East Bay STEM Network Pandemic Response Priorities
Updated: Jul 8
Members of the East Bay STEM Network, a cross-sector partnership composed of representatives from Pre-K through Post-secondary education, government, non-profits, and business and industry, have met twice over the past few months to gather information and consider collective action to support students and teachers as they return to school in the Fall.
Below are 4 target areas identified as requiring special attention. Planning is underway to focus the efforts of the collective on supporting new teachers, identifying strategies to support the social and emotional needs of teachers, students, and families, and promote new opportunities to connect local businesses with schools to build the local STEM workforce.
When deployed broadly, video-conferencing can increase communication between teachers and students, between students and other students, between schools and families, and between professionals and students.
Many teachers who were previously reluctant to use technology tools like Google Classroom to organize assignments and communicate with students and families have become proficient in their use.
An investment in infrastructure, devices, and broadband is necessary to facilitate effective and equitable use of new strategies
Teaching and Learning
Access to technology and broadband internet has facilitated some students in learning new skills and content on their own, with their families and through collaboration with other students, allowing teachers to focus on interpreting and using new skills and information. In many cases, teachers covered the full curriculum with much less contact time.
Many teachers restructured their assessment tools to include more project-based and holistic approaches. These should not be abandoned in favor of traditional high-stakes tests.
Student and Teacher Health and Welfare
Many teachers and students suffered through emotional issues related to isolation, stress and other consequences of the pandemic. We must pay attention to these issues and prepare to address them when we return to face-to-face instruction.
The number of preservice teachers grew during the pandemic. However, these new teachers have been admitted without completing requirements and will graduate without being required to student teach in a classroom.
Many teachers left the profession due to the stress of teaching during the pandemic.
Increasing interest from the business sector in supporting schools to develop their own local talent base.