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Virtual Learning in New Jersey: Best Practices and Strategies from Educators Across the State

Virtual Learning in New Jersey: Best Practices and Strategies from Educators Across the State

In the wake of COVID-19, New Jersey educators have worked diligently to transition to online instruction so that students can continue learning from home. Through a series of live webinars, my colleagues and I are speaking with educators from across the state who have made that transition. Our goal is to create a professional learning community and share ideas and best practices. Below, you can view recordings of past PLC webinars.

Here are the topics we have discussed so far:

SEL: How to Support your Students

In this webinar, we discuss a variety of ways to support students' social and emotional well-being during these uncertain and challenging times.

Panelist

  • Dr. Adrienne Castorina, Supervisor fo Special Services - Sparta Township

Questions

  • How do you see COVID impacting your students personally and educationally?
  • What are some ways your students are supporting each other?
  • What social learning experiences are you planning virtually? 
  • How are you identifying who needs help?
  • Is the impact different for elementary vs. secondary?
  • Based on the past months of virtual learning, what are you planning to do for fall to support SEL?

Planning for a Flexible School Year

In this webinar, learn about considerations and strategies for planning a school year in which learning could take a variety of forms including in-person, blended, virtual, or a hybrid.

Panelists

  • Kelli Norwood, Director of Academy Professional Learning - Edmentum
  • Gina Frasca, Assistant Superintendent – Pinelands Regional School District

Questions

  • What does planning look like for the fall without direction from the state?
  • What supports need to be put in place to ensure student success?
  • What scenarios do you envision needing virtual options for students?
  • How do you plan to pivot seamlessly between brick-and-mortar and virtual learning?
  • How have you supported, or seen districts support, communities and families with online schooling?
  • How do you think these changes will benefit education moving forward?

Positive Parent Engagement

In this webinar, learn strategies and tips from other educators about how they are promoting parent engagement in virtual learning.

Panelists

  • Lindsey Foulkes, Virtual Teacher – EdOptions Academy
  • Richard S. Molinaro, Director of Mathematics, Vocational and Technical Subjects - Linden Public Schools
  • Lily Moss, Supervisor of ELA - Egg Harbor Township School District

Questions

  • How has at-home instruction benefited the parent/teacher relationship?
  • What new obstacles are parents encountering in a home-learning environment?
  • What responsibilities of managing student learning have shifted between parents and teachers?
  • What and how are you communicating with parents. What's working; what's not?
  • How does communication differ to parents of elementary vs. secondary students?
  • What supports to parents do you think are most effective?
  • What do parents need to be successful?
  • What does positive parent engagement look like?

Engaging Students in a Virtual Setting

In this recorded webinar, learn ways to keep students engaged and motivated while learning in a virtual environment.

Panelists

  • Lindsey Foulkes, Virtual Teacher – EdOptions Academy
  • Rick Massel, Education Consultant – Edmentum

Questions

  • What is something positive that has come from students learning at home?
  • What new obstacles are students encountering in a home-learning environment?
  • What classroom engagement strategies are transferring successfully to virtual learning?
  • What do intrinsic and extrinsic rewards look like in a virtual environment?
  • What social learning experiences are you planning virtually – hang-outs, choir, virtual ceremonies, physical education, etc.?
  • What strategies are you using with parents to drive student engagement?

Supporting Special Education Through Virtual Instruction

In this recorded webinar, learn the creative ways that educators in three different New Jersey districts are supporting their special education students in a virtual environment.

Panelists

  • Adrienne Castorina, District Supervisor Special Education – Sparta Township Public Schools
  • Jack DeWitt, Director of Student Services – Glen Ridge Public Schools
  • Chris Casamento, Case Resources Teacher – New Brunswick Public Schools

Questions

  • What has changed?
  • What is working?
  • What have you adjusted along the way?
  • What challenges are you facing providing special education, and how are you meeting those challenges?
  • What do modifications and accommodations look like virtually?
  • How are you supporting parents to meet the needs of your special education students?
  • How are you motivating students to do their work?
  • How are you supporting your special educators?
  • How will the future of special education be impacted?

Summer Learning 2020

In this recorded webinar learn how educators are planning to keep students engaged through virtual summer school.

Panelists

  • Pat Wulk, K-12 Supervisor, Assessments/RTI/Social Studies – Millville Public Schools
  • John Acampora, Director of Curriculum & Instruction – Little Egg Harbor Township School District
  • Daryl Vavrichek, Educational Programs Consultant – Edmentum

Questions

  • What do you want to achieve this summer with your learning program?
  • In line with what you want to achieve, how are you structuring your summer learning?
  • What tools and resources are you using to deliver your curriculum?
  • How are you planning to keep students engaged?
  • What special supports will be offered for tier 3 students?
  • How are you planning to support students, families, and teachers?
  • In what ways are you expecting your summer learning to affect/inform your fall semester?

Transitioning to Virtual Learning

In this recorded webinar, learn some of the general strategies that districts are using to implement virtual learning.

Panelists

  • Dena Feldman, District Supervisor - Edison Township Public Schools
  • Michael Ballone, Director of Curriculum and Instruction - Marlboro Township Public Schools

Questions

  • How has the school/parent and teacher/parent relationship changed?
  • How are you continuing to support parents?
  • Was your initial learning focus remediation or reinforcement of skills, and how has this approach changed?
  • What does teacher/student communication look like?
  • Is there a schedule, check-ins, or office hours?
  • What’s working well overall?
  • How are you working to ensure equitable access to your online learning curriculum?
  • How are you keeping staff connected?
  • How do you think this transition will change education?

To learn more about Edmentum programs and how they can support educators and students in New Jersey, check out Edmentum.com.

david.cicero's picture

David has worked in education for 14 years. He has spent the last 6 years in the education technology industry and is currently working as an Educational Programs Consultant. As a trusted advisor and education technology advocate he has helped countless districts and schools successfully integrate technology. David holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas and a M.A. in Teaching from Northern Arizona University. 

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