Regional Superintendent Jodi Scott was part of the team that created the Illinois Remote Learning Recommendations. In this special episode, Jodi returns to our show to discuss the differences between Illinois’ current Remote Learning Recommendations and the earlier legislation. Listen as Jodi provides critical clarifications and insights. /p>
When I first became an administrator, I was overrun with new experiences and challenges each day. Everything was new, and I had just not lived through enough past experiences to assist myself with basing future decisions. This was a challenge, but as time went on, and about ten years of administrative experience passed by, I had reached a point of comfort with the various issues that also arise at any other given district. In other words, nothing surprised anymore. I had lived through enough various human resource, financial, and professional development related issues, that although very challenging at times, were aspects of educational leadership that I had come to expect.
Unprecedented. This is a term with a definition that accounts for an extreme assessment of a situation. It has now become a term that has also lost some of its emphasis and impact because it is a term that has been used so much to describe the reality of our world and education system right now. This is a truly unprecedented situation.
The best educational leaders, and the ones I look up to and try to learn from the most, are the ones that take on any situation with confidence and a plan. Confidence and a plan are the most important thing a leader can offer right now. This does not mean you need to predict the future, or hide that you are also scared. Rather, confidence and a plan show that you are willing to lead in a crisis because you understand that you are far from perfect yet know also that you must help others.
In light of our current situation, virtually all school districts in our nation are navigating to online learning for students. While it is inspiring to see educators embrace this, despite their different levels of readiness and varying degrees of preparedness, it has also put a spotlight on an issue that we as a collective educational society need to address. The discrepancy between technology and internet access for students equates to nothing less than unequal access to educational opportunities. In places where school buildings are closed, as in Illinois, there is not a single teacher that does not miss and want to help their students. The difference for so many students on whether learning is occurring, or the quality of engagement and instruction, is not based upon desire, but a lack of access.
Technological resources and internet access needs to be ubiquitous for all, and this need has come to the forefront right now. If all schools are being tasked to prepare students for 21st century skills, then 21st century access for all is a must. I am not going to pretend that I have the universal answer and solution on how to make this happen, but I do know this: the first step to solving any problem is identifying that the problem exists.
I have seen firsthand lately that being a leader has nothing to do with a title. Being a leader has everything to do with action. I am witnessing kitchen workers, bus drivers, and educators working tirelessly to positively impact students in the face of severe challenges. These are the true leaders in a crisis, and they deserve our recognition. Leadership is about actually doing something. Based upon this realization, I would now task our society to lead through action, as well. We need to ensure no student lacks access to learning due to a lack of resources. We need to do better, and the unequal technological state of our education system right now proves it.
Who do you call when you have news to share? Your parents? Spouse? Friends? Often, when something ‘big’ happens we have a core group to turn to for support.
This is incredibly important during these uncertain times with the COVID-19 outbreak. While we no doubt are talking to those close to us (probably more than we should be) there are times when we need to talk to others who understand us in a different context.
Educators around the world have been catapulted into online learning. Some are prepared and welcoming the opportunity while others are going in kicking and screaming. Although I am no longer school-based I am in the “thick of things” just like educators- only in my role, I’m supporting multiple counties, districts, and coaches. Who do I turn to for support?
The following is a list of groups I’ve leaned on during these chaotic times. All are free and welcoming of new arrivals. Perhaps they will work for you too.
- Online Learning Collective: A Facebook group of higher education professionals sharing and planning together.
- The Ultimate E-Learning Support Group: A Facebook group of e-learning educators that support each other.
- Educator Temporary School Closure for Online Learning: A Facebook group started as a group for international educators who were quarantined and has evolved into a much larger group of stakeholders that are affected by Coronavirus.
- Twitter: Connect with educators around the world who are tackling similar problems.
- The Daily Connect with Lucy Gray: Educators from around the world have the opportunity to jump on a Zoom call daily to connect and share information.
- LTC “Office Hours”: The Learning Technology Center is holding open Zoom meetings daily as an opportunity for educators to connect and share.
- “Women Leader Exchange”: A colleague started a “chain mail” opportunity in which we have the chance to send an uplifting quote or email to a female colleague we admire. I was grateful to be added to the list.
How are you connecting with supports to get through COVID-19? Let me know on Twitter so we can support each other.
Ben Sondgeroth, a Regional Educational Technology Coordinator for the LTC, joins the Learning through Leading hosts at a critical time in Illinois’ history to speak about leveraging video in online learning. He shares tips for teachers and administrators on how to find your tool, find your content, have fun, be visible. Ben also discusses the importance of educator self-care during these times of change.
Some of the tools Ben mentions:
You may also want to check out the webinar that Ben recently conducted for Nick’s teachers on these and other topics to help them prepare for e-learning. View the webinar on demand.
Janelle McLaughlin discusses the importance of student-driven learning on this week’s episode. Janelle is a consultant and instructional coach who works with schools supporting student choice and voice. Janelle also shares her views on professional learning, technology integration, and the role of the coach in schools.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Technology Integration Progression (TIP) Chart, from Henrico County (VA) Public Schools
In this look back at Episode 5 of the Learning Through Leading Podcast, Rae talks with us about her journey from brand new teacher to classroom innovator, as well as some of the new projects she was working on back then. If you follow Rae on social media, you also know that she has another new project in the works, too. Rae has written a book, called Teachers Deserve It!, with Adam Welcome. While we eagerly await the release of that book’s release, we hope you enjoy this look back with our first interview with Rae Hughart!
Connect with Rae:
Twitter: @RaeHughart http://twitter.com/RaeHughart
Instagram: @RaeHughart www.instagram.com/raehughart/
The Learning through Leading hosts speaks with Brett Elliott, the Principal of Richwoods High School in Peoria, Illinois. Brett M. Elliott has spent 25 years in the urban public education system as a teacher, coach and administrator. His passion and energy set him apart from the pack with a resume of excellence. He has taken over a failing urban high school and transformed the entire culture for learning through positive student and staff relationships, high energy and growth mindset for learning. Whether transforming and failing urban high school into “The Pride of the City” or redefining the school culture of an International Bachelorette High school into “The Standard of Excellence”, his knowledge of teaching, learning and culture provide a wealth of knowledge to any organization. His enthusiasm for change and creating the “ultimate learning environment” make him a valuable asset to any organization seeking to their school and district to the next level.
Brett shares his PHEARCE philosophy with us that focuses on these core concepts:
Brett also discusses his work with Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and how he leverages technology tools for teaching, learning, and professional learning #GlobalPLC
Connect with Brett:
Twitter Handle: @brettmelliott1
Several months ago we were fortunate to sit down with Adam Welcome for a discussion about leadership, culture, and improving instruction. The audio quality on our original recording was less than perfect, to say the least. With production assistance from the Learning Technology Center of Illinois, we were able to reduce some of the distractions to help make the episode a little easier on the ear. We hope you enjoy this look back on our talk with Mr. Adam Welcome.
The Illinois Learning Technology Purchasing Program, or ILTPP, helps schools and districts find more affordable options to support learning through a wide variety of technology tools. Through this service, ILTPP also has a unique perspective on the latest trends and topics that educators around Illinois are pursuing. Courtney Fleeger of ILTPP joins us to help shed light on this and explain how ILTPP can help.
Connect with Courtney:
Phone Number: (217) 892-2844
Tim McIlvain is the Director of the Learning Technology Center of Illinois, known as the LTC. In this episode, Tim discusses some of the many services provided by the LTC. Tim shares his knowledge of recent legislation, some cybersecurity tips, and a preview of the array of upcoming LTC professional learning opportunities for educators, administrators, and IT professionals.