Between school closures, distance learning, keeping track of students’ well-being from afar, and concerns over the pandemic, educators are under more pressure than ever. Like most other states across the country, Texas will be keeping school buildings closed for the remainder of the academic year. This tough decision was the clear choice to protect students and staff alike, but leaves educators scrambling to ensure the state’s students can remain engaged in their education remotely until summer break.
To help alleviate some of this pressure, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is now accepting applications for the 2019–2021 Instructional Continuity Grant. Designed to support instructional continuity as students learn remotely, district awards will range from $10,500 up to $220,000. These awards may be used to fund resources that facilitate distance learning efforts, helping to support continuity for schools that have been affected by closures during the pandemic. Resources range from instructional supports and technical assistance to professional development for teachers.
For districts looking to ramp up student safety and well-being in the distance learning environment, Gaggle can offer greater peace of mind when it comes to digital safety. Our powerful student safety solution can help keep an eye on students as they engage with school-issued technology both during and after school hours, helping districts identify those who may be struggling with feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Distance learning can be challenging and isolating for students, who may be having a difficult time with the idea of not returning to school or seeing their friends until the next academic year begins.
Today’s technology is helping with the shift to remote learning, but school districts must take action to protect students as they navigate the digital environment. Tools such as Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams can prove incredibly useful for communication and collaboration, but they can also be an area for students to engage in risky behaviors. Using a combination of machine learning and human safety experts, Gaggle’s solution reviews students’ use of these popular digital tools and alerts school officials as needed. The solution flags content when students show signs of self-harm, thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, cyberbullying, threats of violence, and more.
In order to be eligible for funds, interested districts and open-enrollment charter schools must have at least one Targeted Support and Improvement Title I campus. Please note that applications are due by 5:00pm CT on May 22, 2020.