As schools define learning plans for the fall and families make decisions about what option best fits their needs, regular updates and open lines of communication are about as important as they've ever been. This time is terribly stressful for everyone, so to prevent additional, unnecessary stress, schools and families alike need to remain connected.
Many schools are already changing their original reopening plans as COVID numbers increase and families voice deep concern about in-person schooling or inequities in virtual options. And while school leaders don't want to give their families whiplash as they adjust their plans, parents want and need to stay informed so they can make adjustments on their end as well. So how do you stay engaged during such a stressful period when parents are angry, teachers are worried and leaders feel like no matter what they decide, they're going to be criticized?
First, we must all realize the situation we are in and understand people's emotions are ramped up more than usual. Therefore, it's necessary to exercise patience, kindness and empathy above all when interacting with one another. Remember: we have no idea what personal struggles someone may be facing on top of everything our society is dealing with at the moment. Families must understand that educators--both classroom teachers and school leaders--miss their students but want to keep them (and themselves) safe. Educators must realize the heavy burden this situation puts on families and their own work and home lives. But for the sake of our students, we must remember we are all experiencing this pandemic, so it behooves us all to work together so that our students' learning is negatively impacted as little as possible.
As far as communication goes, what sort of things can you do to ensure parents know your door is open, and they are welcome to connect with you? Below are several resources we have created to help you along the path.
In addition to these resources, others on the OPSRC team have created content to help guide your decision making and actions throughout this school year. These are all located here, but there's also a link at the top of our website's home page. If you need any clarification or further assistance on any of these items, or you need something not listed on the page, please reach out to anyone on our team. We will continue to provide thoughtful guidance, documentation and support whenever you need it.
Just remember: You are not in this alone. This year won't be easy, but you can count on our staff to stand alongside you for the duration. Just let us know how we can help.
Funding for public schools in Oklahoma is a hot topic and for good reason. The State Department of Education (SDE) has issued a record number of emergency teacher certifications this year, and it seems each day brings a new story of teachers leaving Oklahoma for better pay in neighboring states.
October marks the time each year when we bring attention to bullying prevention: how to identify, prevent and report it. It's important to have a specific month designated as National Bullying Prevention month, but bullying has become so rampant in our schools that it's a good idea to keep resources handy to educate students year-round on this harmful and serious problem.
A collection of Oklahoma education-related news of the week.