Reopening Schools: A Getting Smart Webinar Recap

“You have a chance to make your classroom, school, and community feel more inclusive, generative, & engaging. You have more influence than you know.” – Tom Vander Ark

Given the complexities of going back to school this fall, the Getting Smart Team hosted a webinar this past Friday to bring together and learn from educators and the families they serve. We were joined by a large cross-section of educators from around the country and globe, eager to share ideas in order for all learning communities to be best prepared for reopening.

The agenda covered the following:

  • Blend the Core
  • Onsite Schedule Options
  • Health Guidelines
  • Remote Learning
  • Online Learning
  • Communication
  • Reopening Tips
  • Reopening Resources

Our purpose for this event was to provide paths for deliberate planning that focused on equity in design and implementation. We also wanted to focus on the importance of inviting community stakeholders to the table, ensuring diverse representation and making space for innovative thinking and approaches from students, care providers, staff, and the community at large.

“We must ensure that people who are furthest from educational justice have their learning needs met. You will then meet the needs of all learners.” – Kelly Niccolls

The dialogue from participants touched upon reconfiguring classrooms and other learning spaces, nuances of online learning, suggestions for equitable content, professional development needs, commentary on emerging plans, and guidelines to implement. During the webinar, our speakers shared some of the following insights:

Tom on accessibility: “It’s time to update your remote learning plan. You have to do everything you can to make sure that every learner has access to a mobile device […] and broadband,” and “you’re going to need flexible staffing plans, more subs than ever before. This might be a regional solution.”

Kelly on the staying power of remote learning: “Remote learning and blended learning is here to stay. It will shift over time, but it is the future of learning.” –

Rebecca on the innovation opportunity: “When we think about the innovation opportunity we are currently facing, it’s a wonderful time to consider CBE because it takes into account learning over time.”

Tom on community stakeholders: “It’s so important to have these conversations with your parents and with your community to identify who you are and what your priorities are. This needs to be reflected in the budget this fall.”

Tom closed the session reminding educators of their significance within their schools and also in their communities.

Below, you will find the recording, slide deck, and several other resources mentioned during the event.

Webinar Materials:

Additional Reopening Materials

Equity in Design Process


Additional Resources

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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