In the midst of Thanksgiving, former US Secretaries of Education and Directors of the Office of Educational Technology of Education came together as a COVID Collaborative with an integrated resource to help us with our online learning environment. This is especially timely, as they note, “With the recent resurgence of coronavirus infections across the country, as much as we would like to safely reconvene in-person learning, online learning will likely make up part or all of student learning for most schools for the foreseeable future. This makes it imperative that we improve the quality of online learning for students and educators this year. Intentional focus, planning, and resources are needed to ensure that online learning closes – not widens – the inequity in learning that students experience. To that end, we offer 10 ways to make online learning work better, based on concrete data and evidence.”

  1. Connect all learners
  2. Support teachers
  3. Align online programs with quality standards
  4. Rethink use of instructional time
  5. Foster connections and relationships
  6. Assess learning needs
  7. Identify students not being served
  8. Support special populations
  9. Ensure continuity of services to care for the whole child
  10. Leverage the crisis to build a better system

Take some time to read and connect to the resource as they provide a robust set of tools to support the 10 offerings above. 

The authors conclude with, “Times of crisis have always summoned the greatest of our people. Educational institutions are now at the center of a national crisis that demands that we meet this moment with renewed creativity and energy for the sake of millions of children and youth. COVID-19 has given us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink and reimagine all parts of the learning experience. We have an opportunity to use this moment to address many of the long-standing challenges that have plagued our education system. But taking advantage of this moment requires action and vision – beyond just ‘getting through’ the moment. We must take advantage of this runway that we have been given to provide a more equitable, engaging and effective learning experience for our students and their families and provide equal access to the American Dream.”

How will you take advantage of the runway in your system?


Frances Marie Gipson, PhD

Dr. Frances Marie Gipson is a clinical associate professor of education in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University, and also serves in the capacity of Director of the Urban Leadership Program. Prior to this role, Dr. Gipson served as the Chief Academic Officer of the second largest school district in the nation.  Dr. Gipson’s leadership has been formally recognized from her peers, higher education, and national organizations ranging from Administrator of the Year Award from ACSA, the Tae Han Kim award for humanitarian and cultural accomplishments, CSULA Day of the Educator award for excellence in fieldwork supervision, Excellence in Urban Leadership Award, Top 30 Trailblazers, Technologists, and Transformers by the Center for Digital Education, AALA President’s Award, Sanford Inaugural Scholar, and most recently Distinguished Alumni by CGU.

Dr. Gipson believes that “living in the system” and “disturbing the system” are both critical to agency and advocacy for youth, and ensure that our communities are at the center of all decisions. She is inspired to coach, mentor, and support the next generation of urban leaders who will promote flourishing urban school systems.