August 12th Edition

Responding to a Potential COVID Positive Case in Your School

After the first three days of school, we had our first potential positive COVID scare. I received the information on a Saturday evening that two students were presumed positive and spent all of Sunday working together with the health department on the next course of action. I was asked to go in and measure 6 feet from where the students were seated and those students within that perimeter were contacted by the health department and asked to quarantine. 

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Leadership Coaching: Leading Change

In this article Jimmy Casas shares 1 Reflection, 2 Ideas, and 1 Resource for your consideration in your role as coach and change agent.

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Effective Back-to-School Communication in a Turbulent Time

While we find ourselves in unprecedented times, the fundamentals of communication and the way we can engage critical stakeholders now and at the beginning of the school year has not changed.   In this article, I introduce you to some resources designed to help you communicate now and over the next several weeks. 

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Building Educator Compassion Resilience During Crisis

As schools plan students’ return amidst unprecedented challenges, there is a growing emphasis on educator well-being as a central component of these efforts.  This emphasis stems from the understanding that supporting students in healing and re-engaging in education requires educators themselves to feel safe, supported, and valued. Given the cumulative toll of the pandemic and work for racial justice, many educators may be experiencing compassion fatigue. 

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Important COVID Updates

  • Flexibility: DPI released the COVID Flexibility Application on August 7th so that districts can make multiple waiver requests in one application.  The Department is holding an informational zoom meeting today with district administrators on the application.  The meeting is being recorded and will be posted under the “Announcements” section of the AWSA COVID page.
  • Guidance: The DHS is planning on announcing further guidance related to 1) community spread, 2) school outbreak, and, 3) sports in the next week.  There will be a zoom meeting with district administrators and local health officials next week on this new guidance.  This meeting will be recorded and posted under the “Announcements” section of the AWSA COVID page
  • Funding: There is an enormous concern throughout the country about the devastating impact of COVID on state budgets for 2020-21.  In Wisconsin, estimates show a potential $1 billion hole in next year’s budget which would necessitate deep cuts in education or heavy state borrowing.  The Governor recently announced a budget cut of $250 million for this year.  In May, the House passed the HEROES Act which included $90 billion for state stabilization funding to fill state budget deficits ($58 billion dedicated to education).  It will be critical for the US Senate to pass legislation that includes stabilization funding.  AWSA with our partners in the School Administrators Alliance sent this letter to Senators Baldwin and Johnson on July 23. 
Mike Thompson has released the following message concerning ESSER and Guidance Updates

August 26th Edition

PK-12 Best Practices for Remote Teaching and Learning

In this article, Naomi Harm, provides effective blended teaching and learning strategies and solutions. 

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“Going to School” During A Pandemic

In this article, Malina Piontek, provides information on key COVID-related legal issues.

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2019 Wisconsin Act 118: Updates to the Use of Seclusion and Physical Restraint in Schools

On March 4, 2020, the new pupil restraint and seclusion law went into immediate effect upon the signature of Governor Evers and is now in Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 118 General School Operations at §118.305. Act 118 includes new provisions school principals are responsible for implementing. 

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COVID Updates

  • On August 24th the DPI updated its COVID-19 regulatory flexibility framework with new provisions on attendance, drills (fire, tornado, and safety), educator effectiveness, hours of instruction, open enrollment, and truancy. 
  • DHS Guidance on Outbreaks in Schools: On August 19, DHS released Guidelines for the Prevention, Investigation, and Control of COVID-19 Outbreaks in K-12 Schools.  DHS was also expected to release a decision-making framework to guide schools and local health officials determine the appropriate mode of instruction based on the COVID conditions in their community.  On August 24, DHS announced on a zoom meeting with district administrators and local health officials that it no longer intended to release the decision-making framework.  
  • Your own self-care may be as important as anything else right now. So AWSA is facilitating 45 minute start-of-the-school-year sessions, where we will acknowledge the leadership situation for what it is, connect you with your PLN, and collectively find means to grow the resilience and wholeness in ourselves that we hope to nurture in others.

School in the Time of the Coronavirus

In my new illustrated children’s book, School in the Time of the Coronavirus, resilience-focused coping strategies are modeled throughout the story.  The book follows Maria and her mother as they prepare to return to school during the coronavirus pandemic.  This beautifully illustrated, relatable story is a safe, engaging way for parents and teachers to talk to kids about thoughts and feelings related to this transition.  

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