The guidance in the toolkit will be adjusted over the coming weeks based on feedback and the evolving situation with COVID-19.
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Individualizing Responses for Student Needs
Identifying the potential learning gaps of students due to educational changes from COVID-19 will assist districts and schools in providing targeted support and resources to students. In addition, re-engaging students who may have dropped out of school or lost contact over the spring and summer may involve creative approaches to locate and re-engage them. Likewise, reaching out to English Language Learners and their families to address the impacts of the educational changes is important to responding to all students' needs. To best understand the needs of the student, provide 2-way communication opportunities and outreach that leads with understanding the student and the family approach first. We’ve also added information to support students and families experiencing homelessness and housing instability; outreach and support from school districts will be critical to ensure these students have educational access, resources and continuity.
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- Review data such as attendance, assignment completion, students “off-track” before March, READ plans, English Learners, students receiving special education services and engagement during remote learning.
- Identify students who, at the time of school closures, were not meeting grade-level expectations, AND who have not engaged in remote learning.
- Consider utilizing December 2019 to March 2020 school/district interim data and teacher recommendations based on classroom observations, class work, and assessments.
- Develop or enhance processes for 2019-20 teachers to share their knowledge of students’ strengths and areas for focus with their 2020-21 teacher(s).
- Consider how to clarify the difference between home-bound instruction for a medically fragile child with a disability versus virtual or remote learning at home. Home-bound instruction may be provided by in-person supports.
- Engage the regional migrant program if the child is migrant.
- Initiate the communication now with students and families, and maintain the interactions.
- Heighten and target already developed family engagement protocols to reach students and families who are unresponsive, e.g.: use family engagement liaisons, make individual phone calls, connect during food deliveries, reach out to friends/neighbors
- Consider new families who have moved to your district and activate engagement centers to capture and build relationships with them.
- Focus on building intentional relationships that acknowledge personal circumstances and challenges, e.g., on-going technology challenges, delays and access, family and work responsibilities.
- For in-person, assign a school-based case manager for weekly check-in’s. For virtual, assign staff to establish one-to-one connection with disengaged students.
- Consider staffing: Who do you have that can be leveraged? What needs are present based on specific district and site situations? How can wrap-around services be initiated?
- Consider school librarians for connecting to students and families for re-engaging and for ongoing tech support.
- 2019-2020 Distance Learning Guidance to address impacts on instruction for ELs during school closures and distance learning.
- Determine how students provisionally identified as English Learners will participate in the standardized identification procedures. Likewise, consider how students who were provisionally redesignated from programming to confirm their English Proficiency.
- 2019-2020 Interim English Learner Identification and Placement Procedures for the identification of English Learners (ELs) during periods of suspensions of in-person learning due to COVID-19.
- Use accommodations that translate easily to distance learning, i.e., allow for extra time to modify work and opportunities to re-do and resubmit work.
- Avoid using students who are English Language Learners as translators or interpreters when communicating with their parents/caregivers.
- Aid English Language Learners’ comprehension of instructions by providing support such as graphic organizers and visuals.
- Engage the school district’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Liaison if the student is experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
- The McKinney-Vento Liaison is a primary point of contact for students who have lost housing due to COVID-19 (or any other reason). Liaisons help identify, enroll, and support the education of students experiencing homelessness.
- Access contact information for Colorado liaisons by school district and the duties and responsibilities of the local liaison.
- Work with the McKinney-Vento Liaison to determine “best interest” and whether McKinney-Vento students can stay in their school of origin.
- Establish streamlined connections to ensure McKinney-Vento students get immediate enrollment into school (even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment) and immediate access to free school meals.
- Read the COVID-19 McKinney-Vento Homeless Education FAQ for resources and information on educational rights and protections for students who have experienced housing loss or instability
- Review local policies to ensure they do not create new barriers for McKinney-Vento students including identification, transportation, and full participation
- Determine the potential needs of different re-entry models on students experiencing homelessness (i.e. access to PPE, internet access, child care, meal distribution, credit accrual, trauma, SEL)