ATLIS Virtual Town Hall 11 November 2020: Like No Other School Year

Late in the fall season, technology leaders have hit a stride, adjusting to the ever-changing circumstances around school during a pandemic. In this reflective town hall, leaders discussed what has worked well and needs to continue beyond this school year, along with what needs to be adjusted. Special guest Pamela Livingston Gaudet, author of 'Like No Other School Year' joined us to share her insights.  

Quick Links

  • December 9 Save the date for our next Virtual Town Hall. Registration is required for new Virtual Town Hall participants and is free and open to all. If you have previously registered, you will automatically receive an invitation to join. 

  • Complete Virtual Town Hall Video Archive (Wakelet)

Special Guest Pamela Livingston Gaudet, author of 'Like No Other School Year' 

Featured on the Amplifying Optimism podcast:


ATLIS Town Hall
November 11, 2020
Video Archive

We have also found students who thrive in this environment -- and students who do not. 

The forced innovation has been remarkable…. We have observed greatness in the face of a challenge and see now new norms that promote student-centeredness.

The LMS centers on teaching and learning and will be a core system in the future with integrations.

The future of Snow days 

 What will the future school look like for kids who are home, sick but could participate virtually? Will this be now required of the teachers?

One of the things we are struggling with is - while we can teach virtually and students can learn virtually - what is the expectation for these things to happen when students are out. Like how sick do you have to be excused? If we have weather closures (HURRICANES) what is the expectation? Without power and wifi, we can't implement what we have in place post-COVID.

We've also come to appreciate the value of face-to-face and how important that is -- and how important relationship building is for success here

Assessment is one area where I believe there is still a lot to be done and learned. 

Our tech coaches have been beyond busy and super appreciated. But their role has focused more on survival basics and less on more innovative approaches.  Most have had the thought resonating in their heads of "if you had just listened to me over the past 10 years..."

Professional Development

With regard to providing PD, it’s been a struggle in that the opportunities to provide PD are much greater and teachers are more interested and open to learning. However, the overall load on the tech department and school staff, in general, has required more time on putting out fires and dealing with short-term issues getting in the way of PD-related work. That’s been frustrating.

 We find that open office hours aren't really taken advantage of with online video tools.  But if we start in a chat mode (text-based), they join in, then we do video conferencing to move deeper once they start chatting with a coach and are more comfortable.
overall we have had a feeling of being overwhelmed by our teachers and we had more success in the spring with PD than now

Teachers don't want to be forced into doing ONE MORE THING.  But once they are confident we can focus on their specific problem, then they will invite the coach "in" for more direct work.

 The resource banks are really most useful as a library of resources that we can forward to teachers in response to a common request. 

Importance of modeling online learning 

80% of faculty that had never been a participant in online learning themselves. They don't know what good online instruction looks like.

 We’ve been offering “Office Hours” sessions as open Q&A time so that teachers can bring their questions based on their own ed tech transition timeline. 

But remember, like students, teachers have different preferred modes of learning. Not all of them learn well from videos -- or have the patience for them.

Ashley Read : I created a very much to “work in progress” Google Site where I add information and when I send out emails with short video clips, I reference this site to send them back there when possible.

Training has to be short bursts - especially right now.  We also have teachers lead sessions on our Last Friday PD days where they share what they are doing which is appreciated because they are authentic
Teacher to teacher is the most powerful PD.

PD Step 1 is how to create appropriate teaching videos. My own children are watching 25 minute plus videos. 

Using video for learning research says no more than 5 minutes!

Our guide is 3 - 8 minutes.

We are seeing which parents see school as transactional in many ways.  I agree teachers have risen to the challenge.


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