LaRonda Ringold is an instructional interventionist for special education at Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clark County is the fourth largest school district in the nation, serving approximately 320,000 students, which includes approximately 30,000 students with special needs. The district has more than 360 school sites spread across urban, suburban, and rural areas. The district is fully virtual for most school sites and uses a hybrid model for school sites in more rural areas.
Tools being used
The district is using a wide range of online technologies. From Google Meets to the Canvas LMS, the district has provided access to a variety of other digital resources to engage our students. Within my department, Edthena video coaching is being launched to help facilitate the teaching and learning process.
There is a lot on the educators’ plates right now, so learning a slew of new technologies on top of now providing instruction virtually can oftentimes feel overwhelming. For special education teachers, in particular, communicating with students online can also pose its own challenges. For example, it is much more difficult to assess students via distance education than face to face.
What are the advantages of teaching in this environment?
The teachers I work with have expressed concern about distance education. However, many of them have persevered and are achieving success.
How are teachers being supported?
For some of our special education teachers, we are implementing video coaching, via Edthena, to support their virtual teaching and overall professional learning. This will allow us to provide mentoring and valuable feedback on videos of their live instruction, as well as their pre-recorded lessons. Additionally, we are considering creating a best practice library of videos that teachers could utilize to view quality instruction.
Did anything unexpected happen (good or bad) during remote learning that can now be used as a teachable moment for others?
From a professional development standpoint, the pandemic has taught us the importance of pivoting when needed. For example, last school year we were originally planning on using video coaching via Edthena in the rural parts of the district to more efficiently conduct observations and provide coaching as needed. But when the pandemic hit and everyone moved to distance education, we knew this would be a good way to serve more special education teachers outside of just the rural locations since in-person assistance was no longer feasible.
Anything else you'd like to add about your successes and challenges being a teacher and/or an administrator during the pandemic?
Our department is very systematic in the way new initiatives and technologies are implemented. We believe this is an important best practice, especially now during the pandemic when teaching and learning looks very different. We also continue to persevere to make sure the needs of our teachers and students are continuously being met.
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