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Volume 6 - April 2020

 
Texas Newsletter Headers April 2020

Welcome to the sixth edition of the Education Innovation in the Lone Star State Newsletter! A lot has changed since the last time we talked. This quarterly newsletter connects Texas leaders who are innovating at the school, district, and state level. Our purpose is to share the amazing work of the districts we partner with and to inspire and guide others to lead innovative work. We have adjusted this newsletter to bring you ideas with ways to support your team, ways to fill your cup, and some virtual learning opportunities over the next month. 

We are constantly thinking about ways to support district leaders, school leaders, families, communities, and students all navigating this new normal, for now. We value and admire the work you are doing in the midst of so much uncertainty while making swift shifts to distance learning for adults and students. We hope that this newsletter gives you a few new ideas to try out either for yourself, your team, or to share with someone who might need it.

SPOTLIGHTING OUR WORK IN TEXAS

 
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On March 9, we hosted the National Personalized Learning Academy in Dallas. The PL Academy was designed for district leaders at all stages of their personalized learning implementation. We had leaders from 7 districts and service centers across Texas and were incredibly refreshed with the collaboration and conversation. A huge thank you to our partners from Google for Education and our amazing hosts from the Dallas ISD team!


Woman working from home office

We have pivoted our work in the last few weeks to support districts' most pressing needs and wanted to share a quick snapshot of some of that work:

  • Supporting one district in building their virtual master calendar for K-12
  • Hosting webinars for district leaders on topics including how to facilitate virtual meetings, how to set up your home workspace, and how to make sure you have self-care tips at the ready
  • Supporting a team to set up virtual learning navigating Google Classroom for the first time
  • Building a teacher’s guide for virtual learning for a district that includes strategies, digital tools, and a place to curate resources by content and grade level
  • Hosting a variety of free webinars ranging from leading through uncertainty, the importance of psychological safety during times of crisis, and planning for virtual learning

We wanted to share this testimonial from Lisa Adams, Assistant Superintendent at Temple ISD, who responded to the question “What role did blended learning play in preparing the district for implementing remote learning?”

It has been instrumental in easing the transition both for our teachers and our students. Our teachers are used to using digital platforms, communicating with students “remotely” and creating lessons for both digital and paper/pencil tasks. Our students are ready to manage their own learning! They can prioritize, self-advocate, make appropriate learning choices and easily navigate the digital activities we have assigned.

Thank you, Lisa and the Temple Team for sharing with our team.
 

IDEAS TO SUPPORT YOUR TEAM

 

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Our team has been creatively finding ways to support each other during these challenging times. We wanted to share a few ideas that you could embrace with your team.  

  • Hosting virtual “Kids of Education Elements” time once a week. This is led by different people on our team and all employees with kids are invited to join for 45 minutes. Topics so far have included storytime, science experiments, expressing gratitude, and all have ended in dance parties! Our team has been creatively finding ways to support each other during these challenging times. We wanted to share a few ideas that you could embrace with your team.
  • Meditation led weekly for 30 minutes. 
  • Happy Hour with trivia and games utilizing Zoom + Kahoot and Buzz.in.live
  • Sharing playlists on Spotify to keep our music collections fresh. 
  • As a full company, we have had Neon day and Sports Themed Fridays
  • Sent a Google Form with a few questions checking in on each person professionally and personally. We then strategized support based on what we heard.  
  • Sharing workouts that are free (or free for now) to encourage people to find ways to move. 

Let us know what you try out by tagging us on Twitter @EdElements. We would love to brainstorm with you to bring any of these to life! Email natalie@edelements.com to set up time to connect. 

 

RESOURCES TO SHARE WITH YOUR TEAM

 

While everyone is transitioning to a new way of working and learning, we wanted to share a few resources compiled to support you.

  • The First 20 Days of Virtual Learning provides you with ideas for getting ready for remote learning and one tip a day with resources to support. Have you already started virtual learning? Check out this list to see what you have not incorporated yet. 
  • We have put together this infographic on Best Practices for Virtual Meeting Facilitation, including preparing for an online meeting, online meeting etiquette, and tools and protocols to use during virtual meetings. We have hosted a few custom webinars on this topic for districts. Let us know if you want any support redesigning in-person meetings to virtual by shooting us an email.

Upcoming Virtual Webinars

We are excited to offer free virtual learning opportunities, office hours, and coffee chats over the next few months.  

Thank you for exploring our Texas Newsletter this month. We hope this was helpful and generated some ideas for you. We would love to chat about anything that is on your mind or an idea from this newsletter you want to bring to life. We are thinking of you daily and are so proud of everything you are doing.

 

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