Turning Obstacles into Opportunities


Sometimes, our challenges are so great that there isn’t one right or wrong solution, but rather a series of good decisions to very tough questions. In this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, our challenges are great. Fortunately, in education we are blessed with many smart people who are willing to share their good decisions, often arrived at painstakingly through trial and error.

In this regional Digital Transition Discussion for D.C. and the Virginias, many of the region’s smartest and most dedicated educators took the time to share their solutions to some very common challenges almost every school and district in the country are currently facing.

According to Timothy Powers, Headmaster at the Pinkerton Academy, “When it came to our approach for this year, much like every school district and school across the country is creating a reopening plan that would work, depending on the phase that we're in. Creating a plan that has three, three different plans within it, one that will be easy to transition from one plan, right to the next, essentially overnight, without having to recreate and change schedules. We had our plan A, plan B and plan C. The A plan a was fully open, plan B was our hybrid plan where we would be at 50 percent capacity on a daily basis of in-person learning and the other 50 percent would be in remote. And then our plan C is our fully remote learning.

“Part of our challenge was taking a look at what we do in a normal situation,” said powers, “and how we are able to still educate our students, but do it in a safe environment that allows the learning to, to occur, to meet our academic and social, emotional goals for the year. We had to take a look at our types of learning, our curriculum, our social, emotional learning, and how they fit within each plan in a way that would allow us to shift from one to the other. We're on our 20th day of our school year. We've completed 10 percent of the school year and we’re still learning every day about, about what it is like to be in a hybrid model and how we work with our students. There were many obstacles to overcome. One of the first things that we had to work through and overcome was simply the mindset, turning obstacles into opportunities.”


Hybrid Logistics & Secrets of Motivation

Educator Session on Hybrid Organizing: "Arlington Public Schools Journey to Virtual Learning"

During this presentation you will hear how Heather Hurley, Personalized Learning Specialist at Arlington Public Schools prepared students and teachers to move to virtual learning for the beginning of the 20-21 school year, including some very insightful tips on professional development that you can use immediately in your own school or district.


Educator Session on Hybrid Organizing: "Providing Real-Time Robust Feedback from Anywhere"

There are so many aspects of learning that are impacted by the shift to remote and hybrid learning- equity and the digital divide, SEL and trying to get our students connected, and even basic effective delivery of content and meaningful formative and summative assessment. Amid those conversations, remember that prompt and informative feedback is still crucial to student success. But how can educators provide meaningful feedback efficiently to classes full of students in virtual settings? Matthew Nickerson, Instructional Technology Specialist at Anne Arundel County Public Schools has selected a few instructional technology tools that offer multiple options for rapid and robust feedback no matter where you and your students are.


Educator Session on Models & Practice: "Schooling during COVID-19: Turning obstacles into opportunities"

Dr. Powers, Headmaster will shares how he and his staff at Pinkerton Academy took the obstacles they faced and turned them into opportunities to learn and work in ways they would not have thought of before the pandemic hit. In a time of crisis, uncertainty and fear of the unknown, now more than ever the Astros are living by their motto: courtesy, respect and responsibility... and their hashtag #TogetherWeArePinkerton has become a true testament on how everyone is making it through this storm -- and that is by sticking together.


Educator Session on Models & Practice: "Our Story at Powhatan"

Rural counties can offer options to families, provide meaningful professional development, and stay true to instructional models and best practices in a time of uncertainty and great stress. Learn how Morri Pace, Coordinator of Innovative Learning at Powhatan County Public Schools supported administrators, teachers, and their community as they opened their first 4 weeks of school.


Local Panel of Administrators | Our Digital Transition

In this special panel discussion by top administrators, Dr. PJ Caposey, Superintendent of Meridian CUSD 223, Dr. Amy Hunt, Chief Academic Officer, of Park City School District, and Senator Howard Stephenson, Senator (Retired) from the State of Utah dig deep to find real meaning for us all in this time of transition. With change comes opportunity, and these education leaders help us define the long-term opportunities for our learners.


Recent Articles

News Clip

Pressure Put on IN High Schools to Reduce Home-School Withdrawals | Scientists Take over Virtual STEM Lessons in LA Unified | 8 Steps Your Governor Should be Taking to Expand Broadband | Report: 67% of Schools Lack Recommended Connectivity Speed


After teaching and learning in a pandemic for the past few months, it is very understandable if many educators feel like they have been working in the middle of a long, dark tunnel

Jamie Bricker