Supporting needs of all students during crisis

Last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the difficult and consequential  decision to close schools for the remainder of the school year amid the COVID-19 crisis in Michigan. This decision comes during an unprecedented time and prioritizes keeping children and their families healthy. As schools and districts develop plans for continuing learning in the coming months and minimizing learning loss, a focus on educational equity must be central to planning and decision-making.

In March, the Education Trust-Midwest released 8 steps for promoting instructional equity, available in EnglishArabic and Spanish. The steps are:

  • Invest in supports to address gaps in opportunity for vulnerable students
  • Support families and teachers to address increases in racism and xenophobia
  • Ensure equitable access to high-quality learning materials and engagement
  • Work closely with teachers, counselors and support staff to ensure continuation of services for all students
  • Address the specific learning needs of English learners and students with disabilities
  • Provide breakfast and lunch to students who rely on school meals
  • Coordinate with trusted community partners
  • Connect families to other services they may need

As schools plan for continued learning during this difficult crisis, ensuring that equity is addressed in these impactful ways is especially important.

Read the full document and access additional resources here.

How to get students online without WiFi hotspots

WiFi hotspots are in short supply as equity-minded superintendents work to ensure all students have access to the internet to participate fully in online learning. School districts have been handing out hotspots they already own and trying to buy more to distribute to families whose homes aren’t connected. However, internet service providers have about 500,000 hotspots available while 9 million to 12 million students still need to get connected, says Evan Marwell, founder and CEO of EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit working to provide high-speed internet to all schools. The supply chains that manufacture these devices in China, Taiwan and South Korea have largely shut down, Marwell says. Read full article here.

Tweet of the Week

@EdTrustMidwest: What can state policymakers, the Michigan Department of Education, district and school leaders, educators and parents do to recover from the educational disruption from COVID-19?