Weekly NewsBrief 5/18/20 - 5/24/20

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How This Education Research Publisher Transformed Itself In The Wake Of The Pandemic – By Robyn D. Shulman, Forbes

Last year, I wrote about LeiLani Cauthen, CEO of the Learning Counsel, in a piece entitled How This Entrepreneur Discovered An Inevitable Problem And Turned It Into An Opportunity. Cauthen identified a need to help school districts come to grips with the digital transition taking place in America and around the world. The majority were ill-prepared to understand the implications of this technology shift and the tremendous benefits for learners that technology could bring. 

Her firm, the Learning Counsel, had made tremendous strides in a few short years, producing approximately 30 regional events per year with school and district executives.

Then the news began arriving about the new Coronavirus, COVID-19. By early March, attendees at Learning Counsel events were starting to cancel. Even while she flew into Philadelphia for an event the next day, cascading loss of attendance was happening, and Cauthen's team was forced to decide that in-person events were no longer viable. 

Cauthen's team had two choices: They could either say goodbye to their progress or instantly reinvent themselves as a leader in virtual events. These virtual events would include professional development through distance learning—all while everyone worked from home. 

 

Minnesota schools launch in-person summer school – By Shawna De La Rosa, Education Dive

Schools in Minnesota are launching in-school summer school programs in small groups. Though summer school will be open to all, the state is urging schools to give the first priority to students who fell behind during school closures.

The summer school will have groups of students and staff together in 10-person cohorts that remain together throughout the day. Social distancing must be practiced and desks will be spaced out. Activities, such as art and music, will take place outdoors and staff should wear masks.

The schools are using the comprehensive Guidance for Social Distancing in Youth and Student Programs​from the state Department of Health in their reopening efforts.

 

Texas school districts raise hands for shares of $1.29 billion federal infusion - By Aliyya Swaby, The Texas Tribune

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to destabilize public education, Texas school districts are waiting to learn whether a federal stimulus package could help shore up rocky budgets.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act signed in late March includes money to help schools try to keep vulnerable students from slipping away, with the tanking economy widening divides between wealthy and poorer students. Texas expects to receive $1.29 billion from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, the vast majority earmarked for direct delivery to school districts based on their student poverty rates. Texas will receive the second-largest amount of money, after California.

The Texas Education Agency plans to keep about $129 million — 10% — for its own coronavirus-response projects and is expected to reveal its plans for the money as soon as this week. Gov. Greg Abbott's office is expected to receive an additional $307 million for higher and public education. And Congress is debating another stimulus package that could go to schools.

 

Kansas educator named National Teacher of the Year – By Michael Stavola, Kansas.com

Tabatha Rosproy’s nephew wished her good luck before the Winfield school district teacher hopped on a Zoom call Thursday about potentially being named the 2020 National Teacher of the Year.

Rosproy said she’s known since February that she won.

“You know, when I got the call that it was me, and I couldn’t share it with anyone, that was really hard,” Rosproy said during the roughly 22-minute video conference call with education officials and reporters. “Because I am an extroverted, joyous, optimistic person and I love ... to share happy things with people and this is one of the most incredible things that’s ever happened to me. . . . I am in this position is because of the incredible preparation that I’ve received as an educator and as a co-worker in Kansas and in Winfield.”

Rosproy is the first early childhood educator to win National Teacher of the Year, according to the Council of Chief State School Officers, which oversees the honor. Randy Watson, the commissioner of the Kansas Department of Education, said it’s been 58 years since a Kansas teacher won.

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Adapting to a new normal will be a highly challenging process for teachers and students alike

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Carol Henry
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