A Note from the DLC Director, April 2020
I sincerely hope that this message finds you and your family well. As news hits closer and closer to home, it impresses upon me the ways in which we are all connected while also experiencing each bit of this from our own lens. I think daily about particular students I have taught over the years, with new awarenesses of what they may be facing right now in their own homes and communities.
These thoughts forward in my mind, I have been driven toward action with a great sense of empathy and deep compassion. A phrase that titled a slide of NCSECS’s webinar last week has repeated over and over in my mind: Opportunities exist. Through this anxious-ridden time, new opportunities still surface.
Opportunities exist to develop creative ways to differentiate instruction and individualize support. We have the chance to build digital access and capacity within our students. We will work more closely with families than we ever have before, amplifying their voices in our next steps. Equity gaps will be magnified during this time, but I’m optimistic this will move us toward more urgent and tangible solutions. So many opportunities exist that have the potential to put us steps ahead rather than behind.
It starts with recognizing that we are on the same team. First engaging families with empathy and grace, then working with school teams to develop plans that support student and family needs. We choose quality over quantity, simple over complex. We always do what’s best for kids. (See a guiding protocol for this work here.)
Being once-removed from the front lines, the DLC team has worked to anticipate what schools need to serve our most vulnerable populations during this time. We have partnered with numerous teams to navigate confusing policies and make sense of evolving guidance as it relates to students with disabilities and English learners. The launch of the DLC resource hub gets practical — providing creative ideas, tools, scripts, and tips that advocate for diverse learners within new remote learning plans. This hub will be updated daily as solutions are developed and tested; we will keep sharing what we see that is working.
We are gathering partners in conversation, knowing this is a community effort. We currently host a weekly collaborative call for special education and EL school leaders – if this is something you are interested in joining, please let me know. We’ve also created a short survey that will help us better understand partners’ needs so we can align the appropriate supports – if you’d be willing to share your thoughts with us, we would greatly appreciate your time. Finally, we will be offering more opportunities for teachers, leaders, and community members to engage in conversation around diverse learners topics this week, so please follow the DLC on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay in the loop.
The DLC is grateful to be your partner in this work. Please share this information with any colleagues that may benefit, and reach out to us with any needs you have or with resources you’ve found helpful. And, you are welcome to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org any time.