COVID-19 Response

Rubric Helps Districts Identify Areas of Improvement for Fall Return

A bunch of education associations and education technology companies have weighed in on updates to a rubric for helping school districts determine their readiness for online learning. "Back to School Rubric v2.0" will also assist schools in identifying areas for improvement. The new tool is a product of 20 entities, including the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and ClassLink, which produces a single-sign-on program for education.

The new rubric combines a back-to-school rubric with an education continuity scorecard and includes updated criteria to help district leaders identify gaps in their plans. Additional elements specifically address district leadership. It guides school leaders through an examination of their district performance in 29 areas:

  • Goals for the school year;

  • Governance, an executive group charged with executing on the plan;

  • A review team, for setting expectations on collaboration across district teams

  • Instructional delivery, for "a variety of scenarios";

  • Policies and procedures for grading, promotion and graduation;

  • School calendars and schedules that "reflect the effects of the pandemic";

  • Principles of resource allocation;

  • Family and community engagement;

  • Communication with families, students and the broader community;

  • Attendance policies, for both students and teachers;

  • Monitoring and evaluation of the district's plan and implementation;

  • Cleaning, health and hygiene protocols;

  • Meal delivery and distribution for various scenarios;

  • Transportation of students to and from schools;

  • Digital infrastructure for supporting online instruction;

  • Data privacy and security, including adherence to regulations;

  • Internet access, to ensure students have high-speed internet for remote learning;

  • Device access for students;

  • Vulnerable student populations, meeting the needs of special populations;

  • Whole supports, physical, mental and emotional, for students and staff;

  • Curriculum, providing targets that meet students' instructional needs, whether remote or in-person;

  • Instructional materials, both analog and digital;

  • Instructional design;

  • Differentiation of instruction based on student needs;

  • Feedback for students and teachers;

  • Expectations, both time and responsibilities, set for students, parents and teachers;

  • Assessment and data for helping to understand students' instructional and social-emotional needs;

  • Professional development for teachers and staff; and

  • Collaboration among teachers and other stakeholders, in supporting students.

"As school district leaders work tirelessly on back-to school plans, the ability to assess readiness for online learning and other top priorities is critical to success," said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN, in a statement. "This new rubric is a unique and highly valuable tool that will help leaders 'kick the tires' as they gear up for blended and fully virtual learning and returning to school in the fall."

The "Back to School Plan Rubric" is openly available in a Google Doc.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.