NREA Weekly Updates, April 9th, 2021

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NREA Resources COVID-19
NREA "The Rural Voice" Podcast Series
Become A Member of NREA Join Online
NREA Foundation Essay Contest: April 15th Deadline
NREA Foundation Essay Contest:  April 15th Deadline
This annual contest allows participants in three divisions: grades 3–5, middle school, and high school. Grades 3–5 may participate in a written essay contest using the provided prompt and rubric. Grades 6–12 may participate in a video essay contest using the provided prompt and rubric.
  • The winner in the elementary division receives $250. The runner-up receives $100.
  • The winners in the middle and high school divisions receive $400. The runner-up receives a $200 prize.
Contest Guidelines, Prompts, and Rubrics
Grades 3–5 may participate in a written essay using the provided prompt and rubric. Middle school and high school students in grades 6–12 may participate in a video contest using the provided prompt and rubric. Any student who attends a rural school may participate. Please visit the links below for contest guidelines and rubrics.
State Affiliate Spotlights
Watch Now: Kaine hears about broadband, school construction needs
Watch Now: Kaine hears about broadband, school construction needs
BRISTOL, Va. — Groups of Southwest Virginia educators and broadband providers offered plenty of suggestions to U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine Thursday about priorities for pending federal infrastructure legislation.

Kaine met with a group of broadband providers Thursday afternoon — discussing their concerns and seeking suggestions on how to best fund service gaps in hard-to-reach rural areas. He later spoke with school superintendents and school board members about how the infrastructure bill could aid in areas like school construction and renovation.
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Kansas State University: Dr. Jerry Johnson & Dr. Hobart Harmon
Kansas State University: Dr. Jerry Johnson & Dr. Hobart Harmon
Gain insights about how principals in rural Queensland Australia, Kansas and Pennsylvania addressed challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in a new video produced by Kansas State University’s College of Education. In fall 2019 Dr. Hobart Harmon was invited to make presentations at the annual meeting of the Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia (SPERA) and, by invitation of Professor Simone White, for the Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. During the visit, SPERA President Brian O’Neill took Dr. Harmon on a week tour of rural schools in Queensland. Consequently, this provided the opportunity to launch the International Rural School Leadership Project with colleagues O’Neill, White and Dr. Jerry Johnson, chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at Kansas State. Two collaborative leadership forums were held in July 2020. One forum session provided opportunity for a panel of rural principals in Queensland to share COVID experiences with audiences in KS and PA. The second forum session included a panel of principals from rural schools districts in KS and PA (with 2 also serving as district superintendents) to share experiences with an audience in Queensland Australia. Highlights of these sessions and follow-up ZOOM interviews with the principals and NREA executive director Dr. Allen Pratt and others are presented in the video, available on YouTube at
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U.S. Department of Education Releases COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2
April 9, 2021

Press Office,(202) 401-1576 or

U.S. Department of Education Releases COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs
Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) released the COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needsto provide additional strategies for safely reopening all of America's schools and to promote educational equity by addressing opportunity gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Building off of Volume 1: Strategies for Safely Reopening Elementary and Secondary Schools, which focused on health and safety measures that schools can use to successfully implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) K-12 Operational Strategy, Volume 2 of the Handbook focuses on research-based strategies to address the social, emotional, mental-health, and academic impacts of the pandemic on students, educators, and staff, such as how to address any potential anxiety or depression some may face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly a year of remote learning.
“There is simply no substitute for in-person learning,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “But as schools reopen their doors, we must also make sure that we are meeting students’ social, emotional, physical, mental-health, and academic needs, and addressing gaps that existed before—and were exacerbated by—the pandemic. This is an opportunity for us to not only reopen our schools safely, but to make sure our education systems are truly serving all our nation’s students.”
Today’s release is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader effort to provide states, districts, schools, and communities with the resources and support they need to return to in-person learning safely and quickly, and achieve the President’s goal of reopening a majority of K-8 schools within the first 100 days of the Administration. Volume 2 identifies strategies states, districts, schools, and communities can use when implementing funding they have received from the American Rescue Plan, which invests $130 billion in safely reopening schools, sustaining their safe in-person operation, and addressing the impact of COVID-19.
Volume 2 also aims to meet President Biden’s call for communities and the country to “build back better.” As states and districts continue to reopen schools safely, the Department is encouraging communities to implement strategies that address the social, emotional, and mental-health needs of students, including the disproportionate toll COVID-19 has had on underserved communities, and address inequities in our education system that predate and have been made worse by the pandemic.
In February, the Department released Volume 1 of the COVID-19 Handbook, which provides educators and staff with practical examples, roadmaps, and tools to implement the CDC's K-12 operational strategy for in-person learning, including the recommended five key mitigation measures (universal and correct use of masks; physical distancing; handwashing and respiratory etiquette; maintaining clean and healthy facilities, including through ventilation; and contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine).
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Primary Sponsors
T-Mobile is the Primary Sponsor of our NFARE 2021 Conference!
T-Mobile is the Primary Sponsor of our NFARE 2021 Conference!
BELLEVUE, Wash. — April 7, 2021 — 5G: It just might be history’s most hyped technology revolution. But despite years of bluster about how it’s going to transform our lives, most people haven’t experienced the lightning-fast speeds and incredible performance of 5G yet. That’s changing in a big way starting today. In an online webcast a group of T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) executives led by CEO Mike Sievert announced the company’s latest Un-carrier move, a sweeping set of initiatives that mark the beginning of the #5GforAll era, including:
  • The Great Free 5G Phone Upgrade: Now, everyone in America can trade in any mobile phone and get a 5G smartphone for free.
  • The Great Unlimited Trade-Up: For the more than 1 in 3 customers, all 60 million of them, still stuck on an AT&T or Verizon limited data smartphone plan — most with limited 5G access, can upgrade to unlimited data with access to T-Mobile’s full 5G network for the same price — or less — than the competition’s limited plans.
  • T-Mobile Home Internet: Simple, fast fixed wireless broadband powered by America’s largest, fastest, most reliable 5G network.
  • T-Mobile Hometown: A massive commitment to bring 5G to rural America, hire 7,500 new employees in small towns and rural communities over the next few years, and provide $25 million in grants for community development projects.
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Elevate K-12 is our Virtual Platform Sponsor for 2021 NFARE Conference!
Elevate K-12 is our Virtual Platform Sponsor for 2021 NFARE Conference!
Elevate K-12 is passionate about creating high-quality teaching and learning opportunities for teachers and students. We are on a mission to make high-quality instruction available to all students, irrespective of where they live, bringing equality to education. We take pride in creating value and opportunities for children and women. Get ready for the new classroom!
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Sharing Information From Our Partners and Sponsors: NFARE 2021
Building Capacity, Not Dependency, with TeachUNITED
Ensuring all students, whether entering the workforce or pursuing post-secondary education, are equipped for success takes creativity and commitment in a rural community. School and community leaders in Estes Park, Colorado recently tackled this challenge head-on to help their students be as successful as possible upon graduation from high school.

As part of their efforts to support students’ post-secondary success, school and district leaders prioritized personalized learning pathways and increased student ownership of learning. While they knew what their goals were, Estes Park School District R-3 (NREA Colorado state affiliate member) also realized that they needed coaching and professional learning to build their expertise in those areas.

TeachUNITED coached lead teachers, at both Estes Park Middle and High Schools, on the strategies and skills needed to build teacher capacity for personalized learning as well as growth mindset, student engagement, and other vital skills. Those lead teachers are now leading teams of educators in each building. 100% of Colorado survey respondents reported that the TeachUNITED program increased their confidence and skills.

 “By first training our leaders, we can build that leadership capacity to spread... building a collective efficacy surrounding our global outcomes and personalized learning in our schools”
●     Ruby Bode, Assistant Superintendent, Estes Park School District R-3

Built for rural K-12 schools, ZippSlip simplifies parental communications, eliminates paper, and reduces costs. ZippSlip provides schools and districts with the ability to communicate with parents, students and staff, to ease the burden of student registration, obtaining consents and approvals, and easily track and create parental communications.
Is internet availability a concern in your community? ZippSlip is designed for broad access – we make it easy for parents to connect in their preferred language over any device with browsers or apps.
ZippSlip is both HIPAA and FERPA compliant and may be used in a range of applications including:
  • Online school registration
  • Permission slips
  • Student health forms
  • Athletic forms and signups
  • Multimedia communications – Flyers, mass notifications
  • Online payments for activities
  • Internal forms for administrative applications

Interested in learning more? Please visit, or call (830) 624-6939 or email
PresenceLearning Partnership
Every PresenceLearning partnership starts with a collaborative look at what is needed to optimize a district’s potential to best serve all students in need of assessment and/or intervention. Whether you’re struggling with short-term leaves, a chronic shortage of clinicians, case overload, or students with specialized needs, we work with you to leverage our network of more than 1,500 clinicians to design a custom program that meets your requirements.
NREA State Affiliates
NREA Virtual Conference Info
NREA Sponsors & Partners
The Rural Educator
Rural Ed. Instructional Support
NREA Foundation & Research Awards Announcements


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