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AFT NM 2020 Fall School Reentry Plan

A Year Like No Other

While there are a lot of different feelings and opinions about the upcoming school year, without question the 2020 academic year will be like no other we have experienced in our careers, or even our lifetimes.

We know the beginning of the academic year will not be without transitional challenges, especially since local districts and higher education institutions have wide discretion in the approaches they are able to take to educate students during the fall semester. Some districts and higher education institutions have already chosen to continue remote learning through the fall term, and some are waiting for further guidance from our Governor to plan their next steps towards increased hybrid, in-person instruction.

Our union, at a national, state, and local level, has been fighting to ensure local decisions are being made which not only balance your needs, but also the needs of the students and families we serve. We remain steadfast that all local educational decisions must prioritize the health and safety of the educational community. This prioritization is underscored by recent reports that almost three dozen separate educational sites across New Mexico have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 – even before many educational sites opened their doors to students.

Today, we released a guide – informed by many of our union members who completed AFT NM surveys – which outlines goals for safer reentry into our schools and higher education institutions. We appreciate your survey feedback greatly, and we invite you to read the guide by clicking HERE.

Additionally, we know instruction via an online platform is challenging for both you, but also your students and your own family. We wanted to resend the following links and resources which may help you as you navigate new styles of instruction or new ways of completing your “normal” jobs in a time that is anything but “normal.”

Albuquerque Teachers Federation President Dr. Ellen Bernstein recently presented to the New Mexico Legislative Education Study Committee on the resources available to AFT members, many of which are geared towards instruction during COVID-19. Additionally, our union is partnering with the NM PED to increase access and use of AFT-developed materials and professional development throughout the state:

AFT COVID-19 Resources (Updated frequently.)

AFT’s clearing house on all things related to COVID-19, including sample protocols, best practices, advice, and helpful information for educators working in all settings and educational levels. Many resources are available in both English and Spanish.

Share My Lesson (Many modules and webinars are COVID-19 learning-specific)

Share My Lesson is the AFT’s free online resource sharing site created by educators and for educators. Share My Lesson serves AFT and non-AFT members with over 1.7 million members and climbing. Resources are available for PreK-12th grade, adult learners, parents, higher education, and paraprofessional and support staff in every subject area. Share My Lesson also offers online professional development throughout the year, providing hours of webinars covering a variety of topics.

Colorín Colorado

Colorín Colorado is the premier national website serving educators and families of English language learners (ELLs) in Grades PreK-12. Colorín Colorado has been providing free research-based information, activities, and advice to parents, schools, and communities around the country for more than a decade.

NM PED Sponsored, Self-Paced Professional Development Course: “Making Virtual Learning Accessible for All Students”

This course will provide educators with strategies to support student learning in an online setting, including how to:
·      Create equitable virtual/online practices
·      Leverage the virtual learning environment to support differentiated instruction
·      Develop strategies for increasing student engagement in a virtual learning environment
·      Tools for online engagement (making videos, using Flipgrid and more)
·      Ideas on how to Structure Collaborative Learning

Additional links and resources that you may find helpful are included below:

ELEVATE NM – NM’s New Teacher Evaluation System (This system is being “tested” for the ’20-’21 academic year.)

NM PED Reentry Guidance (Updated frequently.)

NM HED Reentry Guidance (Updated frequently.)

Childcare Resources from NM Regional Educational Cooperatives (For educators and families.)

NM Department of Health COVID-19 Resources (Updated frequently.)

Across New Mexico, our union has been proactively working to ensure the beginning of the year goes as smoothly as possible. We know the process hasn’t been perfect, but significant union-led victories for the safety of our students and educators from Gallup to Albuquerque, Taos to Gadsden has shown the power of our union and the strength of our dedicated members and educational professionals. Truly, there is power in a union!

Keep up the good work, stay strong and safe, and continue to excel each and every day as you perform challenging work in even more challenging circumstances. We are here for you and appreciate your commitment to our students, families, and public education in New Mexico!

In Solidarity,

Stephanie Ly, President

AFT New Mexico

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