Thank you for your interest in our COVID-19 response materials. The following resources were developed, adapted, and collected to provide supports to our partner district and school leaders in applying an inquiry approach while navigating through and beyond the crisis period. While these tools and resources were developed for the LEAD Project, we are providing them to other district and school leaders that may find them useful in their own response to this unprecedented time.
COVID-19 response resources have or will be developed to begin an inquiry cycle that includes the following phases:
Phase 1 – Re-Orienting to the Crisis Period – focused on what you can do right now to address your most pressing needs and set your school up for effective long-term planning
Phase 2 – New Learning Phase – immediately following the school closure period, exploring information and data to understand the extent of learning gain or loss that may have occurred
Phase 3 – Fall Re-Entry Plan – developing an action plan and establishing goals that include the identification of responsive strategies and practices to address the impact of the school closure period
Phase 4 – Enacting Strategies Aimed at Addressing Impact – implementing action plans, monitoring progress toward process and outcome goals, and determining the need for mid-course correction
Connection to the Project: Phase 1 of the approach is the “speculation” stage. The Cycles of Inquiry approach encourages leaders and their teams to resist the temptation to identify solutions before fully understanding the extent of the challenge. But that does not mean that nothing can be done now. During this phase teams strives to understand the situation/challenge while speculating about what they need to know and do in order to select effective strategies to address the impact. Teams will also identify additional information and data that are needed to inform our understanding of the challenge and the selection of strategies to address it.
Framing of Phase 1: The Phase 1 webinar is framed by an understanding of neuro-typical brain responses during periods of prolonged stress. This is based on an extensive body of research and is included to help leaders recognize and react to stress responses in their interactions. We understand that leaders and their staff have reacted to the crisis in a wide variety of ways and that the context within which they live and work is different. Framing the Phase 1 content around neuroscience was merely intended to acknowledge that fear and anxiety are common brain responses during times of prolonged uncertainty. We are not suggesting that during this time leaders are operating in a flight, fight, or freeze state. However, it is likely that the families, staff, or student they come in contact with may be in a state of fear or heightened anxiety. In fact, an increasing number may be facing job, healthcare, housing, or food insecurity for the first time in their lives. Therefore, we encourage leaders to attend to the social emotional needs of those with whom they interact. Communication will be most effective when it is delivered in a clear and concise manner, because research indicates that adults have a reduced capacity to process information during prolonged periods of heightened stress.
Phase 1 Resources:
Recorded Webinar – the 40-minute video outlines a four-step process for leaders to re-orient their work in light of the crisis. It is premised on the essential question – If we can only do a few things right in the next few days, weeks, and month, what should it be?
Toolkit with 4 Worksheets – the excel file includes templates for capturing the work completed in each of the four-steps of the Re-Orientation Process
Teacher Data Capture Guidance – directions for the introduction of the corresponding template designed to help teachers capture important data and information needed for future planning.
Teacher Data Capture Template – for use by teachers to capture important information about what they are experiencing during the remote learning period and to begin to think about the implications of the remote learning period on the vertical alignment of the curriculum.
Connection to the Project: Phase II of the Cycles of Inquiry approach is the “new learning” stage. This phase occurs after the initial remote learning period has ended. During this phase the Principal and Instructional Leadership Team synthesize disparate data sources to determine what teaching and learning actually occurred during the emergency shift to remote learning. Questions the team might pursue include: What instruction was planned? What instruction was delivered? What implications are there for the “receiving teacher” in the next grade or course? Teams will use a data review protocol to ensure a trusting and non-judgmental environment that provides insight into implications for re-entry planning.
Framing of Phase II: The Phase II webinar revisits the neuro-typical brain responses during periods of prolonged stress. Framing content around neuroscience was merely intended to acknowledge that fear and anxiety are common brain responses to stress and while all adults feel stress during prolonged periods of uncertainty, not everyone responds to stress in the same way. For that reason, Phase II materials include a table of adult skills that correspond to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) framework of social emotional leadership competencies. The greater the skill level of an adult, the greater capacity they have to be resilient during a prolonged crisis. Just as it is the role of the principal to build the capacity of their faculty to be strong teachers, so too is it their responsibility to develop the social emotional leadership skills of teachers to overcome this crisis and ensure students continue to grow and learn.
Phase II Tools and Resources:
Recorded Webinar – The video outlines the re-opening plan for the State of Illinois and its implications for schools, a simple process for decision making, and a process for engaging ILTs in reviewing new data and information in order to reflect and understand what transpired during the emergency remote learning period.
CASEL Social Emotional Leadership Competencies and Skills Table – The SEL Table provided in the Phase II materials can assist principals in understanding adult social emotional needs from a skill-based perspective.
Excel Toolkit for Debrief Meeting – The excel file includes templates for capturing data from the debrief discussion with the ILT, a list of prompt questions to consider during the debrief, and data review summary template for teachers to use during their file review. The templates are designed to help teachers capture important themes emerging from the data and information and the implications for future planning.
Survey Focus Area Summary Table and Survey Tools – The included survey tools focus on three specific stakeholder groups: Teachers, Parents/Guardians, and Students. The tools explore their perceptions and experiences during the initial remote learning period.
Data File Review Note-Catcher Guidance for Teachers ILT Debrief Guidance Document for Principals – These two templates are designed to assist the principal and ILT members in capturing and organizing emerging findings from a variety of data sources. The first template is for teachers to capture information from their file review and is organized to guide their presentation of the data. The second template is designed to capture information in one place from each of the data file presentations that take place during the ILT Debrief Meeting.
School Reform Initiative’s Atlas Protocol for Exploring Data – This tool provides a structured protocol for reviewing data and information in a systematic and non-judgmental manner.
NWEA Collaborative Brief on Impact of COVID-19 – This document includes a brief quantitative analysis projecting the expected learning loss that can be expected when students return in the fall. This information may be useful in helping teachers understand the need to attend to gaps in vertical curriculum alignment.
Connection to the Project: Phase 3 of the approach is the Fall Re-Entry: Planning for Strategy Enactment and Goal Setting. The Cycles of Inquiry approach asks principals and Instructional Leadership Teams to question: Are the previously adopted practices the most “responsive” given the current state? What data might we use to our understanding of the extent of “learning loss” that may have occurred during the emergency remote learning period? How will we incorporate missed learning in a logical and coherent fashion within the projected scope and sequence for the subsequent grade or course? How might we re-envision schooling in a way that effectively addresses student academic, social and emotional needs? How will the return-to-school plan attend to issues of equity and incorporate social emotional learning practices in ways that benefit students AND adults? What communications strategies will enable us to maintain and extend connection and connectedness with key stakeholder groups? How might we continue to innovate in ways that maximize NEW innovative practices and enhanced engagement strategies even after a “return-to-conventional” in-person instruction may be possible?
Framing of Phase 3: The Phase III webinar begins with a discussion of how effective school leaders manage decisions beyond their control (but within their circle of concern) differently from those school-level issues that are within their control (i.e. within their circle of influence). “Parking” and tracking tools for influencing and communicating decisions that are made at the district level that impact re-entry are provided. In order to maintain a focus on instructional quality, a multi-step process for vertical standards articulation is offered along with a process for identifying and addressing important standards/skills that may have been skipped or insufficiently covered during the emergency school closure period. Social emotional protocols that advance adult awareness of sound SEL practice that can also be adapted for use with students to reorient to a climate for learning are introduced. And a comprehensive and inclusive six-step communications strategy that maintains connection and connectedness with key stakeholder groups is discussed.
Webinar Navigation:Corresponding tools for each topic covered in the Phase 3 webinar may be found under the Tools and Resources heading located below the link to the recorded webinar.
00:00 Introduction to the Phase III Webinar – Purpose, Focus, and Presenters
05:45 External/Internal Planning Tools/Protocols
41:26 Identifying and Addressing Learning Gaps in Vertical Alignment
1:11:58 Social/Emotional Learning Tools/Protocols
1:22:56 Communication Planning Tools/Resources
Further, the corresponding tools for each topic can be found under, under the webinar tab.
Attached are additional tools for crisis support and intervention, managing anxiety, mindfulness and movement, ways to share art and stories, support for children and teens, and resources in Spanish. We hope they are useful, and we will continue to look for ways to support one another during this challenging time.