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Blog post Alan Richard, SREB

‘Borrowing While Black’: A College Debt Crisis for Today’s Students

Most SREB states need more students to complete various levels of college to meet expected workforce needs — but student debt may get in the way of states’ progress.

Only about 29% of Black working-age adults in SREB states had at least a two-year college degree in 2017. Meantime, many Black students and others find it increasingly difficult to pay for college.

And that was true even before COVID-19 took hold.

Blog post Amanda Merritt, School Improvement Instructional Coach

Promoting Student Collaboration in the Age of COVID-19

elementary aged girl wearing a protective maskAs schools and districts prepare for the new year, student and staff safety is top of mind. Many are buying extra cleaning supplies and developing protocols for social distancing, wearing masks and proper hygiene.

At SREB, we hear daily from teachers and leaders in search of strategies for delivering quality instruction while meeting safety guidelines. They ask:

“How do we reconnect with “lost” students who lacked access to online learning this spring?”

“Will social distancing require teachers to lecture to students sitting in rows?”

Blog post Alan Richard

‘Wireless on Wheels’: Rural District Takes Wi-Fi on the Road

Louisa County, Virginia, sprawls across the vast countryside between Richmond and Charlottesville. Only 5,000 students attend the county’s public schools, even though it’s more than an hour’s drive from one end of the county to the other.

High-speed internet, or any internet service at all — cell-phone service, too — doesn’t reach many parts of the county.

When the schools were forced online in March by the COVID-19 crisis, county school leaders wrangled with how to help more students and families get online for class.

Blog post Craig Shuey, Director of Information Technology, SREB

Technology Advice for Schools and Districts in the COVID-19 Era

When schools and districts closed this spring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest challenges they faced was ensuring that teachers, students and families had access to the broadband internet and Wi-Fi networks they needed to teach and learn online.

Blog post By Shelly Flygare, SREB School Improvement Leadership Coach

Online or Not: Four Actions for Quality Instruction of Elementary Students

“I learned how to support all of my students, no matter what format I’m asked to teach in — even those students I thought we could never serve outside school walls.”

That’s what an elementary teacher told me when I asked her what positives emerged from the shift to remote learning this spring.

As we prepare to enter the new school year, one thing is certain — education is not going to look the same. The uncertainty of these times offers us opportunities to create a better experience for each of our elementary students, especially those with special needs, such as students with special needs, English language learners and students who need Tier 2 or Tier 3 instructional supports.

Blog post Scott Warren

Six Steps to Improve Your Online and Blended Instruction

“I just saw where we will have kids in class only two days a week and the rest will be virtual. I don’t think I can handle it.”

“All students will be online to begin the year… I cannot go through what happened this spring again.”

I saw comments like these in an online teachers’ forum when districts began issuing their school reopening plans. Although reactions like these are common, there’s no need to panic. 

Blog post Alan Richard

How colleges can better serve student-parents
One in five U.S. undergraduates now raising children

Nija Simmons, an African American college student parent stands holding a paper and presents to her class

More of today’s college students are raising children while in school, and they’re a larger, faster-growing group than many colleges institutions and policymakers realize.

Nicole Lynn Lewis, the founder and CEO of Generation Hope, joined SREB for a webinar on June 11 to discuss how institutions can build and strengthen support for student-parents. Her organization assists teenage parents—men and women—who attend college in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Blog post David Raney, SREB Chief Editor

Belonging From a Distance
Protecting the mental health of America’s “loneliest generation”

Things are tough for college students right now. The COVID-19 crisis, which has disrupted life everywhere, is “quite possibly the single most disruptive event in American higher education in at least a half century,” according to the Atlantic, one that has “left students scrambling to wrangle flights home and pack up their dorm room.”

Blog post Stephen PruittSREB President

Better Together

After weeks of struggling with the fallout of COVID-19 — working remotely, social distancing, helping neighbors when we can — I’m quite sure no one needs to be told that we’re living in “unprecedented times.” That seems clear enough.

Our teachers are coping with a digital environment that most were not trained for, trying to maintain their focus on equity to be sure every child has a chance at a quality education, meanwhile managing houses and budgets and families and concerns about their health, as we all are. It’s more than anyone was prepared for.

Blog post Linda Floyd, SREB program directorDebra Cullen, educational consultant

CTE Centers: Answering the Call for Care Amid COVID-19

Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.’” In this unprecedented time of crisis, many are rising to be helpers. All across the United States, healthcare workers are leaving their families and risking their lives to take care of all who are suffering with the coronavirus. Schools and career and technology centers are also coming together to donate much-needed resources and use their equipment to make face masks for those on the front line. 

Blog post Amanda MerrittSREB School Improvement instructional coach

Distance Learning for Rural Schools During Extended School Closures

As we move further into the COVID-19 crisis, rural schools across the U.S. are struggling with how to continue students’ learning amid school closures. In recent weeks, SREB instruction coaches have been collaborating with educators in our region on how to deliver learning virtually, and we’ve learned about the specific challenges rural schools are facing.

Blog post Cena DavisSREB School Improvement Leadership Coach

Online Professional Development Support for Educators

woman working at  a laptopAs we enter our second and third weeks of school closures and social distancing, I am amazed and proud of our educators. I see school systems scrambling to feed children. I see teachers preparing lessons, packets and online resources. I see principals giving weekly messages, reading bedtime stories online, leading virtual parades and calling every teacher for weekly check-ins. I see heroes. But to be quite honest, I saw these heroes before the advent of COVID-19.

Right now, our teachers need extra support.

Blog post Amanda MerrittSREB School Improvement Instructional Coach

Navigating the Road of E-learning

teacher taking notes while sitting at a laptop

The last two weeks have certainly required flexibility, innovation and problem-solving for educators not just in SREB states but across the nation and the world. Those of us at SREB who support teachers and district- and school-based coaches have been flooded with emails, texts and phone calls asking for help. In an effort to support all of you from afar, we offer some tips and strategies for how you can navigate the road of e-learning.

Blog post Scott WarrenSREB division director

Virtual Labs for STEM and CTE Teachers and Students

scott warren headshot

We know that this is a challenging time for teachers across the country. Many of you have been plunged into the world of virtual learning without a lot of time to prepare. Following sudden school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve had to move quickly to shift your carefully planned lessons online so your students can continue learning at home.  And those of you who are STEM and career and technical education teachers in particular face unique challenges as you work to adapt hands-on learning experiences to a virtual format.  

Blog post Meagan Crowe SREB Policy Analyst

A Path to College and Career
Stepping Stones for States

A thriving economy and a workforce prepared for it will increasingly demand that more adults earn postsecondary credentials. Ensuring that students successfully move from middle grades into high school, then into college or technical education programs, is critical if states hope to boost their adult educational attainment levels.

Blog post Stephen L. PruittSREB President

Thank Goodness for Mississippi
Star NAEP Showing Follows a Long Commitment

4th Grade NAEP Reading, Percentage Scoring At or Above Proficient in Mississippi. MS18% (2005) 32% (2019); SREB 28% 2005, 32% (2019); US 30% 2005, 34% 2019)

“Thank goodness for Mississippi.”

It used to be that this was something you heard from people who were grateful that Mississippi kept their own states from the dubious honor of last place in education rankings. Those folks may not have noticed that, since 2005, Mississippi has been making steady gains.

And now, after Mississippi offered a rare bright spot on the Nation’s Report Card earlier this month, we have a new reason to be thankful for Mississippi: We can learn from their success.

Real progress takes time.