PMP200: Looking Back at Distance Learning with Jen Schwanke

Now that the dust has settled from distance learning, school leaders are asking: what worked, and what didn’t work?

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How did you stay connected to people, or what important milestones did you miss? In this week’s podcast episode, Principal Jen Schwanke shares reflections on ways school leaders can look back at lessons during distance or remote learning.

Making a list

First, Jen talks about ways that leaders can reflect with a two column list: What we lost vs. What we gained.

As you look back at lost opportunities like school parties, graduations, and human connection, it is important to acknowledge the loss.

This also helps you continue to be real with your students, teachers, and community members while also remembering what others love about your school.

At the same time, ask yourself what you gained.

Perhaps your list includes:

  • An opportunity to do a new kind of job…
  • A break from discipline and angry conflicts…
  • An increase in gratitude for the small things…
  • A new way to look at challenges/opportunity…

Options for next year

Then we discuss options principals are considering for next year, differences in state and district guidance.

School leaders must consistently ask: What is my role? Remember that one of your responsibilities as a school leader is to value ALL view-points: parents, teachers, students, community members, etc.

Ask yourself, who are we trying to please?

As always, you must keep asking what is best for students. But also, how does any plan you are considering also affect laws, parents, teachers?

Your community members need to know you are not passing judgement on their different levels of response to pandemic restrictions or openings. They need to know you respect all opinions while doing your job to care for all students.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Finally, Jen shares a new motto she is adopting for the summer and semester ahead: Stop saying, “Yeah, but…” Instead start thinking, “Yes, we can.” Your school community will need someone who is willing to keep leading with optimism and positivity no matter what challenges are still ahead.

Now It’s Your Turn

Listen to this entire conversation for more perspectives, feedback and ideas on hybrid plans for the months ahead.

What are some ideas you would add to the conversation? Email with your feedback, and thanks for doing what matters!

Think someone else would benefit from this episode?
William D. Parker
William D. Parker