ReDefining the Box: Supporting Teacher Leaders in a Virtual Educational World

Pitt County Schools is continuing to work to support all of our educators and especially our Advanced Teaching Role (ATR) teachers during the recent response to COVID-19. A lot has changed since March 13th and our goal is to keep our Pitt County Schools leaders innovating and adapting to the times. There are several projects the team is working on as we transition to this new normal. Our job today is to help explain and shape how the way we support the leaders in Pitt County Schools will be “ReDefined” during COVID-19.

A while back, I was talking about change with another PCS leader who said, “we don’t need to think outside the box, we need to redefine the box so that what is currently outside the box moves inside; to move the impossible to the possible.” The brilliance in that statement is that if something is totally different and weird, then it won’t ever be accepted. Coping with COVID-19 is different and weird, especially when it comes to educating our students. What we have to do is figure out how to maximize what we are doing and ReDefine what we are doing so we take advantage of it in the future. The word “ReDefine” is capitalized differently to highlight that it is not just something we are saying; it is something we are doing.

There are several ways that the DEEL Team will ReDefine the Box of how we support educators. One way we will continue to support our Advanced Teaching Role teachers is through The DEEL Reel🎥.These are 3-5 minute videos with an accompanying blog about strategies and skills teacher leaders can practice and implement while adapting to teaching and collaborating virtually. Some topics include: maximizing time while working from home, collaborating virtually, strategies to virtually continue to Co-Teach and work with Communities of Practice, maintaining trust in an online environment, Habits of Mind for teachers and students, supporting teachers and students emotional needs, and responding with empathy.

Another strategy we will employ is working with others inside and outside the district to produce the Eastern Carolina Education Connection, a daily 30 minute TV program for our elementary students, broadcast on a local TV station. The purpose of the program is to bridge the physical distance between students and teachers, reconnecting them with each other, particularly those who may not have access to the internet. More information will be shared about this exciting new project in an upcoming blog post.

Finally, the DEEL team is also reaching out specifically to each of our teacher leaders while we are physically separated from in an effort to maintain the community of highly-effective educators we support across Pitt County Schools. Our goal is to continue to learn with and from the best educators from across the district and the state, and it seems like now it’s important for us to continue to do that in ways that are ReDefined from how we connected prior to March 13th.

Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky summarized our attitude when he said, “Every hand we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.” The need has arisen. How will the teacher leaders of Pitt County Schools choose to lead? We are excited to witness what will come.

If teachers leaders are willing to help with either the DEEL Reels🎥or the Eastern Carolina Education Connection, please contact anyone in the DEEL office by using their PCS emails.

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