Resources from Other Organizations
A variety of other education-related associations, organizations, and companies are providing valuable information or services to assist school leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
AASA’s coronavirus resource webpage includes resources that may be of interest or help to school leaders.
AASA is offering a series of virtual events designed for school leaders to learn about topics related to running their districts under quarantine, staying connected to staff and students, implementing and ensuring quality distance learning, and more.
What’s the latest on the national education advocacy front? Check out The Leading Edge, where AASA posts all its latest advocacy information, including information on how the $2T federal stimulus package impacts schools.
CACTX, which is composed of the 71 local children’s advocacy centers (CACs) serving children throughout Texas by supporting the multidisciplinary teams who investigate and prosecute child abuse cases, realizes the heightened stress for parents and caregivers due to the current pandemic, potential loss of employment, and isolation that may increase the risk of abuse for the children at home. The team at CACTX has put together Resources for Parents, Teachers, & Community Members In Response to the Coronavirus Crisis, including a Teacher’s Guide: Response to COVID-19 (PDF).
CoSN (Texas state affiliate chapter is The Texas K-12 CTO Council) has created a Responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage with resources to provide information for school leaders as they deal with this current national emergency. Under the “CoSN Resources” tab there is a document titled, “Preparing To Take Your Schools Online” and another on “Cybersecurity Consideration in a COVID-19 World.” More resources and papers to come in the next weeks and months.
Each month, CoSN shares a blog post and webinar invitation on digital learning topics to TASA members and other Texas school leaders via TASA’s Mission: School Transformation website: FutureReadyTX.org.
EducationSuperHighway, a national organization with the mission to upgrade internet access for all public schools, has recently launched Digital Bridge K-12: an initiative dedicated to helping school districts address the home learning gap. EducationSuperHighway has developed a number of resources to support states, as well as an initial toolkit for school districts. The resource guide sets out best practices how to address the learning gap locally and examples for school districts to partner with their local telecommunications carrier or wireless provider to help connect students WiFi hotspots.
View a running list of the latest developments along with some key takeaways from Moak, Casey by clicking the News Feed button on the organization’s COVID-19 Resource Center webpage.
View the webinar “COVID-19 & School Finance” in which the Moak, Casey finance team focuses on state funding issues, including the impact of the crisis on 2019-20 school business operations, 2020-21 budget considerations, and the 87th legislative session.
View the webinar “COVID-19 & Accountability” in which the accountability team at Moak Casey focuses on guidance related to instructional continuity, grading and assessments, and what the cancellation of STAAR means for school district accountability.
Several prominent music publishers have temporarily allowed the use of their copyrighted music for educational purposes through an agreement with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). These guidelines are designed to allow high school musicians to complete their year-end assessments and for classroom instruction while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The agreement will expire on June 15. Get the details.
TCA is working with its members that provide high-speed broadband to ensure that all Texans can stay connected. Companies signing on to the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” promise that, for the next 60 days, they will not cut off broadband or telephone service to any customers, even those unable to pay their bills; waive late fees incurred because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and open their Wi-Fi hotspots to all. TCA members, including: Altice USA, which provides Suddenlink services; Charter Communications, which provides Spectrum services; Comcast, which provides Xfinity services; and Sparklight, formerly Cable One, are all taking additional steps to assist households, including some offering free service to households with K-12 students. Get the details of what each company is offering.
TEPSA is partnering with some favorite children’s book authors and publishers to hold nightly Facebook Live book readings. Have children tune in to TEPSA’s Facebook page nightly, Monday-Friday, at 6:30 p.m.
Texas OnCourse has a new resource for education leaders facilitating remote professional development for their staff. Their remote PD toolkit includes step-by-step instructions, worksheets, and a PowerPoint template for leading remote PD on college, career, and military readiness. Download the free toolkit on the Texas OnCourse website.
As we continue to social distance, schools may be looking to explore additional ways to connect with students and families to ensure a holistic approach of engagement and to assess and assist with student needs. The TxSSC has developed a guidance document for schools on How to Stay Connected to Students in a Time of Disconnection that is included in the COVID-19 Resources for Schools on the TxSSC COVID-19 Updates webpage.
Thompson & Horton attorneys have created general guidance documents related to the most pressing issues confronting schools and other institutions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the legal landscape is rapidly evolving, the firm will be continually updating and adding to this T&H COVID-19 resource webpage. Check back frequently for updates. If you have questions or need guidance after reviewing the resource page, please contact any T&H attorney. Documents linked on the resource page will provide information about how to contact the appropriate T&H team member.
The Underwood Law Firm has posted information on Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which applies to public employers such as school districts. The provisions, which relate to emergency paid sick leave, emergency family and medical leave, and tax credits for emergency PSL and paid emergency FMLA, took effect April 2 and remain in effect through the end of 2020. Also see Underwood’s Special Education Updates Regarding COVID-19.
Offers from Education-Related Companies
The following companies are offering free products or services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
American Institutes for Research
COVID-19 FAQs in Plain English: AIR created this FAQ for an 8th grade reading level that addresses a variety of topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic and is available in English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese. Questions were drawn from numerous reliable government sources. The document was developed as a resource for schools, day cares, healthcare organizations, and other public centers to distribute.
New Resource for Parents: Building Positive Conditions for Learning at Home: Strategies and Resources for Families and Caregivers In this resource, AIR highlights four related concepts that are essential to consider: (1) adult readiness to support their child’s learning; (2) emotional safety; (3) supportive spaces; (4) engagement in learning. In the coming weeks, AIR will share strategies and selected resources in each of these critical areas and describe developmental differences to consider (e.g., what this looks like for a younger child compared to a teenager). The resources will be available in English and Spanish to start. In addition, AIR is coordinating these efforts with a group of state and local education agency partners, the National PTA, and The Urban League.
Webinar for Teachers on April 16: “What About You? Strategies for Supporting Educator Resilience and Trauma-Informed Self-Care” Register online.
Podcasts for Parents and Educators: Episode #3: The Science of Safe, Supportive Learning at Home, with David Osher; Episode #4: Communities of Practice During COVID-19, with Melissa Rasberry and Marshal Conley
Aperture Education is offering a collection of free resources to support SEL. This includes downloadable strategies that educators can send to their students while they are out of school, professional development resources for educators including the EdSERT Optimistic Thinking Guide, and additional resources such as white papers, videos, and blog posts to support educators during this time. Aperture also has a parent portal with additional resources families can access during this transition period.
Character Tree is providing teachers with a way to share character education videos and downloadable resources with parents to use at home for free through June 30.
Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media’s website features recommendations for entertainment and at-home learning for kids as well as stress-management resources.
As a national leader in crisis communications for school districts, Donovan Group has created a Coronavirus/COVID-19 landing page that offers free, regularly updated resources to help school districts to communicate about the impact of the pandemic on students, families and staff.
Austin-based Edusmart Science is making available a Daily Science Lesson Library for K-9 (bio) for districts across Texas. They’ve created 130+ TEKS lessons and support all learners, especially special education and English learners:
These TEKS-focused lessons contain a short playlist of student activities that can be completed with or without adult supervision. Teachers can register for free Daily Science Lessons and access the entire archive. Use these lessons by themselves or to complement your campus/district activities.
Flinn Scientific is making available a robust collection of resources for science education.
GovSpend would like to offer TASA members free access to their services throughout this pandemic:
- Find vendors of goods and services that have already been selling to government agencies
- Check prices for products and services based on other agencies’ purchases
- Purchase from state contracts, local contracts, Co-Ops and consortiums
- Verify if a vendor is sole source
- Browse bid specs from other agencies’ bids
- Search for agency contacts to network with peers
- Request quotes in 60 seconds or less
- Quickly get the best price
- Find socio-economic vendors
- Receive quotes directly in your inbox
- Receive an audit record for all quotes
- Centralize procurement for collaboration and team management
Headspace is offering free access to its online meditation/relaxation app for educators and administrative staff.
IBM Expert Task Force: IBM volunteers have assembled multiple teams of experts to provide a wide range of technical skills, industry best practices, and coaching to address the most pressing challenges presented by COVID-19. They provide an external perspective to help enable and accelerate your team’s ongoing hard work. Examples where they can add value: network infrastructure including student internet access, device distribution/maintenance/accountability, online classroom engagement/strategies, IT coaching for students/educators/staff, virtual event planning, effective management of a remote workforce, facilitation of workshops allowing districts to share best practices and lessons learned. Contact Sherry Wynn to learn more.
IBM AI Education: This online professional development for educators provides an excellent example of interactive, online classroom engagement PLUS allows educators to earn an IBM industry digital badge in AI.
IBM Online Learning Resources: The IBM Skills team offers webinars, courses, and resources for students and educators. Topics range from cutting-edge technologies to how to use technology in the classroom and even professional skills. The IBM Academic Initiative allows and encourages faculty, students, and researchers at accredited academic institutions to leverage IBM tools, courses, and other resources in the classroom – most notably free access to the IBM Cloud for their computing projects, online courses with badges, and free software downloads.
Open P-TECH Overview: On April 1 (8 a.m. or 8 p.m. CST), gain a deep dive into Open P-TECH: why it was created, what it offers and for whom, and how it’s different from other online learning solutions. You’ll also see a live walk-through of the site from the perspective of a teacher and student, to learn about the content, level of interactivity, and administrative features of the resource. Audience: Any staff member from a P-TECH school or district can benefit from this overview of Open P-TECH but it is open to all who are interested! Register online.
Impero Software is making its Impero Education Pro web-based software free for the remainder of the school year to districts that do not already have remote monitoring software in place.
HR company Insperity has several recorded webinars on financial topics and the CARES Act on their COVID-19 webpage.
Contact Learning List for free access to a customized library of reviews for up to three products per subject and grade span that your district is considering or using to support distance learning. Tools on the Learning List site will allow you to compare the alignment and features of those materials instantly. If you don’t know which materials to use, Learning List can provide suggestions for your consideration. Please contact Jackie Lain, JackieL@Learninglist.com, to discuss your needs.
MasteryPrep is here to bridge the gap in an e-learning environment and assist in the absence of teacher led courses by providing your students with much needed college readiness preparation in lieu of waivers of state accountability. To help students master the ACT/SAT from a distance, MasteryPrep will have 3 completely digital college readiness solutions:
- Free, online ACT practice testing and instant feedback through TruScore Online
- Live ACT/SAT Boot Camp via webinar (with an option to view the recording if students miss it).
- ACT Essentials, online ACT prep course proven to boost scores by 2-4 points in as little as 4 weeks.
PBLWorks has created a resource site to provide teachers with ideas, examples, and tools to facilitate project-based learning remotely. It addresses teachers’ most frequently cited requests, including: projects that can be adapted for remote learning across the grade levels, technology solutions for collaboration and connection, and ideas for how families can support their PBL students.
Additional resources on the website include a series of free webinars about doing PBL remotely, articles on best practices for remote learning, and ideas for making remote learning accessible for all students.
Qualtrics, a TEA technology partner, is offering public schools a free resource to help them evaluate if they have what they need to succeed in an online learning environment and identify areas for improvement.
Squigl, a do-it-yourself tool that transforms text into a whiteboard animation video, is being offered at no cost to every public K-12 school district for six months, or until students return to classrooms.
Teach Plus is offering teaching candidates and teachers a free remote collaboration and learning opportunity for teachers that addresses teachers’ urgent needs during school closures to design remote learning and address students’ social and emotional needs.
The Plus One – Making Remote Learning Work for Every Texas Student program is about providing teachers with the FREE support and collaboration they need and deserve — a program led by teachers for teachers.
As teachers design and manage remote learning during the crisis, outstanding Texas educators provide a FREE, facilitated, collaborative space for Texas teachers to adapt to the new remote learning environment. We will work together to address:
- remote learning strategies,
- social and emotional supports for students and teachers, and
- parent communication.
Texas teachers may join grade- and content-similar teachers for collaborative Zoom sessions twice a week to help you prepare for this new learning environment. Register online.
Texas Instruments is offering several free resources to help students and teachers continue teaching and learning remotely.
Vernier Software & Technology
Vernier Software & Technology is providing free remote learning solutions to keep students engaged in STEM during school closures.
Zoom is removing the 40-minute time limit on their Basic free account for K-12 schools affected by closures.
Resources from TASA's Corporate Partners
TASA Corporate Partners have stepped up to provide a variety of products and services at no charge to Texas school districts as school leaders work to establish remote learning programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Online Events & Webinars
Resources from TASA Members
Find resources, ideas, and tools being used in districts across the state that may be helpful in yours.
TASA's Inspiring Leaders Podcast