#Suptchat Recap: Innovation as a Result of the Pandemic
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In case you missed last night's #suptchat, the Paper team is here to provide you with a comprehensive recap.
Superintendents Michael Lubelfeld and Nick Polyak facilitated this month's conversation between school leaders about innovation as a result of the pandemic.
Q1: If you could go back to March of 2020, know what you know now, what advice would you give yourself?
The Paper team had a hard time picking our favorite words of advice. Although #suptchat participants can't speak to their past selves, that doesn't mean it's too late to follow their own guidance—these invaluable new learnings can and should be taken into 2021 and beyond.
Buckle Up! You are about to see teachers step up big for kids. They will redesign school to ensure learning continues during this pandemic. Your already strong faith in educators will be affirmed 10 fold. Teachers are heroes. Hold my Sonic Drink and watch this! #suptchat— Jim Ford (@jimhford) March 4, 2021
A1: If I could talk to my March 2021 self, I would focus on the social & emotional toll of this pandemic. I am proud of what our district has done on this front, but frontloading the idea of a mental marathon ahead would have been a bigger part of my planning. #suptchat— Bob McBride (@PorterSup205) March 4, 2021
Q2: Share a specific challenge your school district or building has overcome this year.
Schools and districts across the nation have had to overcome countless unprecedented challenges over the last year, and we applaud all educational leaders for their inspiring leadership through these uncharted waters.
#suptchat A2: One challenge we have overcome at #BHill8 is the ever present digital divide. While this has not been bridged nor closed, we were able to surmount it enough to ensure all students were able to maintain at least a minimal level of connectedness while remote— Todd Dugan (@tdugan75) March 4, 2021
#suptchat A2 - Our administrative team was entirely new this year, only 2 of 8 were in the same position (including Director of Technology). We were able to come together, make a plan, give our community a choice and have kids in our buildings on 9.1. So proud of this team.— Dr. Lisa Leali (she, her, hers) (@LisaLeali) March 4, 2021
A2:I had to overcome the (self-inflicted)expectation that I can answer everyone's questions. I overcame this expectation by being a connector of resources! I might not have the answer or be able to support someone but I know someone who can! Life is about relationships #suptchat— Katie Algrim (@Katie092513) March 4, 2021
Q3: In what ways is innovation and change present in what your faculty and staff are doing right now?
Participants listed all the ways that necessity is breeding creativity in the education world.
Q3 #suptchat The COVID pandemic is forcing all of us to examine what worked, what didn't work, what do we keep and what do we keep trying to refine. This is an opportunity to redefine education and do it more intelligently because we have seen how different delivery methods work.— Ralph Grimm (@ralgri3) March 4, 2021
A3: I see innovation in our staff in zillions of ways educators have adapted. Most notably, our staff has mastered asynchronous learning, become online innovators, and used afternoon tutoring sessions to reach out creatively to struggling students. #suptchat— Bob McBride (@PorterSup205) March 4, 2021
A3: #suptchat Our faculty and staff are changing and innovating every day - new approaches in person (part time 5 days a week) new approaches in virtual/distance learning they also show adaptive agility and change daily - great thinking and collaboration!! HUGE team efforts.— Michael Lubelfeld (@mikelubelfeld) March 4, 2021
A3: So many new ways for us to engage our students!! I love hearing the answers to the question we've asked teachers to ask students--"What have you liked about remote learning?" Let's not discard the things students are telling us they love about this. #suptchat— Corey Tafoya (@DrCoreyTafoya) March 4, 2021
Q4: What is one "pandemic change" that you want to see continue after COVID?
If there is a silver lining to all of the recent changes that have been forced upon us, it's that educators have a chance to reimagine education. We have a chance to examine what worked, what didn't, what do we keep, and what to we want to work towards.
A4: What is one "pandemic change" that you want to see continue after COVID? #suptchat— Michael Lubelfeld (@mikelubelfeld) March 4, 2021
I want to see adaptive change implemented in less time than before the pandemic. We can change - we will change - we will make a new normal! Anytime learning is specific response :)
Q5: What has surprised you the most about how everything has gone this year?
Most participants were on the same page for this question, with almost everyone citing the resilience of educators and students among others.
A5: What has surprised me most thus far this school year is how well we have fared with cases & quarantines. When kids returned to school in August, we really had NO IDEA what we would be up against. That and how well our staff has handled the continuous unknowns!#suptchat— Dr. Bill Chapman (@Dr_Chap_PISD) March 4, 2021
Q5 #suptchat No surprise at all but I am in awe of the work that educators have done across the state during the pandemic. It truly has been the best work that I have observed in 38 years in this business. The challenges were met head on and the performance exceeded expectations!— Ralph Grimm (@ralgri3) March 4, 2021
Q6: How have you changed your communication strategies this year when working with parents and community members?
This question made it clear that there is nothing that schools and districts won't do to make sure they reach every member of their community.
A6: Over the past year, we have focused on video communications and multi-lingual town halls on Zoom. As confusing as this has been for educational leaders - parents and community members have been craving information and an understanding of what's happening and why. #suptchat— Nick Polyak (@npolyak) March 4, 2021
Q7: How have you worked with your Board of Education to navigate these difficult topics and decisions?
School leaders shared how they're managing this stressful time in collaboration with their Boards.
Q7 #suptchat Dealing with Boards has been challenging for many Superintendents. Be honest; be straightforward; be factual; advocate for safety above all and ultimately, remember who you work "for". Be a good listener. The Board may be wrong, but they are still the Board.— Ralph Grimm (@ralgri3) March 4, 2021
A7: We worked transparently with our Board and with timely communication. Ultimately, our Board approved a set of tools in August 2020 that we have been able to use across the year when necessary and needed. Board trust, flexibility, & empowerment was a decisive factor. #suptchat— Bob McBride (@PorterSup205) March 4, 2021
#suptchat A7 - Information, information, information. We update at every meeting how we are trying to improve. Our Board is represented on our Task Force and I have regular chats with individuals, as well. We are all listening to our community and responding as often as we can.— Dr. Lisa Leali (she, her, hers) (@LisaLeali) March 4, 2021
Q8: How has resiliency been shown by your students this year?
Though undeniably difficult, the educational environment of the last year has fostered more resilient learners than ever.
A8: Students have become primary wage earners in their homes. They have been childcare providers for their siblings. They have helped with sick relatives. All of this is in addition to their school work. As always - kids rise to the occasion and make us proud! #suptchat— Nick Polyak (@npolyak) March 4, 2021
Finally, some concluding remarks from the moderators: