JULY 20, 2020 — At a time when almost everything about the next school year is uncertain, UTSA’s Urban Education Institute sees a path forward.
Mike Villarreal, director of the Urban Education Institute, and his team have spent the summer surveying almost 2,000 K–12 public school students, parents and teachers across seven Bexar County school districts and one local network of career-themed schools to find out what worked and what didn’t during pandemic distance learning. Their findings are helping inform the districts as administrators and teachers plan fall learning.
“There are very high levels of anxiety right now and it’s understandable,” Villarreal said. “Schools are hearing from teachers that they fear for their health if they have to go back inside classrooms with students, and they’re hearing from many parents who want their kids back full-time. We have vulnerable students who have experienced trauma amid food insecurity, grief and loss. There are no easy answers and there is so much at stake, but our school districts and institute have learned a lot from last spring.”
The findings in the report, “Teaching and Learning in the Time of COVID-19,” are helping inform current local planning on improving distance learning for the fall by participating schools. Superintendents and administrators are using the analysis to create evidence-based strategies strengthening remote learning.
This research, which focuses on public school teacher experiences and recommendations, is the first brief in a series coming out of the comprehensive survey. The next release this summer will look more deeply at what parents and students said they’d like to see in any future distance or hybrid-blended learning approaches.
Some of the key findings of this first brief include:
Teachers are adapting and figuring out distance learning, but they need more planning time and training.
Students were significantly less engaged during early distance learning.
The report also has research-based recommendations to improve distance learning from teachers. If schools stay virtual in the fall, teachers say these things must occur for learning to be meaningful and relevant:
⇒ Explore the work of the Urban Education Institute at UTSA.
School districts participating in the research project represent some of the largest and most diverse in the city. They include East Central, Edgewood, Harlandale, Judson, Northside, North East and Southwest. An eighth set of schools that partner with traditional public school districts known as the Centers for Applied Science and Technology Network also participated.
“It’s important to note that our schools were forced into what we now refer to as ‘emergency distance learning’ in the spring,” Villarreal said. “The vast majority of them were not equipped for such sweeping and sudden changes. With these findings, we are giving schools best practices to follow for the fall so that students are more engaged and teachers are more empowered. It’s exciting to witness the adaptability and dedication that most everyone involved in education is showing. It’s reshaping the modern classroom and our research aims to make sure that it’s all for the better.”
The UTSA University Career Center invites you to attend the STEM Career Expo from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feburary 1. Meet, connect and recruit UTSA students and alumni.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom
The UTSA University Career Center invites you to attend the All Majors Career Expo from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feburary 8. Meet, connect and recruit UTSA students.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom
To coincide with the annual observance of Black History Month, the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will unveil new content in the African American Texans exhibit including the "Fabric of a People" quilt and the "You Take It From Here" oral history project.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures
Texan fiber artist Taylor Barnes will share her experiences: where she was introduced to the personal and oral histories that influenced her artistic practice, as well as the significance of quilting and textile art in Black American history. A Q&A session will follow.Virtual event
Presented by the African American Quilt Circle of San Antonio, attendees will learn basic sewing and quilting skills. RSVP required.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures
Members of the African American Quilt Circle of San Antonio will be at the JPL to discuss their works in the new ITC exhibition "Fabric of a People." Chat about the heritage of African American story quilts or ask questions about quilting.John Peace Library, GroupSpot B
UTSA and 13 of the leading Hispanic Serving Institutions will come together to provide students and alumni an opportunity to network and interview with more than 250 companies from around the country.Handshake (Virtual Fair Platform)
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