All Posts by Emily Pratt

Guide to Leveraging ESSER Stimulus Funding for Long-term Success

How the American Rescue Plan federal stimulus funding is allocated in K-12

March 11, 2021 was a historic day for school funding in this country. When President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, he immediately committed $123 billion for K-12 education in the United States. 

That’s the largest amount of federal funding ever dedicated to schooling. Combined with the $72 billion from two COVID-19 relief packages passed last year, it means schools have received about $195 billion in aid; that’s nearly double the $100 billion K-12 schools received after the 2009 recession. 

On top of that good news is a relative lack of restraints limitations on how schools can spend this money. But there are rules, as well as deadlines, and school officials who best understand these rules will be able to better use these federal funds to boost learning for their students. 

This guide explains the terminology of the bill, unwinds how the money will travel to states and schools, and details exactly how this funding can be spent by school officials. It also highlights the deadlines associated with the various forms of funding. 

The difference between ESSER funds

As an educational expert, you are likely already steeped in dozens of acronyms, so here are some more. The money from the three coronavirus relief bills makes up what is called ESSER funds, the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund. The $13 billion for education from the first COVID-19 relief bill, the CARES Act passed in March 2020, is known as ESSER I. The $54 billion from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) makes up ESSER II. This bill was passed in December 2020. The $123 billion from the American Rescue Plan is known as ARP ESSER or ESSER III. All of these funds are also referred to as the Education Stabilization Fund. 

Right now, your district’s CARES money has likely been spent. In fact, it’s a requirement to exhaust those funds before schools spend ESSER II monies. The deadline to spend ESSER II funds is September 30, 2023. 

In the new Rescue Plan, federal money is doled out to states based on existing Title 1 funding. Even though the money goes to states, at least 87.5 percent must be passed on to schools. As a rough estimate, schools should expect to receive about 2.2 times the amount of funding received under ESSER II. In general, the average new funding per student is about $2,500, although some high-poverty areas may get significantly more money.

Although states are allowed to keep 12.5 percent of the money, which is roughly $15.4 billion, there are three areas where state money must be spent. State officials have to set aside 5 percent of their funds to address learning loss, one percent for evidence-based summer enrichment, and another one percent for evidence-based comprehensive after-school programs. States also cannot cut their own funding for schools in 2022 or 2023, and states cannot pass laws that disproportionately impact high-poverty schools.

How schools can use ESSER federal stimulus funding

While there is great latitude in how school districts can spend the bulk of these funds, there are some rules that must be followed. Within 30 days of receiving funding, districts must publish a plan to reopen schools for in-person instruction. In addition, at least 20 percent of the funds schools get need to be spent to address learning loss through evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. As of right now, there has not been a clear-cut definition of what will qualify as an evidence-based program for these areas.

The remaining funds can be used for any allowable use under these four acts: 

  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, and
  • Adult Education and Family Literacy Act

One government funding expert said, “It’s easier to list the things the money can’t be used for.” It is expected that some states will issue guidance to school districts, but that advice will not lock districts into any sort of spending commitment. 

Professional development is a major area where these funds can be spent, as . A 2015 report from TNTP estimated that schools typically spend $18,000 a year on professional development for every teacher. That figure is likely to increase as schools scramble to accelerate learning coming out of the pandemic. Teachers today will need to know not only which skills are key, but how to diagnose unfinished learning, and use that data to create new pacing guidelines.

As districts now face challenges like student learning loss, teacher burnout, and new compliance requirements, MobileMind HQ can serve as your central hub, minimizing and remediating the impact of COVID-19 on teachers and, ultimately, their students. As a school or district leader, you can leverage MobileMind HQ to create, facilitate, and manage district-specific, activity-based micro-courses with streamlined tracking and reporting all in one place. Address learning loss with MobileMind and support your teachers with PD initiatives that remediate or accelerate learning, such as:

  • Training for summer enrichment and after-school programs
  • Offering 1:1 tutoring support 
  • Streamlining PLC and data team activities 
  • Engaging teachers in grade-level or content-specific remediation strategies
  • Improving how teachers engage learners in a blended or virtual environment

There are endless possibilities when it comes to the PD that leaders can include in MobileMind’s professional learning hub. From personalized, project-based, or social-emotional learning, to procedures and policies around safety, MobileMind is the one place teachers know to go for any training they need. 

Leaders can also use MobileMind to share how teachers and staff can utilize other technology programs, such as a district SIS/LMS, interactive white boards, or other technology that supports learning in the classroom. Best of all, educators can determine their own learning pace and can complete micro-courses anytime, anywhere - and receive feedback from certified educators along the way!  Administrators appreciate the ability to conveniently track learner progress on courses, badges, and learning paths.

If COVID-19 and distance learning has taught us anything, it's that PD must be agile, as skill requirements and circumstances change. It’s vital for districts to have the ability to pivot instruction and continue to offer quality learning experiences for kids.

Even as more schools return to in-person education, technology-enhanced learning is not going away.  Schools will need to refine how their teachers provide instruction and support student learning, and professional development can help teachers improve upon their current practices. In addition, if your district is returning to a traditional classroom setting, it’s important to ensure your teachers don’t lose the instructional technology skills they gained throughout distance learning.

Leaders can use MobileMind to achieve this through activity-based, asynchronous professional development. Use ESSER funds to streamline PD and allow you to create, manage, and track all of your district's PD activities related to addressing the impact of COVID-19 and the abrupt shift to distance learning.

Important ESSER spending deadlines  

The timing of spending all this money follows a simple pattern. Funds from ESSER I have to be fully allocated before funds from ESSER II are used. Similarly, funds from ESSER II must be allocated before the latest round of funding, ESSER III, can be tapped. 

ESSER I funds must be allocated by September 30, 2022. ESSER II funds’ deadline is a year later, on September 30, 2023. The deadline for the biggest pot of money, ESSER III, is December 30, 2024. Note that these funds must be allocated by the dates listed, but that doesn’t mean all the funds have to be spent by those dates. School districts are in compliance if their officials have entered a contract for the money even if all the money hasn’t been paid out by the above deadlines. 

One final area of funding is the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. This money comes from the federal government and is earmarked for emergency assistance from the coronavirus. These grants are typically case focused. GEER funding is split into two streams: one part, $1.3 billion, is for both K-12 and higher ed. But $2.75 billion is set aside for emergency assistance for non-public schools. While governors administer this funding, non-public schools have to apply to local educational agencies to get these funds.

Schedule a call with MobileMind for more information about how to maximize the impact of your district’s federal stimulus funding for professional development!


Schools’ Essential Guide To Google Classroom – Time-Saving Tips & Hacks You Need To Know

Google Classroom is Google's very own hub or landing spot for classroom connectivity and collaboration. This free tool helps educators easily manage and assess the progress of learners, whether it be from school or in the comfort of their own homes! 

Google Classroom allows you to set up a class within minutes. This not only simplifies both teaching and learning, it is also a great way to enhance communication with both students and guardians.

Unsure of where to start with Google Classroom?

Discover how to create/manage your class and assignments in minutes.

Create A Class

After you log into Google, click on your nine dots in the top right-hand corner.  It is here you will find all of your Google Apps. By clicking on the classroom icon you can see all of the classes you have created. If this is the first time you are logging into Classroom, you might be prompted to indicate whether you are a teacher or student; make sure you select teacher. Next, click the plus sign in the top right-hand corner and select “create class”. When the pop-up window appears, you can then name your class and simply click “create again”. 

Once your class has been created, you can change the theme that has automatically been selected for you. To do this, look in the bottom right-hand corner of the banner and choose “select theme”. Your choices will appear in a gallery and you’ll be able to choose one that appropriately represents your content matter. Once you have decided, select “class theme”. 

You can also upload your own photo matching banner dimensions of 1000x250 pixels, however, different sized images may not work within the banner. 

How To Add Your Students

Next, we’re going to discuss how you can add students to your classroom

At the top of your classroom, you will notice four tabs; stream, classwork, people and grades. In this instance, we are only going to be looking at the “people” tab. This is where you can add students, parents or other teachers to your classroom. The first way to add students is to go to the people tab and look under the students heading, then click the “add people” icon. From this point, you will be able to enter your students email addresses manually or copy and paste them from a list, if you have one available to you. 

Once they log in, they will automatically see the class icon appear and can simply click “join.” While this may be more time consuming on your part, it is easier for your students. 

The second way you can add students to your class is by giving them a join code.  This is most common. You can find this code at the bottom of the people tab before you add students. In addition to this, you can also find it by clicking on the settings gear, where the class code can always be found. By clicking on the arrow next to the code, you can display it larger on your screen. Once you have copied your code you can paste it anywhere you would like, such as an email, text or class website. The code can also be reset or disabled if you wish for your students to no longer join using this code, once it has expired.

To join the classroom, students can log in to Google Classroom and click the plus sign followed by “join.” They will then need to enter the code provided and will automatically be accepted into the classroom. 

How To Create Announcements for Your Students

Now that you know a little bit about how Google Classroom is set up, we can take a look at how to create an announcement for your class. This is great for when you need to give reminders to students or simply make general announcements.

When you click on the classroom that you will be working with, it will open up into the stream. From looking at the four tabs at the top of your screen you will see stream, classwork, people and grades. The stream is where you can post both general announcements or reminders. At the top of the screen there is also a box that says “announce something to your class,” this is where you can type general announcements. 

Once this has been clear, this will open your announcement window where you have a number of different options to choose from. 

If you'd like to send your announcement to more than one class, click on the drop-down arrow next to the name of the current classroom that you're in. Then check the boxes next to the classes that you would like to receive this information. 

If you do choose to send the announcement to more than one class, then you do not have the option of sending it to specific students. However, if you send your announcement to only one class, you can choose which students you would like to receive your announcement. This feature is especially useful when you are trying to differentiate or communicate to students on an individual basis. To do this, simply click the drop-down arrow next to “all students,” you should then see a list of all the students that are enrolled in your class and you can then choose accordingly. 

From here you can type the information needed for your announcement, as well as attach documents, files, images, videos or links by choosing where you want to get your attachment from. Keep in mind that when in the announcement feature all files will be viewable and not editable by students.

When you have finished entering the information you need, click “post” to add it to your stream. This will allow all students to see your announcement when they first click into your classroom.

How To Create Assignments for Your Students

Let's keep going in the class work tab in Google Classroom. If you have not yet done so, we highly recommend first creating topics so you can best organize your Google Classroom for your students.  

You can also create assignments for when you want students to turn in their work, this can be done via the class work tab in Google Classroom. It is here you can also create a spot for classroom materials that you want your students to have access to.

It's important to note that, in order for your classroom to run seamlessly, we suggest that files are pulled from your Google Drive and not from your computer. You can visit settings in Drive to automatically convert all files uploaded into Drive to Google editor format.

You can use the topics previously set up when creating your assignments. To do this click on the create button and choose “assignment.” Like the other Google Classroom features, you can choose to send an assignment to more than one class or to specific students. There may be many instances where you might want to send an assignment to just a small group of students in order to differentiate or for group work. Remember that if you choose more than one class to send this to, you will not have the option to send to specific students. 

Next, you can fill out your assignment title, instructions, points for the assignment, due date and of course topic. If you select to use grade categories in the settings of your class, you will see the option to choose a grade category and it will have a default point value that you chose in your settings. However, you can change the point value as needed. 

You will have multiple attachment options, including documents from your computer, drive, videos or links to other websites, which you can also include within your assignment. 

If you want to allow your students to type on the document and simply hit “turn in”, you will need to attach a file. To do this, click the Google Drive icon and select the file you wish to attach to the assignment and click “Add.” You will now see the options for student viewing or editing. Then click the drop-down menu beside the words “students can view file.” 

You will have the following options to choose from:

  • Option one- Students can view file: This will allow students to view the file only, they will not be able to edit. 
  • Option two- Students can edit file: This will allow all students to edit the same document, brainstorm or sign up for a topic.
  • Option three- Make a copy for each student: This option automatically generates an editable copy for each student individually, allowing students to edit the document and turn it into you without saving or downloading.  This is the most commonly used setting if you wish for students to each complete their own version of the file.

The drop-down arrow next to the word “assign” gives you the option to assign now, you can save this assignment as a draft, or schedule the assignment to go out at a later time. 

Many teachers like to give students access to classroom materials but don't require anything from them in return, this can also be done within the “classwork” tab. We would recommend creating a topic for each unit labelled “class materials.” 

You can keep materials separate from your assignments by going to “create” and choose “materials”. When adding your files, it is the same process as adding an assignment, the difference being you will not have the option to make a copy for all students. 

You can however add several files to one post or create separate posts. If you don't want the students to be able to edit your document, you will need to confirm that your file is on “view only” in your sharing settings. Once you add materials to the appropriate topic, the student will be able to view any files you add.

We’ve taken you through how you can use Google Classroom to support your distance learning. Using announcements, topics, and assignments in Google Classroom will help you streamline teaching and learning in the virtual environment. 


We have hundreds of videos and micro-courses that can help support your G Suite for Education in your school or district. Simply click here to book a call with  MobileMind.


Utilizing GSuite for Education – Distance learning made easier over school breaks

Distance learning is becoming a necessity in our everyday lives, both as educators and students. This is not just limited to school time, but also over school breaks. Even during the current circumstances, it’s still incredibly easy for students to face daily distractions or become unmotivated to complete assignments. As educators, tackling these challenges can sometimes be difficult, but is certainly not impossible with the right preparation and communication in place.

Below we go over what to consider when it comes to distance learning over school breaks and what you can implement to make it easier for both yourself and your students.

Prevent Distractions With Engaging Resources

Typically the completion of school work during a school break isn’t in the forefront of a students mind. In order to overcome this, learning resources need to be engaging and visually appealing, whether it be via documents, presentations, video or audio.

A great way to ensure more interest on the students' part is by varying the learning resources available to them. Taking more of a differentiated approach as opposed to just sending all students the same old text-filled files is a great start.

Google docs and Google Slides  are two great alternatives for providing more engaging information to your students, making education more exciting and easily digestible. 

How To Make Your Google Documents and Presentations More Engaging

Google Docs:

  • Guide students on exactly what they need to do and how they can achieve specific outcomes. This will not only improve communication, but also eliminates any unnecessary downtime spent by students trying to understand what is required from them.
  • Link to websites that provide valuable information relevant to your subject matter. This limits the amount of time students need to spend browsing external sites and makes their research path clearer. 
  • Ensure information is segmented out in a way that makes it easier for students to navigate the document.
  • Incorporate imagery to break up text and make your resources easy to digest. This also caters to those who are visual learners.
  • Use bullet points and tables where possible to further structure your information.

Google Slides:

Follow the instructions listed above, however you can add these too: 

  • Incorporate image, video and audio files to cater to both auditory and visual learners.
  • Indicate in your presentation when you are moving onto a new subject matter or section of the assignment. Use strategies such a new title slides, new slide colors or headers, or clearly indicating topic shifts in the notes section.

Connect to Students with Technology

When it comes to distance learning over school breaks, having access to the necessary platforms to complete assigned tasks is vital, as well as ensuring both incomplete and completed assignments are stored in one easily accessible place. This not only helps you organize and assign new work to your students, but it also makes working from home easier for them, leaving room for more productivity and prevents loss of interest due to poorly managed assignments which are hard to access.

Utilising online tools such as Google Classroom and Google Drive is a great place to start! 

Google Drive

Google Drive is a central hub for the secure storage and easy access of your files; whether that be documents, presentations, audio or video files. From your drive you can easily share these files with your students, their guardians, and your colleagues.

With the potential of home distractions being more prevalent than ever before, ensuring that students have access to well-organized materials will reduce the likelihood of potential online distractions, which may lead to procrastination and the incompletion of work.

Whether it’s sharing documents with individuals or your entire class, the simplicity of Drive makes it an easy to manage and accessible solution for both educators and students alike.

Google Classroom

This is a free solution for both educators and students, where you can set up classes, post assignments and provide insightful feedback to your students efficiently and effectively. You can even differentiate and personalize content and assignments for different students. Classroom not only allows your students to get started on work with little distraction time, but it also provides you with the opportunity to plan your semester in advance, giving structure to your workload.

Additional Features That Will Improve Your Classroom Experience

  • Organizing your classrooms with topics will allow you to easily keep track of the units you have taught, create and announce assignments, as well as locate existing assignments.
  • Add due dates to your assignments. This is an effective way of giving your students a target to work towards. With a sense of urgency created, they are more likely to complete the work assigned to them over their school break.
  • Add some engaging learning materials and resources to your classroom before creating your class.

If you are using any education apps, ensure you are making full use of the Google Classroom integration opportunities that are available. Unsure if the apps you use can be integrated with Google Classroom? Click here to find out! 

Consider Home Dynamics

It is understandable that during school breaks students lack the strict schedule we are used to seeing within a regular school day. Therefore, it’s important to cater to this difference in the most effective way possible. 

A common issue that we tend to face is a lack of internet access. To account for this, Google Drive has a feature known as “offline mode.” This is easy for your students to enable while connected to wifi so they are still able to access docs, sheets and slides should their internet become unstable.

Communicate with Parents, Teachers, and Students 

Due to the amount of communication typically carried out over school breaks being limited, upfront communication is key to prevent any confusion from both your students and their guardians.  Fortunately, Google Classroom allows you to communicate with both students and parents via email. 

Posting and scheduling announcements is a very effective way to communicate with your class to provide helpful reminders (i.e. when an assignment is due or to provide additional information on a topic or tips for their current assignment.)

Classroom also includes a feature where guardians can receive email summaries on any assignment changes and updates. The guardian summary feature allows parents and guardians to opt into automatic updates about announcements, class activities, upcoming assignments, and missed work. This is especially useful over school breaks; using this will not only ensure there is no breakdown of communication, but will also provide parents with the necessary resources in the instance students need help completing the given task. 

Throughout the pandemic, MobileMind has taken the lead on supporting schools and districts with their distance learning, providing free resources on how to use G Suite for Education and how to use it effectively and efficiently.  In addition, the Google for Education team has been listening to educators and has made several improvements to key classroom apps over the past year. Distance Learning with G Suite for Education has never been easier.

If you have already purchased or are planning to purchase G Suite Enterprise for Education licenses, visit the following link to see how you can claim FREE Google Professional Development Services.

Google Shouldn’t be the Only Hero of Your School’s PD Story

Once upon a time, there was Google. And Google was a hero...as usual.

Here’s a short story of how a different hero saved one school's PD.

A crazy, record-setting deep freeze has just swept the nation. As a result, it left the schools across the U.S. in a mad scramble to provide remote learning for their students.

 “Flee from here!” 

“Go home!”

“Take a computer with you!” 

It became a virtual learning frenzy!

Consequently, all the educators and leaders of the districts needed guidance.

So, Google came to the rescue, of course, and did not disappoint.

In fact, the educators were amazed at the generous amount of educational resources at their fingertips...for free!

“Our virtual learning problems are over!” the leaders exclaimed. 

So, one day, the leaders of the districts called a virtual gathering on Google Meet.

They wanted to check-in with their faithful subjects.

But, what they heard...was disturbing.

They didn't hear how smoothly everything was going or how great it was to teach from home.  They heard murmurings full of pain and anguish.

For instance, one teacher stated, “There is so much available, I don’t know where to begin or how to use half of it.”

“I thought I was decent with technology, but I’m more confused than ever,” said another teacher.

“How are we supposed to: 

  • get the teachers up to speed with all of this technology,
  • provide professional learning that makes sense,
  • and have a way to monitor progress?” exclaimed the technology specialist.

Sound familiar?

Ok, let’s cut to real-time. 

Yes, that’s a dramatic, silly story, but guess what?

It is so realistic.

The Real School PD Story

Education is unbelievably demanding on all fronts. With weather craziness and the unfortunate challenges presented by a global pandemic, I bet there isn’t one teacher out there saying, 

“Bring on another computer program for me to try and figure out. I have all the time in the world!”

Let’s face it, administrators and tech specialists don’t have time to undergo lengthy training on how to effectively integrate new or existing technology into their school's PD either. 

So, what ends up happening? All of these outstanding resources  Google for Education provides are simply not used to their full potential or, worse, not used at all. 

What a waste.

Schools need a plan to ensure that technology works seamlessly together to support student learning during this difficult time. 

Educators need professional development that is personalized, practical, and convenient.

In other words, they need a hero...someone to save the day by making their life easier, not harder.

Sound too much like a fairytale?

What Is a Professional Learning Platform?

First of all, it’s not a fairytale.

It’s real, logical, and life-changing for teachers right now.

A professional learning platform houses all of a school's PD (and so much more) in one learning hub, available at the click of a button through our Chrome extension.

MobileMind is an example of an all-in-one professional learning platform that offers teachers:

  • Personalized professional learning (Teachers can begin at their skill level.)
  • Micro-courses (Information is chunked into short bursts and easy to digest.)
  • Human feedback (Certified teachers grade their challenges and offer helpful, live feedback.)

This platform offers administrators:

  • Progress Reporting (They can view progress and track and collect data for accountability purposes.)

If you are interested in learning more about MobileMind’s all-in-one platform, click here and schedule a call.

How to Choose a Professional Learning Platform

It is not easy to choose the most effective professional learning platform for your school's PD.

This is a huge decision. 

Technology is front and center. 

But, if teachers don’t know how to integrate technology into their classrooms effectively, they miss rich opportunities to transform learning by using it. 

However, choosing the right platform doesn’t just affect teachers. 

In addition, it affects the technology coaches, professional learning specialists, and administrators.

That’s a lot of people to keep happy, and each of these professionals has very different needs and expectations that the school's PD platform must accommodate. 

Technology Coaches 

The technology team needs something easy to roll out to all staff members, including administration.

Gone are the days of gathering everyone in the library or cafeteria for hours at a time to have professional training on a new computer program.

MobileMind is so user-friendly that the tech coach or instructional leader can simply tell the staff to check their email, click the link, and get started. 

It’s truly a breeze from there. 

Administrators

School and district leaders need a platform that allows them to view learning progress and access information they can collect for reporting and accountability.

MobileMind offers leaderboards.  They show who the top-performing learners are, the learning paths they are taking, badges earned, and even compliance reports to compare learners’ progress.

The MobileMind HQ plan has an area where Administrators can even develop learning paths specific to their school, including onboarding new teachers. These paths cover everything a new teacher has to read, sign, learn – you name it.

As a result, it makes training new employees nearly effortless.

Teachers

Teachers need online PD that is easy. They are already overwhelmed with all of the technology currently available to them. 

Learning that is personalized and self-paced is a huge bonus. The reason being, teachers have very different skill levels when it comes to technology. 

An all-in-one platform like MobileMind allows teachers to set their learning pace, choose their learning path, do hands-on challenges, and get feedback from certified teachers.

In addition, they can do it all from the comfort of their own home when it fits their schedule.

Practical Professional Learning Is Not a Fairytale

In conclusion, the right platform for your school's PD should be personalized, practical, and convenient. 

MobileMind has impacted over 11,000 teachers who have completed over 242,000 micro-courses. 

So, will you be the hero of your school’s PD story?

You will be, if you deliver your school’s professional learning through a user-friendly, impactful platform.

And...we would love to help you with that.

For more information about MobileMind, book a call with us at mobilemind.io/schedule-call.

The Teacher Professional Development Controversy: Is It Just a Joke? Or More Effective Than Ever?

“I’m about as professionally developed as I need to be.”

Those are the actual sentiments about teacher professional development from Eddie B., a teacher turned comedian. He has a huge YouTube following of loyal teacher fans. Why?  Because he gets to the heart of their pain through laughter.

It’s no secret that the workload for teachers has become increasingly difficult with demands that seem unrealistic to fulfill. This has led to teacher shortages across the entire country. But now, with the hybrid of remote / face-to-face learning, ramped-up safety precautions due to COVID-19, and a greater diversity in students’ needs to add to the mix…teacher professional development is more critical than ever.

And teachers are seeking better professional development programs as another school year is underway with COVID-19 safety practices in place. Let’s look at the goals of teacher PD.

Goals of Professional Development

According to research completed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, student achievement can improve by as much as 21 percentile points if “teachers receive substantial professional development.”

We’ll revisit “substantial” in a moment. But first, let’s look at some of the goals administrators.

They may seek teacher professional development that

  • Trains teachers new technology
  • Prepares teachers for leadership positions
  • Creates awareness of different learning styles
  • Gains a deeper understanding of subject material or standards to be taught
  • Supports brand new teachers
  • Reviews school procedures or learn new ones
  • Learns time management and organizational skills

There is no doubt the value professional development provides teachers. So why has it caused teachers to cringe in the past?

PD Goals vs. Teacher Reality

According to an article from Education Week, What Do Teachers Really Want From Professional Development? Respect, by Sarah Schwartz, teachers’ needs haven’t been put first.

Here are some of their complaints:

  • Courses cover skills mastered years ago.
  • Courses are irrelevant to the subject they teach.
  • They are not given the freedom to choose what courses they need.

PD like this, teachers say, doesn’t respect their experience, expertise, or time.

Let’s face it. Teachers want to be in their classrooms teaching. BUT…they also want to improve their teaching skills—especially now as they are having to adjust to their new world post Covid.

What Teachers Really Want from Professional Development

Last year teachers felt there was a lack of guidance.  There was a mad dash to figure out how to move everything to remote learning and teaching suffered as a result. This caused confusion among students, teachers and parents.  And teachers want to be better prepared this year.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, Help Us Get Better at Remote Instruction, NYC Public School Teachers Ask by By Leslie Brody and Katie Honan, teachers want direction on how to better implement online learning in these areas:

  • Choosing the most important content for an online format
  • Assessing students’ understanding over a screen
  • Providing meaningful feedback when there is less direct interaction
  • Pacing and developing tasks for learning offline

So, when that precious time is consumed with training that isn’t even applicable to them… Do you wonder why they might see it as a joke?

Even if professional development has been a priority for district leaders, their efforts are worthless if teachers see it as a waste of time. So, how do we change this? Put teachers in the driver’s seat of their professional learning path.

Professional Development Best Practices

How do we keep our teachers informed and up to date on the latest skills, tools, and ways of teaching?

As the pandemic swept across our nation at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, teachers had to make immediate changes to the way they traditionally taught.

There was a mad dash to take their technical skills to a new level, find out what programs offered solutions, and keep students engaged all without traditional face-to-face instruction.

According to Education Week, this is what teachers need now:

Source: Education Week Reportinghttps://lh6.googleusercontent.com/AU0adF2xQ14VViRcG0M5u3W4YUMHmHRcSLwfkn-AhsfFB33FIUCw706Ur3MQID0F6nPtzOSMdA-mkLDKOO0VUSRootB-DXa_P6-rpyRMYI8Y3RDS5bycwVlPd8wHpweB4R9LyJxh

Teachers need “substantial” programs where they are getting specialized instruction that they need in specific areas. A “substantial” program would mean they are learning new ways of teaching, how to pivot in the wake of Covid-19, and filling learning gaps where they know they are lacking.

How District Leaders Can Meet the Professional Learning Needs of Their Teachers

For many years, administrators have expected teachers to provide differentiated instruction to their students. This means they are required to accommodate learners. They have to adjust their curriculum to make sense for the students by meeting them where they are.  Shouldn’t the same be expected of the administrators when it comes to teacher professional development?

Not all teachers need the same professional development. By providing teachers the opportunity to pick and choose the courses they want and need, professional development becomes much more effective. If district leaders and administrators respect their teachers and want the very best for them, teacher driven professional learning is a win win.

Teachers know where their weaknesses lie, what courses would fill those gaps, and are fully capable of doing it on their own schedule. The teachers are accountable for their learning and as a result… In the driver’s seat. A concept that’s long overdue.  And…that is no joke.

If you would like more information on how to promote teacher driven professional learning all-in-one learning platform, please feel free to reach out to us at info@mmmarketing.onpressidium.com

MobileMind HQ beta has launched!

MobileMind HQ beta has launched! Even more exciting, all of our new features are now available to our districts and schools at no extra cost!  You have 60 days to opt in and take advantage of this incredible offer.  We have free webinars scheduled (beginning Oct 8), Click here for more info on the webinars and individual sessions, or go ahead and schedule a free virtual individualized coaching session with our success team.

MobileMind HQ extends our current product offering to allow districts to leverage the power of MobileMind for internal creation, communication, and reporting. As a group of former teachers and administrators, we understand the number of trainings, compliance modules, and PD initiatives that are required throughout a given year. Our goal with MobileMind HQ is to provide a single home to manage and report on these wide-ranging activities while leveraging MobileMind’s innovative and intuitive technology for improved results. As part of MobileMind HQ you’ll be able to:

Create

  • Courses - Create your own courses with challenges for your educators /staff based on the needs of your school/district. We’ve compiled a list of ideas to get you started.
  • Badges - Create your very own badges to award for completion of a set of MobileMind courses, your own courses, or a combination. 
  • Learning Paths - Create your own learning paths to curate a list of MobileMind courses, your own courses, or a combination.  Arrange them in any structure you wish for your educators and staff (Example: New Teacher Learning Path consisting of school policy courses you create, as well as some MobileMind Google training they will need to be successful.)

Review

  •  Review/Grade - Each course you create comes with a challenge that leverages multiple choice, text, URL, and image submissions. Anything beyond multiple choice (which are auto-graded) will appear on the organization's reviewer page for you and your team to evaluate.

Report

  • Enhanced reporting - In addition to enhancing our existing reports, we are introducing a Learning Path report and a Compliance report.  With this MobileMind hq compliance report, you will easily be able to see who has and has not completed learning paths, badges, or even individual courses.  (Example: If all new teachers must complete a New Teacher Learning Path, you will see at a glance who still needs to complete the training). Step by Step Instructions

Manage

  • Manage your teachers - Additionally, all district / school leaders will now have the ability to manage their own users and groups.  Step by Step Instructions 

As is normal for a beta product, we can’t guarantee a totally smooth ride. If you come across any issues, we’d love to hear about them. Please report any issues directly to the support team.

Orange Students head back to school with potential 3 phases including MobileMind

The following is taken from Orange Town News. Read the full report here.

Orange Town News, in Connecticut, are reporting that students are to return to the classroom from 31st August in a potential 3 phase approach having spent nearly a year out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under what the district refers to as ‘key mitigation strategies,’ there will be mandatory face coverings, cleaning/hygiene protocols, cohorting, social distancing, a thorough cleaning of the HVAC system and families encouraged to drive students to school.

Vince Scarpetti, Superintendent, said; ‘The summer always passes by pretty fast, but by no surprise, this summer went by in a flash and a blink of an eye...Administrators, teachers and parents were very busy getting ready for the beginning of the school year.’

He said parents had a big decision to make, whether to send their kids back to school and that one of the biggest concerns from parents was around what remote learning will look like in the first phase.  “Another question that’s come up is ‘am I able to change my mind?’  Absolutely, yes,” Scarpetti says.  “This is a personal decision that families need to make based on what’s right for them.  We support all of you throughout this process.  The decision to change will take place on Monday of the following week.”

“I hope that we don’t enter Phase 2, which is hybrid, or Phase 3, which is total remote.  Why do I hope that?  Because that means the metrics have changed.  But in case we do, we need to be prepared,” he says.

Evelyn Russo, curriculum director for the district says the plan, whether in school or not, focuses on social-emotional lessons with consideration of the well-being of all children.  “We have to teach students about the new protocols and procedures.  We will teach students how to work remotely if we do need to make that shift.  We know that student achievement is based on staff development,” she says.

Staff has spent the summer learning new tools and resources that they’ll need to use in today’s changed world.  “We are going to rely on MobileMind, which has learning paths and micro-courses that teach in minute-long videos and then a task which a teacher engages in and submits for feedback,” Russo explains. “They’re really internalizing the learning by actually doing it and then getting feedback. It will allow teachers to increase their knowledge at whatever level they are.  We needed teachers to become familiar with all of our distance learning tools and digital resources.”

Want to see how MobileMind can assist with your phased return to school? Simply click here to book a call with one of our team.

MobileMind in the NEWS: Electronic Education Report

Pandemic Highlights Connectivity and Preparedness

July 10, 2020: Volume 27, Number 14

The below is an exerpt from July 10, 2020: Volume 27, Number 14 of the Electronic Education Report.

Importance of PD

Tyce Miller, CEO at the personalized virtual professional development provider MobileMind (Atlanta), said many schools were not prepared for a distance learning environment because their teachers were not up to speed on how to leverage technology to teach remotely. The teachers need connection, equipment and the ability to use it effectively.

It is not just students who will need distance learning, according to Miller, teachers also will need anytime, anywhere professional learning assistance. Schools will need to be thoughtful and intentional with the goals they set for teachers, so they are not overwhelmed. Miller said teachers need to learn more than how to use a tool, they need to learn why the tool is necessary to how they instruct students.

Schools were thrust into survival mode when the pandemic hit, according to Miller, going into the new school year they need to advance to effective collaboration that engages students.

Noting any situation has a silver lining, Miller said what educators have experienced could propel them to the next level as they will not be able to go back to what they did before. For example, teachers who declined to use Google Classroom may now find it necessary. Leadership and culture will give some districts the edge; when the instructional departments and the IT departments are aligned, the results will be positive, Miller said.

1 2 3 4
Top