Link Lines – May 2021 Issue

Link Lines Banner May 2 smaller copy

Read Educator’s Lesson

By Shelley Littleton M.Ed., Kara McCulloch M.S., & Donni Perry M.Ed.


Administrator's Corner 3

Courageous School Leadership

By Cathy Buyrn, M.Ed.

The 2020-2021 school year has posed leadership challenges like no other school year. School leaders have had to courageously build multiple solutions to unique challenges and pivot quickly when circumstances changed. To support you in meeting these unprecedented challenges, Link Lines has published a number of relevant articles in the past year. For example, in the July and September issues, we addressed the importance of social emotional learning (SEL) and self-care heading into an unprecedented year.

Social and Emotional Learning Strategies for Administrators

Responsive School Restarting Considerations for Administrators

In the November and February editions of Link Lines, we pointed school leaders towards literacy and math practices for closing the skill gap that align with High Leverage Practices (HLPs). These academically focused practices will go a long way towards closing skill gaps that may have widened during the 2020-2021 school year.

Literacy Leadership at the IEP Meeting

Supervising High-Quality Math Instruction

In the spring edition of Link Lines, we wanted to hear from essential school workers who faced down this school year with amazing courage and creativity both in person and virtually. We asked them to share what they have learned this year and what ideas and strategies they are excited about keeping in their toolboxes for next year. View their inspiring Flip Grid videos in the educators’ lesson at the link above.

Moving into the summer and the 2021-2022 school year, school leaders will need to continue to keep SEL and self-care an important part of their weekly routines and set up structures for school staff members to do the same. The VDOE I’m Determined project offers a variety of tools that can be used by leaders, school staff, and students. The Good Day Plan and Goal Plan templates can help set the stage for SEL and self-care reflection and planning in order to ensure success at all levels.

Good Day Plan Template

Goal Plan Template

While SEL and self-care should stay at the top of the priority list heading into the new school year, school leaders also need to prepare themselves to engage in the courageous leadership behaviors defined by the Virginia Department of Education’s Ed Equity 5Cs (i.e., culturally responsive, courageous leadership, curriculum reframing, compassionate student and family engagement, continuous reflection) (VDOE, 2020).

Courageous Leadership Behaviors

  • Make inequities visible
  • Disrupt discourse, practices, and policies that perpetuate inequities
  • Encourage programs that support multi-lingual language and literacy development
  • Normalize conversations about race, racism, and inequity
  • Support people and building level administrators in efforts to address equity and racism
  • Promote diversity and cultivate responsibility for equity
  • Establish and communicate antiracism and equity policies to all stakeholders
  • Establish and communicate clear equity goals
  • Allocate resources to advance equity goals

(VDOE, 2020, p. 24)

In addition to the overall impacts of COVID-19 on society and schools, the past year has brought into focus issues of equity. Much of the discussion has been focused on race, culture, ethnicity, and economic disparities. Inequities across diverse groups of students can be compounded by disabilities and result in poor outcomes for too many students.

Courageous school leaders will have to help school staff let go of low expectations for these vulnerable students. They will also need to intentionally funnel resources into programs designed to compassionately engage marginalized groups of students (including students with disabilities) in order to close critical skill gaps and improve long-term outcomes for ALL students.

School leaders will be ahead of the game going into the 2021-2022 school year if they continue to make SEL and self-care a priority for all school community stakeholders and develop a plan for building the VDOE Ed Equity 5Cs into the fabric of their vision and mission to create inclusive and equitable school communities.

Additional Resources

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Navigating EdEquityVA:  Virginia’s Road Map to Equity

Considerations for COVID Recovery Services for Students with Disabilities

Back to School Considerations:  Options for Ensuring FAPE (PEATC.Org)

9 Recommendations for Inclusive Learning Recovery for Students with Disabilities

References

Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Office of Equity & Community Engagement. (2020). Navigating EdEquityVA:  Virginia’s road map to equity. http://www.virginiaisforlearners.virginia.gov/edequityva/

Resource Highlight – Center for Family Involvement

The Center for Family Involvement at the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University partners with the Virginia Departments of Education and Health, the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and others in supporting a variety of activities to strengthen family involvement.

The Center for Family Involvement works with families to increase their skills as advocates, mentors, and leaders so that families, children, and young adults with disabilities can lead the lives they want.

Through the Family to Family Network of Virginia program, the center provides emotional, informational and systems navigational support to families.  A Family Navigator can provide:

  • One-to-one emotional support
  • Information, referral, and linkages to services for the child with a disability
  • Enhanced support and tools to help plan for service meetings (i.e., Individual Family Service Plan, Individual Education Program, Individual Service Plan)
  • Culturally sensitive and unbiased information to assist families in making the best choices for their child and family
  • Workshops and educational opportunities

There are six offices across Virginia staffed by parents of children and adults with disabilities. To receive support, families can call the toll-free line, 877-567-1122 or visit the website and click on the Family to Family Network tab.

A Conversation: Family Engagement and Student Success

In this podcast Michael Andrews, father, educator, and Director for Leadership Development at Flamboyan Foundation in Washington, DC, addresses the following crucial guideposts for building family engagement within schools.

  • Why family engagement is essential to student success in school
  • What effective family engagement looks like when practiced
  • How administrators, parents and educators can work together to build effective relationships.

Listen and learn about what action each stakeholder (parent, educator, administrator) can take to build authentic relationships that positively affect students’ academic success.

To support you on your journey toward cultivating a family-inclusive learning environment please check out the following resources provided by the Virginia Department of Education:

Tips and Strategies for Increasing Parent and Family Involvement in Virginia Schools

Collaborative Family-School Relationships for Children’s Learning

National PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships: Potential Resources for Standard 6 – Collaborating with Community

I’m Determined Youth Summit Application

The Youth and Parent Summit is a two-day event held each June and sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education and the Partnership for People with Disabilities. Youth with disabilities from across the Commonwealth meet to network and discuss issues of importance to youth and young adults with disabilities.

When: June 13-15, 2018

Where: James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Who: Virginia youth with disabilities ages 13-21 and parent(s)

Application Due Date: 5:00 pm on March 9th, 2018

Reference Due Date: 5:00 pm on March 12th, 2018

Applications will be reviewed and acceptance letters will be emailed by March 31st.

Complete Application

Teacher & Parent Support for Student Engagement Resource Guide

Central Virginia Exceptional Family Fair

September 10, 2016
9:30AM – 12:30PM
Children’s Museum of Richmond (CMoR)
2626 W. Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23220

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), in collaboration with the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) and the Center for Family Involvement (CFI), is holding a family fair in the Central Virginia region for parents of students with disabilities.

Your registration includes free “all day” admission to the CMoR for a family of up to 6 members.  At least one adult must accompany their children at all times.

Why you should attend:

  • Come hear keynote speaker Garrett Brumfield from “Overcome Yours.”  Garrett, who has cerebral palsy, will share a message of hope, change, and acceptance through sharing his story and the stories of others overcoming great obstacles.
  • Two mini “Parent Camp” sessions will give you the opportunity to talk about how we can all work more closely and collaboratively with schools and communities to improve outcomes for our children with disabilities.
  • Over 20 vendors (community agencies, service providers, parent resource centers, family organizations, service dogs, and more) will be available to share information and resources for families of children with disabilities.
  • Parent networking opportunities.

Space is limited to 200 participants and you must pre-register using the following Web link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/vdoefamilyfair or by calling the

Virginia Department of Education Parent Ombudsman at (804) 371-7420.

 

November is Family Involvement In Education Month

Governor Terrance R. McAuliffe, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Steven R. Staples and the Virginia Department of Education recognize November 2015 as Family Involvement Month in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The importance of parental involvement in schools is well documented. Over 30 years of research shows that one of the most effective ways to increase student achievement is for parents to be actively involved in the education of their children.

The Virginia Department of Education is committed to improving parent and family involvement for all students including students with disabilities.  Click here to find resources on family involvement in education.

“Families and Schools – Perfect Partners for Student Success”

 familiesandschools

 

The Power of Engagement: Connecting Students, Families, and Learning

It is essential to provide students with disabilities “rigorous and relevant instruction to better engage students in learning and provide the skills needed to graduate and to serve them after they leave school” (Wilkins & Huckabee, 2014, p. 45). This statement, in turn, leads to the question: How do students want to be engaged in their learning? When a middle school teacher asked her eighth graders that question, one student responded, “I believe that it all boils down to relationships.  Not relationships from teacher to student or relationships from student to student, but rather relations between the text and the outside world” (Wolpert-Gawron, 2012, “Connecting the Real World,” para. 1).  Another student observed, “When a student is active they learn in a deeper way than sitting” (Wolpert-Gawron, 2012, “Get Me Out of My Seat!” para. 1). [Read more…]

What Educators Can Do to Foster Family Involvement

Families are key contributors to student learning at all levels of a child’s schooling (Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, & Davies, 2007).  Thus, student achievement increases and school improvement efforts are more effective when families and schools are true partners in the educational process. “Intentional, well-designed practices to inform and support family engagement have a positive and long-term effect on student outcomes, including grades, test scores, behavior, passing rates, enrollment in higher-level programs, high school graduation, and college attendance” (Mapp, Henderson, & Hill, 2014, “The Whole Truth,” para. 2). [Read more…]

Laying the Foundation for Teaching and Learning

foundationGareis and Grant (2008) define teaching as an “intentional creation and enactment of activities and experiences by one person that lead to changes in the knowledge, skills, and/or dispositions of another person” (p. 1). Teachers work hard to ensure that their students learn by carefully planning lessons and activities that meet the needs of all students and by continuously developing their own skills and knowledge about the teaching and learning process. However, until students actually learn what the teacher has taught, the instructional process is incomplete (Gareis & Grant, 2008). [Read more…]