State Superintendent of Public Instruction, James Lane, announced this week the formation of a workgroup of educators, school administrators, mental health professionals, parents and leaders of community organizations to assess the needs of students and support Virginia school divisions as they implement Governor Ralph Northam's directive to provide in-person instruction options for students by March 15.
Salem High School English Teacher Andrea Johnson, the 2020 Teacher of the Year in Virginia, is part of the 23 person committee that is comprised of educators from across the state.
"I am happy, excited, humbled and thankful that I've been asked to keep contributing to this work even though my time as the state's Teacher of the Year has come to a close," says Johnson. "I think my appointment speaks to the work we have been doing in Salem and the perspective I've been able to share with the Department of Education workgroups the past year."
Using the Virginia Department of Education’s Recover, Redesign, Restart 2020 guidance document as its starting point, the Virginia LEARNS (Leading, Engaging, Assessing, Recovering, Nurturing and Succeeding) workgroup will develop recommendations and identify resources and best practices related to equity, curricula — especially in literacy and mathematics — remediation and intervention strategies, assessments, data analysis, and technology to support instruction.
Lane also charged the workgroup with creating and identifying resources and best practices to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the mental health and social-emotional well-being of students, families and school employees.
“I want to thank the members of the Virginia LEARNS workgroup for accepting the challenge of helping the commonwealth’s public schools navigate these extraordinary circumstances and meet the needs of students, especially those who have fallen behind while their schools have been unable to provide in-person instruction and support services,” Lane said. “The workgroup will assist school divisions — regardless of their current status — chart a course for the remainder of the current school year, this summer and into 2021-2022.”