As Michigan and the nation continue to struggle with the need to address issues of racism and systemic inequity, Michigan teachers, school administrators and support staff are facing many new challenges as they strive to serve all student populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. This collaborative project between Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Michigan Virtual responds to these needs through the development and dissemination of a series of online professional development modules for school personnel.
The online modules will be made available to educators at no cost. The series of 6-9 modules will identify the latest research and best practices for serving a variety of special populations in face-to-face and remote settings, as well as cover several important topics designed to promote inclusive teaching and learning, including SEL and trauma-informed education.
Reaching all students effectively is extremely difficult under normal circumstances. This critical policy goal has become even more challenging for Michigan schools given the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an urgent need to connect with teachers whose time is limited due to the extra work of the pandemic, who desire just-in-time support, and who live in regions of the state that don't have easy access to research-based practice strategies. The professional development programming created by this collaborative grant project will help Michigan educators better identify historical and new communication challenges for select student populations. The modules will also provide practical strategies to improve communications with Michigan’s most vulnerable students. In addition to improving communications with students, the ultimate goal is to increase student engagement with remote and hybrid learning models where face-to-face interactions are limited or missing altogether. Long-term, the professional development resources will serve as a valuable resource for Michigan’s public education system once schools return to more normal campus-based learning environments. All of the modules created by this grant will be provided in an online format to recognize the current limitations of face-to-face training opportunities for educators during the pandemic. CEDER's Nate Phipps and Darin Stockdill will be leading efforts to collaborate with SOE faculty to produce these high-quality online offerings as part of a new online learning initiative within the SOE.