Readout of the U.S. Department of Education's K-12 Educator Forum on Remote Learning Best Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Readout of the U.S. Department of Education's K-12 Educator Forum on Remote Learning Best Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 10, 2020

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos hosted the second in a series of forums with K-12 education leaders this week to discuss best practices for remote learning, including lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2,000 education leaders from across the country listened in as educators from Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina discussed how they established innovative virtual learning capabilities to serve students and teachers now and in the future.

Secretary DeVos kicked off the call by welcoming participants and thanking them for their work to ensure learning continued for all students during the 2019-20 school year. Secretary DeVos also emphasized the importance of sharing best practices and learning from each other as education leaders work to rethink distance learning for students in their unique communities.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, my team and I have focused on empowering those closest to students with the flexibilities and resources they need to meet their specific needs,” said Secretary DeVos. “While there are unique public health situations facing each community, it is critical that everyone continue preparing and adapting with eyes focused on building capacity for distance learning and ultimately safely reopening soon. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for learning across communities, one thing everyone does have in common is a commitment to ensuring learning continues for all students—no matter where they live and no matter what kind of school they attend.”

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan gave brief remarks to highlight the importance of distance learning as the country reopens following the pandemic. He then moderated the discussion on the following topics:

  • Best practices for establishing clear lines of communication with students and parents during distance learning, including the use of videoconference technologies
  • The importance of information sharing on distance learning experiences between schools in a district
  • How to execute on innovative distance learning activities for students such as virtual field trips
  • How local school districts overcame challenges over the last few months, including transitioning to online learning, solving internet connectivity issues, providing meals to students, and administering tests remotely
  • How to better equip teachers with the knowledge and training needed for successful distance learning instruction

Attendees to the discussion included K-12 superintendents, teachers, learning coaches, resource teachers, chief state school officers, and virtual curriculum developers representing traditional public, charter, private, independent and virtual schools across the country.

Participants from the U.S. Department of Education
Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education
Frank Brogan, assistant secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

K-12 Education Leaders Participating
Courtney Bauknecht, kindergarten – 4th grade science teacher, Brass City Charter School, Waterbury, Connecticut
Kara Heichelbech, innovation & learning manager for Indiana Online, Central Indiana Educational Service Center, Indianapolis, Indiana
Brady Johnson, superintendent, Iredell-Statesville Schools, North Carolina
Steven McCartney, upper school dean, Jackson Academy, Jackson, Mississippi
Hollis Milton, superintendent, West Feliciana Parish Schools, Louisiana
Julie Young, vice president of education outreach and student services for Arizona State University (ASU), and managing director of ASU Prep Academy and ASU Prep Digital High School, Arizona

For more information on all the efforts the Department is taking to address the COVID-19 national emergency, visit ed.gov/coronavirus.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit the following websites: https://www.coronavirus.gov, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus.