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Tips for School Leadership in the COVID Era

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Educational leaders are accustomed to facing new challenges every school year. The effect of COVID-19 on both classrooms and teachers, however, was unexpected and unprecedented. How can educational leaders support their schools and give staff the flexibility to perform in anticipation of such constraints? And how can they set the tone for problem-solving and empathy in uncertain times? Here are some ideas that can help with meeting both challenges and educational goals in a new era.

Pursue the Development of Educators and Leaders

With so much change happening at once, the day-to-day responsibility of teaching may seem overwhelming in and of itself. That does not mean it’s time to delay or ignore professional development, however. Educational leaders would do well to continue investing time and resources to make sure teachers are leveling up their classroom skills, technology know-how, and relational toolkits.

In many ways, teacher development has been understandably reactive, driven by the move to remote learning. But building and district administrators can stay ahead by providing teachers with opportunities for collaborative learning, workshops, training, and higher education.

Relax Rules When You Can

Not every guideline is negotiable. Most local, state and federal standards and mandates require compliance. But for items that are purely a function of tradition or personal preference, rule-keeping can be a little more flexible, at least when conditions are chaotic or uncertain.

Relaxing even a few rules here and there — like those related to contact minute requirements or dress code, for instance — can give your educators the breathing room they need to teach. In a time when many are struggling to adapt to remote classrooms and additional student follow-up, having one or two fewer things to worry about can be a lifesaver.

Give Special Education Increased Support

One of the most frequently asked questions from parents this year has been, “What about my child’s IEP?” While it’s reasonable and natural to want to stay informed about the quality of education one’s child is getting in general, parents of exceptional students are facing even more challenges with remote schooling.

With respect to one-on-one services and in-person help, remote learning has created more questions than answers. Your teachers are facing a barrage of questions from well-meaning parents; help them find answers and make a plan to keep conflict to a minimum and cooperation at the highest levels.

Ensure Supply Levels

The initial move to remote learning left many school districts without the things they needed, such as personal laptops or tablets for students. But the time is right to anticipate supplies for the coming semesters and get orders in early. Leaders may also need to look beyond their preferred vendor or supply chain for the best solutions and communicate the status of supply gaps with educators in as timely a manner as possible.

Today’s school leaders have more to manage than ever, and the sudden shift from in-class to remote learning forced the best educators to learn quickly – often in real-time. If these challenges inspire you to lead, consider growing your skill set with a Master of Education, Educational Leadership online from the University of Louisiana Monroe. Completing the courses in the M.Ed. curriculum can help position you to make a difference in your school or community. You can complete the 100% online program while you continue to work at your current position.

Learn more about ULM’s online M.Ed., Educational Leadership program.


Sources:

Brookings: A Broad Strategy for Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Global Partnership for Education: 3 Recommendations to Support School Leaders During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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