy, Chicago) shifted her communication from her Phase I meetings to keep to a regular communication schedule about e-learning expectations, reminding teachers to “stay the course.”
Luke Corry (Acero-Brighton Park, Chicago) and his team created a tracker to analyze student engagement in their remote learning, giving them a new set of data to use in their data analysis meetings.