Weekly NewsBriefs 8/8/22 - -8/14/22

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Strategies Revealed for Effective Delivery of K-12 Online Education – By Laura Oleniacz, NC State University News

North Carolina State University researchers released findings from an analysis of 284 different studies on the challenges and best practices for teaching K-12 classes online – an effort launched during the COVID-19 pandemic to help teachers and administrators as they transitioned rapidly to online instruction.

The researchers used the findings, which have now been published in Review of Educational Research, to develop a series of free, online and asynchronous professional development courses for teachers. The courses were provided online to more than 1,000 teachers during the early years of the pandemic.

“We’ve learned a lot about what works for online instruction in U.S. higher education, but we wanted to see what works for K-12,” said the study’s lead author Carla C. Johnson, professor of science education at NC State. “We noticed that many teachers hadn’t had any training for online instruction; we have been preparing them to teach face-to-face. Ultimately, we found that some of the strategies that worked well in-person also worked online, with some modifications.”

In their analysis, researchers searched for existing studies on online, virtual, distance or remote delivery of K-12 education. After reviewing the studies for key themes, researchers revealed three foundational elements needed for effective online instruction: teacher training in online teaching; district and school access to technology and the Internet; and consideration of student developmental level in instructional planning, such as whether students are able to learn independently.

 

N.H. is expanding paid internships for high school students – By Sarah Gibson, New Hampshire Public Radio

Close to 200 New Hampshire businesses are working with the state Department of Education to offer paid internships to high school students this upcoming academic year.

The new internship program, called Work as Learning, is being paid for with federal COVID relief money and aims to work with up to a thousand students over the next two years.

The list of businesses includes childcare centers, manufacturing companies, retail stores and social service organizations. Participating businesses are expected to offer students $15 an hour and be reimbursed up to $7.50 an hour for up to 480 hours. Some of the internships will also earn students credit toward graduation.

At a press conference with the Department of Education on Monday, Mike Skelton, president and CEO of New Hampshire's statewide Chamber of Commerce, said businesses were eager to join the program as they face another year of workforce shortages.

“We don’t have enough individuals to fill the jobs that are available, and that is going to impact the ability of our businesses to grow,” he said. “And so we need creative solutions to address that over the long haul.”

 

Facing a shortage of mental health professionals, school districts get creative to meet student needs – By Carly Flandro, Idaho Education News

As school districts prepare for the first day of classes, they are working to solve two conflicting problems: a rising need for mental health services and a troubling shortage of mental health professionals. 

School counselors are maxed out, so districts have secured grants and support from community health partners to bring in licensed clinicians. 

But, as Katie Azevedo put it, “we have the money and the system in place, but we don’t have the bodies and we need good, capable people.”  Azevedo is the founder of Results Learning Center, an online institution that aims to improve social, emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes for students. 

Without enough highly-trained professionals to meet student’s mental health needs, districts are getting creative. They are renewing their focus on relationship-building and preventative practices and turning to their communities for support. 

 

Education officials say teacher shortage is widespread across all disciplines – By Meghan Bsharah, WCHS-TV

A West Virginia education official predicts teacher vacancies will top 1,500 in the state when school starts later this month.

In Kanawha County, students are soaking up the last two weeks of summer with the first day of school coming up on Aug. 22.

"It's just an exciting time for kids and for teachers and I'm sure for parents," superintendent Tom Williams said.

While Williams said he's looking forward to the new school year, the teacher shortage remains top of mind. Williams said the county is down about 170 teachers, which he said is a little more than average.

We need elementary teachers," Williams said. "We need middle and high school teachers, all subject areas."

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said in previous years the vacancies were focused in certain subjects like math and science. Now, he said vacancies are widespread across every discipline in the curriculum.

"You have first grades, kindergartens, social studies, which was never heard of," Lee said. "Even phys ed positions that are going to go unfilled this year."

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