Coronavirus Resources, Guidance, and Advocacy

Opening schools will require trade-offs and sacrifices, creativity and innovation, and most of all, cooperation and partnership.


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Communicator
June 2020, Volume 43, Issue 10

March 2020 will forever mark our memories as the month when the nation’s schools shut down in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19. NAESP immediately sprang into action, creating the NAESP National Coronavirus Taskforce, which is a principal-led advisory board formed to advise NAESP on the state of affairs in school communities and reveal common challenges and solutions.

With the taskforce’s guidance, we’ve been proud to support you with opportunities to connect and learn from each other, in addition to the latest news on federal guidance and professional resources related to leading during coronavirus. The silver lining in this time of disruption and uncertainty has been the tremendous outpouring of support from NAESP members in leading learning communities despite school closures, or “Principal-ing in Place.”

With no existing “playbook” for overcoming the many challenges that resulted from shifting overnight to 100 percent virtual learning—and virtual management—NAESP members stepped up to lead the charge with inspirational messages, principal-led webinars, and advocating for robust resources to ensure students receive high-quality instruction and services to support their social, emotional, and mental health needs.

Here are a few highlights:

Professional Learning: Principals are in the trenches, closing down schools with little notice and putting into place a continuum of education and a support system for students and staff amid a whole new world of digital learning. That’s why we looked to our experts—our principal and assistant principal members—for professional learning and peer support through new webinar series.

  • Principaling in Place: Webinar topics include making virtual meetings meaningful, connecting through video, parenting through a pandemic, prioritizing parental participation and engagement, and looking toward the next school year.
  • Leading Virtual Learning Communities: Webinar topics include navigating special education during school closures, at-home teaching and learning for early education, managing mental health issues, using data to strengthen your school’s response to COVID-19, and the assistant principal’s role during school closures.
  • Live at 5 p.m. ET: Teaming with AASA, The School Superintendents Association, NAESP offers a live Q-and-A designed to answer questions that have arisen for school administrators as they determine what is working for them and what the next steps might be in teaching and leading during unprecedented times.

Resources and Guidance: NAESP created and compiled trusted resources to guide school leaders during school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Topics include making virtual learning easier, delivering special education instruction during closures, supporting students in crisis, engaging with parents, and understanding the latest guidance for schools and child care programs.

Advocacy: With at least 124,000 K-12 schools closed across the country, affecting more than 55 million students, America’s public schools find themselves in a perilous position. NAESP has addressed several top issues related to the school closures’ effect on education and students’ learning.

  • Over the past few months, NAESP has urged Congress to provide $175 billion in education stabilization funds, which would help schools backfill expected state budget cuts to education funding. So far, NAESP members have made more than 4,500 connections with their members of Congress, urging them to support education stabilization funds.
  • NAESP has joined a push to ask Congress to include $4 billion in the next coronavirus relief package for the E-Rate program to address the “homework gap,” experienced by the 12 million students in this country who do not have home internet access.
  • NAESP recently sent a letter to Congress with 49 other education groups urging Congress to clarify the “equitable services” funding issue, which has been misinterpreted by the U.S. Department of Education and would shift money emergency funding away from public schools.

Principals need to make their voices heard and ensure the needs of schools are met. Here’s how principals can take action.

Social Media and Videos: In addition to vetted, trusted, and current resources and guidance, NAESP understood that this is a stressful time that could use some feel-good content.

  • Messages of Support: NAESP released videos from NAESP Executive Director L. Earl Franks, Ed.D., CAE; current NAESP President Dave Wick, and a group of past NAESP presidents.
  • NAESP JammyPack Challlenge: When times get tough, the tough get dancing. Almost 20 NAESP members donned a JammyPack fanny pack as they danced and then “passed along” the JammyPack to the next principal.
  • BINGO: Principals and assistant principals can check out Principal Bingo: Self-Care Edition for ways to take some extra time for themselves as they work hard to lead virtual learning communities. 

Find a full list of resources and guidance on the NAESP Coronavirus Resources page.

As we shift to the summer months and the long road to safely reopening schools in the fall, NAESP will be right here with you ensuring that the principal’s critical voice is included.

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