For school districts responding to the coronavirus pandemic, ESSER funds that were allocated under the CARES and CRRSA Acts offer a much-needed lifeline for addressing the impact of COVID-19. One of the most substantial additions to the program was additional funding to address learning loss largely due to the implementation of remote learning in a large percentage of school districts around the country.
For school districts evaluating how best to do this, there are several factors to consider. In the short term, it’s vital to limit the impact COVID has on learning by offering robust online learning, but it’s equally important that the time and money invested in short term solutions has a long term benefit in the traditional classroom setting as students return to schools this spring and next fall.
When addressing learning loss, there is no quick fix. It will take a long time to truly get kids back on track, which means the solutions selected need to go beyond short-term fixes and provide a long-term track to addressing the problem. School districts should be searching for solutions that improve the quality of teaching and learning, not just providing a short-term patch for remote learning. Let’s take a closer look at what this entails.
Avoiding Short Term Solutions with Long Term Costs
In a recent CDC study, 97% of educators reported at least some learning loss in students in the past year, and 57% estimated that students are behind by more than three months in terms of their overall social-emotional progress. It will take months or possibly even years to close the gaps for all students who have been affected by the pandemic, so it’s vital that the solutions schools rely on provide long-term support.
Unfortunately, many solutions require a subscription. Even the most useful tools currently helping school districts navigate hybrid learning may not make it into the next budget because of the steep cost of renewal. While ESSER funds may address the immediate need, how will schools pay for subscriptions months or years down the line? When the money runs out, districts either lose the software teachers have come to rely on or they are forced to make a cut somewhere else.
Boardworks is unique in the space because we’ve long committed to a one-time purchase model that helps schools plan for the future. Without recurring subscription costs, teachers can fully embrace the resources as part of their daily teaching practice without the ongoing fear that a subscription might not be renewed in the future. The Boardworks lifetime license provides teachers with a unique peace of mind that allows them to rely on the Boardworks platform to support curriculum.
Addressing Immediate Needs for Students
While it’s important that the technology tools you invest in provide value well into the future, it’s also important to ensure they meet the immediate needs of students who are still in remote or hybrid learning settings. Can the tools be used both synchronously and asynchronously to support students of all grade levels, whether they are ahead or struggling with the curriculum demands?
It is important to look for solutions that can cross the line between remote learning and in-person instruction, providing value to teachers. Boardworks is designed as a flexible supplement for teachers. Designed to work on existing Chromebooks and tablets, Boardworks presentations can seamlessly be used for whole class, small group or individual learning in school or remotely.
Providing A Foundation of Support for Teachers
The last year has been challenging for veteran teachers and new teachers alike. Years of experience and lesson plans have required quick pivots and restructuring, leaving teachers with little time to address the individual needs of students. As students return to the classroom and the extent of the learning loss comes into focus, teachers are more pressed for time than ever.
The right technology solution should supplement a teacher’s efforts, allowing them to quickly draw on standards-aligned materials that can be customized to meet the differentiated needs of their students.
At the same time, these tools should improve teacher effectiveness in the long term. With an extensive library of K-12 supplemental presentations, Boardworks can integrate directly into remote, hybrid, and in-person settings and help teachers now and in the future. This leads to more differentiated instruction, improved engagement in the classroom, and a minimum guaranteed educational experience for all students. Added to this the one-time cost ensures these gains continue into the future for all teachers and students.
Investing in the Future Success of Students and Teachers
It’s vital to address the short-term needs created by COVID-19, but with the right tools and investment, ESSER funding provides a major opportunity for districts to underpin the future success of their schools.
Boardworks can help you take advantage of this, setting up teachers and students for prolonged future success. Help optimize the investments made in technology through enhanced teaching and learning practices. Learn more about Boardworks’ unique library of 25,000+ K-12 standards-aligned interactive resources, designed to supplement lesson plans and reduce the burden on teachers. With easy-to-edit and easy-to-share presentations, teachers can differentiate for individual student needs, boosting engagement both online and in the classroom.