K–12 Leaders Embrace a Motto of Commitment and Flexibility
Many administrators and teachers say that the tools that they’ve leaned on throughout the pandemic, and the feedback they’ve received from students and their families, have caused them to re-evaluate their previous assumptions about education.
At Broward County Public Schools, which serves more than 200,000 students, school leaders have embraced the slogan “Learning Never Closes” to show their commitment to learning anytime, anywhere.
“Officially, we’re back to 100 percent in-person school, but we also recognize we should be ready for anything and have the digital resources to be flexible,” says Dunn.
Those technologies include the Lenovo laptops the district distributed to students in the early days of the pandemic, the learning management system, and the pan-tilt-zoom cameras that remain in district classrooms.
Now, Dunn says, the district is prepared to return to remote learning at a moment’s notice, but it’s also ready to adapt to other potential scenarios. “If we have homebound students, or students who need to quarantine, or if someone needs to miss a day or two of school for any reason, we can still provide some continuity of instruction to the physical classroom,” he explains. “The teacher can just broadcast what is going on in the class.”
Districts Work Toward Built-In Flexibility
In Upper Darby School District in Pennsylvania, Technology Director Robert Hilinski says technology has made a lasting impact on when and where students learn.
After school ended last June, the district surveyed families and found that many wanted at least some virtual learning for the 2021-2022 academic year. Prior to the pandemic, they’d already lost hundreds of potential students who’d enrolled in fully virtual charter schools, and they realized the exodus would likely continue if they didn’t make significant changes.