COVID-19 Resources

The below resources are meant to help leaders “cut through some of the noise” as they figure out how to serve their students and families effectively during school closures. We will continue to update this page with the resources that we think are most relevant.


Remote Learning

How Uncommon Supports Quick Response to Student Work
In a sea of unknowns about this year, teachers and leaders are asking: “How do we know that kids are learning? How do we respond to what we’re seeing?” Here’s how Uncommon Schools designed a system to support teachers with expertly designed instruction that responds quickly to real student work.

Using Eureka or EngageNY This Fall? Check Out How Gem Prep Streamlined Resources
Here’s how Gem Innovation Schools maximized its K-5 digital math curriculum for staff, students, and families during remote learning — and curated an easy-to-use suite of resources that any educator using Eureka Math or Engage NY can leverage.

Achieving the Impossible Starts with Relationships
Here’s how some of the nation’s best public charter schools are confronting the paradox of building community while starting the school year virtually—and fostering even stronger relationships with students, staff, and families in the process.

Remote Start: Beginning the New School Year Virtually
Here are some of the promising lessons and tools from the high-performing public charter sector as leaders and teachers work ambitiously not just to start strong (albeit remotely), but to continue to serve and support our nation’s most disadvantaged families with incredible experiences and an excellent education in this new year.

Ingenuity in a Crisis: Inspiring Ideas and Creative Solutions from High-Performing Public Charter Schools During COVID-19
Great public charter schools have leveraged their ingenuity, grit, and crazy thinking to transform how they’re serving kids and families in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Here are just a few of the genius ideas we’ve seen—to empower students of all ages, celebrate community virtually, and recognize the critical role that parents play in their children’s education.

Remote Learning 2.0: Using Data to Understand What’s Working
As remote learning gets off the ground across the country, the conversation is shifting from “How can we keep teaching?” to “How will we know if it’s working?” Here’s how high-performing public charter schools are leveraging data to assess and improve remote learning during looming school closures.

I See You. I Care. How Can I Help You Grow?
How can we foster the critical teacher-student interactions that we know drive motivation in a classroom – but can be tricky to replicate when remote? Here’s how Achievement First leveraged Zaretta Hammond’s framework for culturally responsive, asset-based feedback to support student learning.

One Week In: Rocketship’s Reflections on Remote Learning
It’s been one week since Rocketship Public Schools launched distance learning. Despite the short turnaround, all 9,634 students are engaged and learning online. Here’s what they’ve learned about effective remote instruction.

When Days Become Weeks: Building Blocks for Strong Remote Learning
In mere days, public schools are going from executing contingency plans to embracing remote learning solutions for a longer haul. Here are a few actionable elements we’ve seen as great organizations plan for the “new normal.”

Approaches to Instruction During School Closure
In the midst of unprecedented school closures, we’ve curated some high-quality instructional resources that public schools are using to navigate these murky educational waters on behalf of students.

First Steps Into Virtual Instruction: Advice From a Pioneer
Gem Prep has run high-performing online and “brick and mortar” public schools for almost a decade. Here’s their powerful advice for other educators taking their first steps into virtual learning.

Leadership and Talent

“What Does Rebirth Look Like?”: Three Lessons for Leading through a Crisis from a New Orleans Leader
“I’ll never forget August 25th, 2005,” said Jamar McKneely, CEO of InspireNOLA Charter Schools, remembering when Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. “Now there’s a second date in my mind: March 13th, 2020.” Jamar shares three important lessons for leaders in every sector as they support and rebuild their communities through the COVID-19 crisis.

Managing through Screens: Talent Practices for Leaders in this New (Virtual) Reality
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, managers (and employees) in public schools everywhere are moving into remote roles for the first time. Here’s how great networks are helping managers learn to lead in this new (virtual) reality.

Multi-dimensional Teacher Hiring in a 2D World
Without a school to tour or classrooms to teach, high-performing public charter schools are finding creative ways to recruit the best teachers for the 2020-21 school year. Here are a few best practices from across the country.

Family Engagement and Enrollment

Staying Connected: Supporting (and Retaining) Families During COVID-19
It is still unclear when physical school buildings will reopen, and many schools are starting to wonder what to expect for enrollment in the fall. Here’s how great public charter schools support and stay connected with families already enrolled in their schools — and in turn, mitigate potential enrollment issues for the upcoming year.

Join Us for a Virtual School Tour
The COVID-19 crisis has made traditional student recruitment strategies nearly impossible. Here’s how high-performing public charter schools are leveraging digital tools and trying new twists to engage prospective families for the 2020–21 school year.

Finance and Operations

Zoom Security: Creating Safe and Seamless Virtual Classrooms
When schools moved to remote learning en masse last spring, securing virtual classrooms became an important and evolving responsibility for IT leaders Achievement First and Valor Collegiate Academies break down their solutions for secure and seamless Zoom classrooms here.

Keeping Schools Safe Means Acting Fast
The return to in-person instruction has gone well, and evidence continues to suggest that schools have seen very low COVID-19 transmission rates. But even the best laid plans cannot reduce risk to zero. Here’s how public charter schools prepared for reclosure in advance—so they can move quickly to protect students and staff when needed.

Early Lessons and Bright Spots from Safely Returning to School
For public charter school networks across the country that have already returned to schools in-person, the consensus is — so far, so good. Here’s what leaders have learned about safely bringing students and staff back into buildings.

Hit the Restart Button: Tech Lessons Learned on Supporting 1:1 Instruction
One item will be nearly ubiquitous on back-to-school lists this fall — a laptop. High-performing public charter schools have moved quickly to distribute devices and support effective remote instruction. Here are some of their lessons around communication, internet safety, remote tech support, and protecting devices for the long haul.

Three Principles Every School Leader Should Know to Reduce COVID-19 Risk
Are face shields just as effective as face masks? What does social distancing look like for early elementary school students? How often should playground equipment be cleaned? As schools across the country rethink how they operate in the wake of COVID-19, here are three tangible, evidence-based recommendations from two public health experts that every school leader should know to help them safely reopen this fall.

Ring the Bell
It’s budget season for public schools — a stressful time in any school year, but now leaders are faced with the most uncertain budget environment in memory. Here’s what we can learn from the Great Recession, as well as some of COVID-19’s additional financial implications for public schools.

Rapid Deployment: Getting Technology to Students and Families
With remote learning ramping up across the country, public schools are deploying laptops and other technology to students and families. Here are some tips from great organizations to get this done quickly and safely.


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