Top 5 Challenges of a School Administrator Supporting Online and Hybrid Instruction
Each K–12 school year brings its own set of issues and opportunities, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, administrators and teachers are facing historically complex challenges. At the top of the list for most school districts is providing effective instruction in hybrid and online learning environments.
At the dawn of the 2020–21 academic year, Walden University convened a panel of experts online to share ideas and best practices for supporting K–12 administrators and educators. In the webinar “Online and Hybrid Instruction: Preparing K–12 Educators for the Upcoming Academic Year,” elementary school principal Dr. Sharon Porter zeroed in on the top five challenges for administrators: quality instruction; access for students; effective communication; social and emotional issues for students, teachers, staff, and administrators; and economic hardship for students and families.
Dr. Suzanne Wesson, academic coordinator for Walden’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Human Sciences, thanked Porter for her insights and acknowledged the historic challenges facing educational leadership and administration in schools.
“Take a deep breath and know that you are not alone with the stress or the challenges. If there's one thing that you take with you from here, I hope it will be that there are resources and people available to help and support you,” Wesson said.
Addressing Porter’s top-five list, Wesson offered the following roundup of go-to sources and suggestions:
Challenge No. 1: Quality Instruction
- Instructional specialists: campus/district/region
- Board of Cooperative Educational Services or Education Service Centers
- Collaboration with universities, state/national curriculum organizations, state/national educational technology organizations, retired teachers’ organizations, and consultants
Challenge No. 2: Access for Students
- Federal and state funding
- Grants (National Institutes of Health)
- Websites for teacher needs (search “free classroom resources” or “free resources for schools during COVID-19” and visit the National Education Association, Donors Choose, etc.)
Challenge No. 3: Effective Communication
- One voice speaks for the district.
- Consult with district lawyers on retainer for numerous resources. The first call is free.
- Collaborate with other administrators/superintendents.
- Be direct, be positive, and provide translated language documents.
Challenge No. 4: Social and Emotional Issues for Students, Teachers, Staff, and Administrators
- Utilize counselors.
- Collaborate with other districts and share personnel.
- Provide time and privacy for those seeking assistance.
- Provide positive communication to students, families, and staff—handwritten notes, fun virtual activities, and humor. Laughter really helps with stress.
- There’s a significant increase in domestic violence and child abuse. Remind staff that self-quarantining decreases opportunities for children and spouses to cry out. Reinforce the importance of noticing personality changes or marks on the arms, neck, or face.
Challenge No. 5: Economic Hardship for Students and Families
- District food service. Many are sending food out on school buses to reach communities.
- Community food banks
- Community sources (city, state, and national events)
- Providing communication on available resources in multiple languages. Send by U.S. mail and email, post on district and campus websites, and distribute to all campus offices, counselors, coaches, band directors, etc. Include addresses, phone numbers, and URLs. Flood your community with resources.
“Especially now, administrators need to remember that students, families, teachers, and staff are being affected by the changes society is going through,” Wesson said. “Taking care of others, knowing we're not alone in this, and reaching out to help—and for help—can get us all through this.”
Help Lead the Way With a Doctor of Education
Earning a Doctor of Education (EdD) can help you become an inspirational leader who helps find solutions to the most complex problems facing schools today. As a Walden online EdD candidate, you’ll have access to the most current teachings and theories to prepare you to influence learning outcomes in your school or district.
Walden’s EdD online degree program offers multiple specializations that let you focus your doctoral degree studies on your career interests and goals. Specializations include:
- Special Education
- Higher Education (Self-Designed)
- Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
- Educational Technology
- Early Childhood Education
- Community College Leadership<
- Higher Education Leadership and Management
There’s also a P–20 Education (Self-Designed) specialization that gives you maximum flexibility and customization. You design your online EdD course of study by choosing from electives that focus on issues critical to P–20 education.
Walden knows how to support working adults so they can earn a degree online while still engaged in their personal and professional lives. Walden has your back by offering comprehensive student support when you need it—valuable resources that include research support services, Student Success Advisors, peer mentors, academic writing support, and much more.
Leaders rise to meet challenges. And as the coronavirus pandemic shifts the educational landscape, the challenges—and opportunities—for leaders are plentiful. Seize this moment to begin your online EdD journey and let this seminal degree program prepare you for a next-level career.
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