/ News / Statewide Work Group launches website and initial resources to support flexible learning models for 20-21 school year

Statewide Work Group launches website and initial resources to support flexible learning models for 20-21 school year

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LANSING, Mich. —​ The Learning Continuity Work Group convened by Michigan Virtual has released a new website to help Michigan educators prepare for the coming academic year. The website, ​Keep Michigan Learning​, provides a collection of free resources to help teachers and school administrators assess their remote teaching readiness, guide decisions about online learning platforms, and access a crowd-sourced K-12 digital content repository.

Launched in April, the 25-member​ Statewide Learning Continuity Work Group​ is composed of experienced teachers, principals, superintendents, technology directors, and other leaders who possess a deep understanding of instructional design, online/blended learning, and non-traditional delivery models. The Work Group is co-chaired by Dr. John VanWagoner, new Superintendent of Traverse City Public Schools and Dr. David Richards, former superintendent and President Core2Edge, LLC. Over the past three months, the panel of experts created the tools housed at ​Keep Michigan Learning​ to help plan for the return to school in the fall that will support fluid face-to-face, hybrid and 100% online teaching solutions that may need to shift with little notice based on public health data.

“The Keep Michigan Learning website is another important resource to help guide Michigan teachers, administrators, and families through the pandemic,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “We are all learning about how to deliver quality education in this new and challenging environment. Having trusted resources that have been developed and/or vetted by Michigan educators is a great asset.”

“Schools are facing historic challenges as they work over the summer months to develop plans to serve students with quality learning options for the 2020-21 school year. On behalf of all teachers and administrators in Michigan, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to members of the ​Learning Continuity Work Group ​who volunteered countless hours to develop practical tools and resources to share with their colleagues statewide,” said Jamey Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Michigan Virtual. “COVID-19 has been a brutal and disruptive force for our schools and has negatively impacted educators, students, and parents. Working together, I am confident we can leverage our collective energy and ingenuity to make lemonade out of lemons. We have an opportunity to think outside the box and develop impactful learning models for all students while keeping them healthy.”

“We owe it to our children to find a way to give them quality educational options during this pandemic. We are in uncharted waters and there is significant value in convening a group of thought leaders from around the state to examine barriers and identify practical solutions,” said Dr. Gerald Hill, superintendent of West Bloomfield School District and member of the Learning Continuity Work Group. “No one has all the answers and we need to rely on each other to get through this difficult period. I am very impressed by the initial resources developed by the Work Group. I know school leaders will find them useful.”

School administrators are encouraged to visit ​Keep Michigan Learning​ to utilize the following free resources:

  • Teacher Self-Assessment Tool and Personalized Professional Development Playlist Generator
    This interactive self-assessment tool asks teachers to evaluate their readiness to effectively reach and teach students in a remote or blended learning environment. Upon filling out this checklist, teachers will receive an automated playlist of PD options based on their unique growth areas.
  • Learning Management System K-12 Selection Guide
    This free guide will help educators and school leaders decide which learning management system (LMS) is the right fit for their school or district if they are prepared to implement an LMS, and how popular LMSs compare to one another to determine which path forward will be best for their school.
  • Crowd-Sourced K-12 Digital Content Repository
    This crowd-sourced repository contains resources listed by fellow educators and can be used to find, share, and rate both free and paid digital content options that can be used in the K-12 classroom.

In addition to developing these resources for school leaders, the Work Group is also conducting qualitative research that captures human stories and identifies key knowledge gaps to help influence possible solutions for new delivery models with the help of Sundberg-Ferar, a nationally recognized design thinking firm headquartered in Michigan. A report of those findings will be published in the coming weeks.

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About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual™ (formally known as Michigan Virtual University®) provides online courses for Michigan students, professional development for educators and is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute®. As a nonprofit organization with more than 20 years of experience, Michigan Virtual is Michigan’s leading voice in online education. Visit us at michiganvirtual.org.

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