Comprehensive Re Entry and New Normal for JO’S Learning Academy 2020

As educators and early childcare agencies, we are in unprecedented times. Never did we think that a global pandemic would cripple the world. Schools, childcares and social service agencies across the city of Milwaukee, state of Wisconsin, and across the nation, we were told to close our doors and send students and staff home. This was the true beginning of a universal strategy to teach and learn in an online/remote environment and potentially initiate our “New Normal”.

Fortunately, our teaching staff and childcare professionals are adept at solving difficult challenges daily, so while the problems we now face are complex and far-reaching, they also have the potential to lead to adaptation and innovation. JO’S Learning Academy (JLA) is confident our elementary school and child development centers will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.

JLA has been working to utilize technology, web-based learning and online platforms to teach and assess students. However, JLA was not ready to immediately change from traditional instruction to remote teaching and learning in that short time period when the pandemic hit. By being pushed to do so, several challenges came rushing to the forefront that allowed JLA to unify as a school community to meet the needs of students, families, and staff in a remote learning environment.

As the initial impact of the COVID-19 crisis subsides, JLA leadership is now preparing for the day when our school doors reopen, now acutely aware that we will need to turn the obstacles faced by our school community into opportunities to develop a Strategic Re-Entry-and-New Normal Plan that addresses the challenges that predated COVID-19, including:

● Preparing for another COVID-19 interruption or other pandemic by strengthening remote learning and alternate learning modalities
● Reducing/Re-prioritizing standards to sharpen focus on needs for future learning
● Assessing students by utilizing benchmarks to identify achievement levels
● The challenge of student engagement, and the need to shift teachers from deliverers of instruction to managers of student learning.
● Professional development for staff through alignment of curriculum, instruction, and assessment
● Addressing the achievement gap and identifying the resources and support available
● The need to focus teaching and learning beyond simple academic measures and reinforcement of whole child development

JLA will continue to produce proven strategies, techniques, and research-based programs that have helped our student achievement and will focus on data-driven instruction, as we move forward. Based on the conditions outlined above and with clear guidance from the JLA Board, Consultants, Administration and staff, a comprehensive approach to Re-Entry, our New Normal and Professional Development, including the following components:

● Component 1: Strategic Planning
● Component 2: Determining Standards
● Component 3: Assessing Standards
● Component 4: Rigorous and Relevant Instruction
● Component 5: Personalized Learning

Planning with consultant partners and the JLA Board based on the complexities of Re-Entry and New Normal, JLA will facilitate a series of online and face to face sessions to guide JLA leadership and team through the development of our Strategic Re-Entry-and-New Normal plan. Critical components of the plan could include:

❖  Re-Entry Communication
❖  Social Distancing in Schools
● Students rotational schedules
● Classrooms and common areas
● Food services
❖  Organizational Issues
● Staff assignments
● Contract and budget implications
❖  Abridged Curriculum
● Identifying standards
● Revising learning objectives
❖  Innovative Instruction
● Re-Entry looping
● Personalized learning for students
● High effect-size remote learning strategies for immediate implementation
❖  Grading and Assessment
● Re-Entry assessment to measure the achievement and gap
❖  Professional Development
● Remote learning and digital pedagogy
● Online learning concepts

Dr. Todd Beadle
JLA Board President