In July, the Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) awarded a $12,000 grant to the Arlington Public Schools to fund a course on remote learning strategies for educators. Fifty-four Arlington educators are currently enrolled in the month-long course titled Developing Strategies for Online Teaching and Learning, offered by the Harvard School of Education.
This is a unique, large-scale professional developmental opportunity that AEF made possible this summer because the school district faces extraordinary challenges due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Dr. Roderick MacNeal, Jr., Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, a purposefully chosen variety of educators was invited to participate in the course, including building administrators, special education coordinators, curriculum leaders, and members of two synchronous study groups who have been meeting since the spring. The high number of participants will assist with sharing knowledge, strategies and tools with teachers across the district. Additionally, all teachers will receive new guidelines and principles which they can use to design effective and engaging online lessons.
Sonya Connelly, an APS math coach who is taking the course, stated that should the district need to provide remote education, Developing Strategies for Online Teaching and Learning “has opened my mind to the broader possibilities of robust online learning.”
Dr. MacNeal noted that the pursuit of this course is based upon the experiences instructional staff accumulated from this spring. Based upon their feedback he understood that providing professional development focused on remote learning would be a priority over the summer. Dr. MacNeal, who is also taking the course, reports “I have been able to share best practice with educators from around the world. I want to thank AEF for supporting the continued professional development of Arlington educators.”