This year, there’s no one clear path to success for teachers and administrators. Everyone is trying to find the right strategy to meet the needs of their school, and it’s no small feat. For most schools, the school year is already underway, but uncertainty still looms – How will remediation work? Are parents happy? How do we set boundaries when things are always changing?
All of these are real questions teachers are asking and administrators are working through. We are continuing to stay in close communication with leaders in Christian education to help share how they’re addressing these issues, what’s working for them, and what’s not.
Handling Remediation Effectively
By now you know that some of the students in your school will need extra help to catch up this year. As a result, many schools are choosing to test their students more frequently throughout the school year. You can get a clear picture of the needs of your students by testing them at the beginning of the school year, and then subsequently each quarter.
Once you’ve assessed the areas your students need the most help with, there are other things you can do to bolster the opportunity for more review. For instance, by increasing “block times” for core subjects like math and English, there will be more time in those critical classes for extra review.
Teachers can also send home any review questions included in the lesson plans you weren’t able to get to in class. Extra practice is always helpful to students, even if it’s not for a grade.
Or have teachers offer students ideas for how they can handle additional review from home, and communicate those options to their parents.
Watch our recent Front Office webinar on remediation for more tips and advice from experienced Abeka teachers and administrators.
Communicate Early and Often
While parents resoundingly agree on the need to get their kids back in school, that doesn’t mean they don’t have concerns or worries. Those concerns are communicated directly to your teachers. If you work in administration, the most important thing you can do is empower your teachers by communicating with them openly and frequently about updates and changes. Without consistent communication from you, they can’t facilitate peace of mind or give answers to parents and students. If you can, provide your teachers with resources they can share with their class about changes, and always keep the door open for questions.
Encourage your teachers to send regular “newsletters” home to parents with the latest updates on their classroom specifically, and have them include school-wide news as well.
Provide Support for Teachers
First things first: Ask questions. What are your teachers in need of the most right now? Their needs will change as the year moves forward, but right now they may be realizing they need things like more training, the ability to set firmer boundaries with parent-teacher communication, or even additional technology. Bottom line – they may be seeking structure and may not feel comfortable doing that without your administrative blessing.
You won’t know what their needs are until you ask. Some teachers may be too overwhelmed or simply not feel comfortable asking for help, especially if they’re new.
Too many options can be a bad thing. Sometimes, the most helpful thing you can do for your teachers is to create a structure they can adhere to, and therefore, that their students and parents can be accountable to as well. For example, if there are a lot of tools available, limit them to only a few so teachers can master those and utilize them effectively with their classes.
On the flip side, provide them with the freedom to mandate that assignments be returned in a specific manner that works best for them. Or empower them to ask that parents communicate with them through a specific tool and only during set hours. Your support is what they need the most right now.
And lastly, if there are workshops or training sessions available related to technology, tools, or communication, offer those as frequently as possible to your teaching staff. Check out our Christian School Front Office for helpful webinars or our Professional Development website to see what’s available for teachers and administrators this year.
Through a little prayer, open dialogue, a strategy for remediation, and supporting each other, administrators and teachers can work together to make this challenging year as seamless as possible.