Policy and Practice Update

June 20, 2020

Policy News

Hybrid model could be key to reopening schools

A hybrid model in which students learn part of the time at school and part of the time at home is emerging as the likeliest approach to reopening schools in the fall. Scott Muri, superintendent of a Texas district, said flexibility will be key to reopening, while Sharon Contreras, superintendent of a district in North Carolina, said hybrid models will not address the equity issues that emerged during remote learning.

Full Story: Education Week (tiered subscription model) (6/24)

School districts, boards respond to calls for change amid civil rights protests
Around the country, districts and boards are reexamining their policies, practices and relationships with local police departments that could be contributing to systemic racism in response to the global protests. Leaders have put in place anti-racism trainings, severed ties with local police in some schools, and are reexamining curricula to incorporate history that is culturally reflective of the African American experience.
Education Dive, June 25, 2020
Full story

Designing classrooms with social distancing in mind

As teachers consider how to safely return to the classroom, education leader Robert Dillon offers strategies for effective classroom design that also encourages social distancing. In this commentary, he suggests installing signage that sets a welcoming tone, minimizing teacher-only space and continuing to allow some physical movement in choice that have been shown to benefit learning.

Full Story: EdSurge (6/22)

Teachers could be required to wear masks in class

In-person classes held in the fall could include teachers wearing masks -- required or encouraged to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Experts say that some students, including English-language learners and students with hearing impairments, could be adversely affected if their teachers wear masks.

Full Story: Education Week (tiered subscription model) (6/24)

Let's Discuss: What does Learning Time Mean?

Think Self-Management, Not Time Management

PJ Caposey

By changing your behavior and reframing your tasks, you can find time to do the important work you love.

There is no shortage of tips, tricks, techniques, and hacks to help people from all walks of life, including educators, manage their time. However, the massive amount of information on the topic seems to have little impact, as our lives continue to get busier and more connected. Moreover, the very tools (email, phones, etc.) that we once thought would help us become more efficient and manage our time are now part of the problem. What educator is not continually bombarded by emails and texts at all hours of the day and night?

Read more here.

In a Time of Crisis, What Can We Learn About Learning Time?

Chris Gabrieli and Colleen Beaudoin

Though far from optimal, the way we've done schooling during the pandemic might help us break free of outdated time structures for learning.

The insufficiency of learning time for American students has nearly achieved the status of the climate in the famous saying attributed to Mark Twain: "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." From 1983's "A Nation at Risk" (National Commission on Excellence in Education) to 1994's "Prisoners of Time" (a report by the congressionally mandated National Education Commission on Time and Learning) to the federal proposal Time for Innovation Matters in Education (TIME) Act of 2009, the cry has been consistent: The farm-and-factory era schedule of 180 school days per year, 6.5 hours of school each day is insufficient to meet the current needs and challenges of students. It's also insufficient to meet the needs of teachers, working families, and communities. Yet over the years, most national surveys of school conditions show no detectable change in school schedules.

Read more here.

No Instructional Minute Wasted

Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey

To avoid wasting learning time, the best teachers do three things differently.

How much time is spent in your classroom or school on instructions versus instruction? Let's do some math. If a middle or high school teacher spends 10 minutes every 50-minute period on instructions for 180 days, then 36 full class periods were spent on delivering directions. If an elementary teacher spends 5 minutes explaining what will happen during the day, 10 minutes explaining what students will do in their centers or stations, and then another 5 minutes reviewing various tasks during math, science, and social studies, this would result in about 45 minutes per day (or more) on instructions, which equates to 22 days each school year. Individually, these minutes don't seem like a lot, but when you add them up, providing instructions consumes valuable minutes dedicated to tasks other than learning.

Read more here.

Transformational Leadership

Educators should eye opportunity to reimagine education

It is expected that students and educators would feel nostalgia for in-person schooling, suggests Sarah Pazur, director of school leadership for a public-school academies network in Michigan. Yet, she writes in this commentary, these comforting thoughts about the past could complicate an opportunity for many educators to reimagine the future of education during the coronavirus pandemic.

Full Story: EdSurge (6/25)

Use the pandemic to slow down, deepen your leadership

The pandemic should cause leaders to slow down, notice the good things around them and find opportunities for growth, writes Linda Fisher Thornton. "We need to overcome our own fear and shift into sense-making so that we can guide others," she writes.

Full Story: Leading in Context (6/24)

In the Classroom

Group to review material for remote learning capability

EdReports is adding to its evaluations by rating materials on accessibility and compatibility during remote learning. Courtney Allison, EdReports' chief academic officer, says the resource, which reviews curricula against Common Core State Standards, is intended to help schools and educators choose materials that will work in remote and hybrid teaching environments.

Full Story: Education Week Teacher (tiered subscription model) (6/25)

Teacher: A word to not say to students

"Easy" is a four-letter word that should be eliminated from teachers' vocabularies, according to Holly Hagman, an English teacher. In this article, Hagman writes that the term can set students up to feel bad and lose confidence when the work is anything but easy for them, so she suggests alternatives, such as urging student to practice.

Full Story: Edutopia (6/25)

Ideas on teaching formal writing with emails, texts

Teachers can incorporate professional email and text writing into the curriculum so students learn to write without colloquialisms and abbreviations, educator Benjamin Barbour writes. In practice exercises, teachers should emphasize salutations, proper grammar and the need to come off as professional and accurate, he notes.

Full Story: Edutopia (6/25)

Social and Emotional Learning

Building Meaning Builds Teens' Brains

Connecting adolescents' concrete work to big ideas may help shape their neural networks over time. Renowned neuroscientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and professor Douglas Knecht share groundbreaking new research on the connections between adolescents' learning and brain development. Read more in Educational Leadership.

Read more here.

7 Ways Educators Can Help Students Cope in a Pandemic

Students can't solve problems, learn, self-regulate, or exhibit empathy or self-compassion if they're marinating in fear. To help kids grieve what they've lost, cope with uncertainty, and provide support in a new reality, school counselor Phyllis L. Fagell writes that the most impactful gestures are the simplest.

Read more here.

How Will We Return to School? Curriculum Choices in the Face of COVID19

In the midst of wide-ranging, remote learning efforts during this initial triage phase of the COVID19 crisis, there is a clarion call emerging: What do we do next? The impact of a summer vacation may seem to provide some relief but will likely prove problematic.

What we don’t know.

  • When the return to on-site school will commence.
  • Geographically where and how it will occur.
  • What procedures for social distancing will be in play.

What we do know.

  • That there will be differences in policy responses to school reopening in different regions and different countries as we are seeing now in Denmark.
  • That there will likely be a resurgence of the coronavirus.
  • That the understandable urge to “pick up where we left off” is a fantasy.

Let us consider real and actionable choices for curriculum design for the return and how we might arrive at those decisions.

Read more here.

Interactive Webinar: Curriculum and Instructional Planning as We Prepare for Our Return to School

Wednesday, July 8th, 9am-2pm

This is an online event.

TIME: 9:30am – 11:30am - Overview and professional learning

12:00pm – 2:00pm - Facilitated development of plan of action

PRESENTER: Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs

DESCRIPTION: How can we shape curriculum right now that will best serve our learners for the future? School communities throughout Pennsylvania have been facing the impact of COVID19. As we have moved out of the initial Triage phase where we had to react quickly to a startling crisis, we move now into a Transition Phase. Front and center are our curriculum choices and the design of learning experiences that will engage our learners. It is incumbent upon leadership to make thoughtful, strategic decisions to support students, parents, and teachers. Dr. Jacobs will offer a framework focused on the contemporary aims of schooling and how that informs the curriculum choices we make: What do we cut out? What do we cut back? What do we consolidate? What do we create? At the forefront of designing engaging learning experiences on-site, online, or hybrid, agility will be key. Heidi will engage participants in lessons learned from students, parents, and our professionals to inform these choices and share comparable approaches from districts around the country.

In the afternoon session, participants are invited to reflect on their current practices and develop action plans for implementation in the fall.


  • $25 for Pennsylvania ASCD Members
  • $85 for Non-members (All non-members who register will receive a one-year free membership to Pennsylvania ASCD with their registration)
  • Registration Deadline: Saturday, July 4, 2020

Register here.

Help Us Celebrate Our Best!

Do you know a colleague worthy of special recognition? Pennsylvania ASCD's Annual Awards Program honors PASCD members and organizations whose contributions to Pennsylvania ASCD or the education profession deserve special recognition. Please consider nominating a colleague for an award. Pennsylvania ASCD is currently seeking nominations for the awards listed below.

All award nominations are due by September 11, 2020.

Outstanding Curriculum Leadership Award

The Outstanding Curriculum Leadership Award is presented to a Pennsylvania ASCD member who has made a significant contribution in the area of curriculum development. Documentation should be provided to support involvement and leadership in professional activities, programs or projects that have positively impacted schools and students. The documentation will be reviewed on the basis of contributions to curriculum development.

Download the Curriculum Leadership Award Nomination Here

Outstanding Supervision Leadership Award

The Outstanding Supervision Leadership Award is presented to a Pennsylvania ASCD member who has made a significant contribution in the area of supervision. Documentation should be provided to support involvement and leadership in professional activities, programs or projects that have positively impacted schools and students. The documentation will be reviewed on the basis of contributions in supervision.

Download the Supervision Leadership Award Nomination Here

Outstanding Research and Publication Award

The Outstanding Research and Publication Award is presented to Pennsylvania ASCD member who has researched and published within the past two years (July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020). The person being nominated shall submit the published article, book, book chapter, or research report with the application form. Submitted documentation will be reviewed on the basis of design, conceptual framework, format, and publication.

Download the Outstanding Research and Publication Award Nomination Here

Robert V. Flynn Memorial Service Award

The Robert V. Flynn Memorial Distinguished Service Award is presented to a Pennsylvania ASCD member who has demonstrated a commitment to serving and enriching the organization. Documentation should be provided to support long-term service to Pennsylvania ASCD, involvement in Pennsylvania ASCD programs and projects, and service to the membership.

Download the Robert V. Flynn Memorial Service Award Nomination Here

For more information, visit our website at www.pascd.org/awards

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About Pennsylvania ASCD

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