A College of Education outreach unit is helping school leaders manage the multitude of issues surrounding the pandemic.
The Network for Educator Effectiveness (NEE), a comprehensive educator evaluation system that serves more than 280 school districts in Missouri and Nebraska, has facilitated several programs and developed resources this year specifically to help school leaders. Although NEE primarily focuses on evaluation as a mechanism for growth, the pandemic demanded that NEE provide support in new ways. NEE’s focus shifted to help school leaders manage the crisis through a series of virtual discussions and webinars.
This spring, as schools scrambled to shift instruction online, hundreds of school leaders joined together to talk about the most pressing issues: how to remotely serve students with special needs and students who don’t speak English as their first language; effective remote learning strategies; and a motivational leadership webinar with Todd Whitaker. NEE brought in specialists from Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to provide guidance and assurance during this early period of great uncertainty.
After the 2019-2020 school year wrapped up, NEE once again shifted its focus to the fall: How could school leaders introduce evaluation in an uncertain environment as many faced the reality of continued remote learning? To answer that question, NEE developed “Adaptability and Growth: Evaluating Effective Teaching in Remote Learning Environments.”
The in-depth guide includes recommendations and resources to help school leaders evaluate teaching in remote learning settings and includes templates for educators to utilize, such as the Remote Learning Evidence Log, the Remote Learning Lesson Planning Template, and the Lesson Model for Effective Remote Learning. The guide, available to any school leader, has been downloaded by educators nationwide. NEE member schools also received updated classroom observation rubrics that include notes about effective teaching in remote learning settings.
As school leaders focus on ensuring that effective instruction is provided to all students whether face-to-face or through remote measures, NEE remains focused on supporting school leaders. This fall, NEE has planned virtual communities of practice to allow school leaders a space for regular idea-sharing and a webinar series to promote ongoing professional growth. The NEE team enters the 2020-2021 school year ready to assess the needs of school leaders and to provide the information, resources, and contacts that are needed to support their work with teachers and students.