Giving Compass' Take:

• Adam Pisoni, at The 74, discusses school districts' unique opportunity to redesign class scheduling during COVID-19 to address and improve class equity.

• Remote learning can be chaotic and challenging for schools. How can we work to make sure districts respond fairly during crisis? How can we use this time to stress the importance of equity in classes for the future?

• Look for resources that can guide your giving toward class equity across schools during coronavirus.

As educators across the country struggle to wrap up the current COVID-ravaged school year, administrators and schedulers are hard at work determining what the 2020-21 school day will look like for most students.

Some fear the challenge of scheduling will be compounded by heightened concerns about health and safety — and the fact that some students and teachers won’t return to school at all.

That dynamic creates risks of exacerbating inequities through the unintentional sorting of students. But it also presents a profound opportunity in an era when 72 percent of secondary schools still run on a traditional bell schedule. Reexamining the use of time and space may present opportunities to address persistent equity gaps.

Here are a few ways districts can leverage this unique opportunity to reimagine the structure of the instructional day:

Create more flexible schedules. Allow teams of teachers to share cohorts of students and provide longer blocks of time in which to teach them.

Simplify course catalogs. Schools often create multiple levels of each course to sort students based on proficiency.

Boost enrollment in advanced courses. Enrollment in these classes should mirror the demographics of the school’s population; students from demographic groups that have been historically underserved may not see themselves as belonging in advanced courses and need additional support.

Chart your own course. Now is the time to design simulations to experiment with alternative bell schedules, in order to identify blocks of time that can be used to meet new and emergent needs as students return to school.

In times of crisis, it can be easy to fall back on what we know. But this opportunity born of crisis offers the chance to expand access for all students, especially those who have been historically underserved, to courses that correlate to college and career readiness.

Read the full article about addressing class equity in schools by Adam Pisoni at The 74.