Cheers to our Teachers!

KUDOS to teachers, professors, school administrators, staff,

and IT personnel!

During this unsettling time with the COVID-19 quarantine, our teachers and professors have shown such amazing flexibility, skills, and talent! Teachers are pioneering through this imposed “distance-learning” in an incredible way.  Our educators have flipped over to online/remote learning in 4-7 days!  IT staff have been working around the clock to get this set up.  Administrators and staff are supporting the fast-paced changes in a remarkable way. Congratulations! YOU ARE AMAZING!

One mother sent a picture and description of her son on his first day of an online “distant learning” gathering. (Thanks to Jen and Frank.) The whole class was so excited about seeing their teacher and their classmates.

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In Fontana, CA, this young man was able to meet with a few of his teachers and about 30 of his classmates. The Principal and his Assistant Principle also joined in for a few minutes. The excitement of the students was palpable. They were so excited to connect with their teachers and peers.

At College Credit Connection (CCC), the Coordinators quickly converted their Face-to-Face classes to online/hybrid classes. After teachers get their distance learning programs set up, and if they have a bit more time on their (freshly washed) hands, it might be a good time to take some extra professional development classes. CCC has opened up the cap for credits per semester from 15 to 18 credits. Online learning is a great way to gain additional professional development units. In the last two months, CCC has added 22 new courses to the over 400 courses available.

Congratulations to all the teachers, professors, administrators, staff, IT personnel, as well as to the parents and students! You are making a difference in this difficult time.

Read on for some recommendations on how to deal with the stress of this time.


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Great ways to manage stress during the COVID-19 quarantine.

It is incredibly important for everyone, especially those who are working so hard under such unusual circumstances, to practice physical and emotional self-care. Teachers, professors, administrators, staff, and IT personnel are stepping up to the plate with incredible skill. But all these changes can cause undue stress and anxiety. Stress and fatigue are big factors in stripping one’s immune system, so we all need to practice extra tender self-care. The following are 10 tips to help you get through this stressful and unusual time:

  1. Sleep. Rest helps restore one’s body and mind, thus neutralizing the damaging effects of stress. Take care to get adequate sleep. Turn off your phone, computer, and television an hour before you are going to bed. Quiet your mind (see #7 below) before bed, and you will likely sleep better.
  2. Hydrate. Drink a lot of water. There are reports that if you drink water every 15 minutes, the chances of any virus entering your lungs is drastically reduced. Also, hydration helps flush out toxins. Our brains and organs need water and will function at a higher level when hydrated.
  3. Hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time. Avoid touching your face. Wipe down surfaces. Fill a spray bottle with a bit of rubbing alcohol and water, and use a light mist to spray your clothing, money, mail, and/or anything that has been touched by others.
  4. Exercise. Movement is vital for maintaining healthy circulation. The lymph system is crucial to support our immune responses, and it requires movement. Also, exercise can help ward off depression.
  5. Social distancing. Avoid going out if possible. Try to maintain a distance of at least six feet. But do NOT avoid connecting with people! Skype, FaceTime, Zoom … CONNECT! It is so important for us not to isolate during this time. Call someone you haven’t spoken with in a while – reach out to seniors and those who may be alone. You’ll feel better and they will too! Try to call or video conference if possible, as it is so much more connecting than texting or emailing. But, whatever the method, do something to connect with others.
  6. Outside time. Step outside for at least 15 minutes a day, particularly if you can do it when the sun is shining. Sunlight has anti-microbial effects and stimulates balance in the pineal gland, which supports immunity. Sunlight also provides a rich source of Vitamin D3, which has shown to be effective for the immune system, bone health, and emotional health. Ever notice how you feel better after taking a walk in the sun?!
  7. Quiet time. Many studies indicate the benefit of meditation and/or prayer for a person’s physical and emotional health. You don’t have to “do it right” – just do it! Take a few minutes throughout the day just to clear your mind. Connect with what is meaningful for you. Practice some yoga, chi gong, tai chi, take a bath, light a candle, take a quiet walk, or just sit for a bit doing nothing! Take the time to nourish a connection to what matters to you. Quiet your mind from all the worries and stresses, and you will have a better chance of feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
  8. Nutrition. Try your best to eat healthy. Your body and brain need good nutrients to operate at a high level. Supplement with high quality vitamins and minerals. A few recommendations for health and immunity are Vitamin D3, Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin C.
  9. Reduce stress. Listen to some music, read a book, take a walk. Keep your cool. It is important to take precautions and act wisely, but panic is never helpful. Breathe deeply and allow calmness to enter. Count to 10 before you speak in anger. If you feel panic or anxiety coming on, take deep breaths, then tune into the following (saying them out loud if possible): focus on 4 things around you that you can see; focus on 3 things you can touch; focus on 2 things that you can smell; and focus on 1 thing that you can taste. This helps to ground a person and often times helps to dispel panic. Stop and smell an orange, a flower, some food, a pet, or anything that will bring your focus outside of yourself.
  10. Be kind. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others. Reflect on things for which you are grateful. Upon waking and before bed: list 3 things for which you are grateful. Try it – it can make a difference on your outlook. Reflect on love and beauty in self, others, and the world. Be gentle with yourself.
(Compiled from a variety of sources.)

This is also a great time to take an online class and potentially move forward in your salary advancement steps. Check out the classes that College Credit Connection has to offer.

What special things are you doing for self -care right now?  Comment below!

 

 

Cultivating Positive School Relationships

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I always looked forward to Tuesdays. It’s a day of the week that may seem a bit ho-hum, but it was the day that Mr. Rickeman, the English and History teacher, and I , the Math and Science teacher, found each other for a “High-Five Tuesday.” Such a simple human interaction boosted my spirit and gave me the encouragement I needed to face my 4th period class that day.

Are we as teachers competing or collaborating? Does more gossip or more encouragement come out of your mouth? An insight from one teacher compares our attitude and actions to fuel, and the type of fuel we consume will ultimately manifest in our own morale and our school culture. Some great advice comes from an article by Derrick Meador. He encourages teachers to be sensitive to others, and, at the same time, do not take things personally. Give people the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Be quick to give credit to others, and don’t concern yourself with getting credit yourself. Keep the students’ best interest in mind and the success of the school as a whole.

Natalie Snyders, a Speech Language Pathologist, shares some ways she has cultivated a positive school relationship at her school. Starting with the staff, she has everyone draw a name of another staff member and write them a short note of encouragement. Students also get involved and write thank you notes to their teachers, often focusing on a particular grammar lesson or skill in their own writing. Finally, Snyders recognizes the occasional need for a bathroom break and adult supervision, offering the teacher a brief relief.

Connect face-to-face with your colleagues! Start with a walk down the hall to their classroom to check on how their day was, ask for advice about a student or an upcoming lesson, or spend time outside of the school building. Adult conversation after a day of teaching can lift your spirit and set the tone for your school campus!

Are you in need of a morale boost and a High-Five Tuesday? Consider enrolling in What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action. Participants will discover how schools can create an environment that affects student achievement and maximizes the capacity of all learners.

What have you done to develop a positive culture on campus? Leave us a comment below!

 

Common Core: Where Are We Now?

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It’s hard to believe that the effort to begin developing the Common Core State Standards started 10 years ago. Now, after five or more years of implementation, what have we seen?

In June of 2019, an article in a Florida newspaper stated that while almost everyone polled in Florida said that they did not want yet another change in standards, government officials decided to move away from the Common Core and create a new set of standards. Many feel that this will not favor the public schools with a constantly changing target. However, there is a growing concern over the quality and effectiveness of the Common Core standards and the assessments.

One of the concerns of the Common Core assessments is the content. While there are some significant things missing, such as dramatic literature, there is perhaps an oversaturation of short, non-fictional snippets. Other concerns include which experts were consulted and how the results are interpreted. Finally, the level of math and reading on the text is not very high.

Some studies have shown that instead of the promised student achievement gains, there have been significant negative effects on student education. In her article, Joy Pullman points out that this decline in academic performance could even affect our country’s economy. The only people who have seemed to benefit from this were those who created and pushed the Common Core Standards.

Why were the effects possibly negative? An article in Chalkbeat suggests that several challenges could have lead to the negative effects, including a lack of quality teacher training. Others think that the problem might lie in the Common Core standards themselves.

To address the training issue, College Credit Connection, in partnership with Vanguard University, currently offers more than 30 graduate-level courses on the topic of Common Core. The courses benefit both new teachers and veteran teachers. With custom assignments at an affordable price, many teachers find these courses to benefit their instruction while also helping them move across the salary schedule. Consider taking a course to brush up on techniques for teaching the Common Core or browse the more than 300 other courses offered.

What has your experience been with the Common Core?