School Leadership in a Tumultuous Year
In part one of Leaders We Need Now, a three-part research series released in fall 2021, principals report just how much their schools changed in the 2020–21 school year and share what innovations they think will remain. According to the series’ first brief, “Leaders in the Tumult: Schooling Innovations and New Perspectives From a Year Interrupted,” published by the American Institutes for Research, the NAESP Foundation, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, school leaders say they will continue to partner with community organizations and government agencies to support schools as they recover from the pandemic and to strengthen mental health supports; implement flexible staffing practices to hire and keep staff, including counselors and school nurses; and build on the use of virtual technology platforms to strengthen and enhance teaching and learning. Read the full report at bit.ly/307qJn2.
Digital Learning Day
Mark your calendars for February 22 to celebrate Digital Learning Day. Launched 10 years ago by the national nonprofit organization the Alliance for Excellent Education (ALL4Ed), the day recognizes innovative educators and highlights the benefits of effectively using technology in the classroom. In recent years, and especially in the wake of the pandemic, #DLDay has become an online event, with educators sharing their digital learning ideas, stories, and promising practices via social media and within their own learning communities. To learn more, visit digitallearningday.org.
Black History Month
While the histories, voices, and stories of African Americans should be honored and taught throughout the school year, February is Black History Month and officially celebrates them. To supplement your school’s teaching of pivotal events and prominent figures in Black history, check out these resources from the Center for Racial Justice in Education (bit.ly/3F1bMlY); Edutopia (edut.to/3ILZrod); the Library of Congress and other national institutions (bit.ly/3s9MNcO); and ADL (bit.ly/3DXSSLB).
School Opens Free “Grocery Store” For Students
Jasmine Crowe, founder of Goodr (a nonprofit organization devoted to stopping food waste and hunger), joined the rapper Gunna, a former student of Ronald E. McNair Middle School in College Park, GA, to help finance a store to support struggling students. “It’s like walking into a mini Walmart,” Principal John Madden told the “Today” show. At the store, which opened this school year, everything is free. Freezers are filled with fish, burgers, and pizzas; refrigerators are stocked with eggs and produce; and shelves are full of clothing, toiletries, and boxes of brand-new sneakers. “Even before the pandemic, we had high poverty, but the pandemic has really impacted a lot of our families,” Madden said. “Our students have gone through a lot. This store is going to provide them some relief.”