Recommendations for Instructional Leaders

In alignment with NCDPI and the NC State Board of Education’s mission and vision, the Instructional Principles for Remote Teaching & Learning are designed to provide guidance for student learning across North Carolina when state, national, or international crises impede students from learning in their regular school setting.

Recommendations for Instructional Leaders - Ensure Equity for Students and Staff, Provide Flexibility, Celebrate Success, Plan for Re-Entry, Communicate a Clear Vision, Support Teachers in Implementing Instruction, Develop Communication Structures

The Recommendations for Instructional Leaders are designed to provide action steps and guidance for principals, coaches, counselors, social workers, media coordinators and others who support educators and staff in their transition to remote learning.

During the COVID-19 crisis, communities across the world are adjusting to a new way of life, “Stay Home, Save Lives” which impacts all facets of their lives, including education. School leadership is essential to help teachers, students and families adjust to learning from home.


Communicate a Clear Vision

In this time of constant change in our personal and professional lives, school leaders should communicate a clear vision for teaching and learning remotely. The Instructional Design Principles for Remote Learning provides a common language for lesson design and reflection that school leaders can share with instructional leaders.

Support Educators and Staff in Implementing Instruction

Teachers need support from school and instructional leaders to develop effective remote learning lesson plans to meet the needs of all students. This includes, but is not limited to: guidance counselors, social workers, instructional technology facilitators, district office specialists, Exceptional Children teachers, Academically & Intellectually Gifted (AIG) specialists, coaches, media coordinators, and teacher assistants.

Develop Communication Structures

Focusing on communication structures that will sustain your school community and reinforce a sense of belonging across distances helps everyone. It is important to think about the entire school community, including teachers, staff, students and parents. Communication with these groups is always important, but is especially vital in time of crisis.

Ensure Equity for Students and Staff

Crises have a way of exposing the inequities in our society, and the most vulnerable communities tend to suffer the most. During these times, it is vital that instructional leaders provide the necessary structures that allow the staff to continue to “deliver equitable opportunities for every student…bearing in mind that ‘fair’ is not always ‘equal’, and equal is not always equitable” as defined in the NC Equity Plan.

Provide Flexibility

Everyone is adjusting to new schedules, a new way of life and full-time remote learning is definitely new for everyone. We must recognize that the shift to remote learning is difficult for families, as they are now asked to provide a home learning environment for their children. Encouraging administrators, teachers, students and families to be flexible is essential as we are all figuring out remote learning together.

Celebrate and Appreciate Efforts

Because everything is changing so quickly, it is easy to focus on the challenges and the daily obstacles, rather than the successes. Celebrating the small victories and highlighting what is working well will go a long way with staff members.

Plan for Re-entry

While the focus is clearly on transitioning to remote instruction, it is important to start making plans for the transition back to face-to-face instruction. This is important for instructional elements, as well as extra-curricular and end of year events and processes. The timeline may be nebulous, but having some key components in place to welcome students back will accelerate and ease the transition to face-to-face learning.

Applying the Instructional Design Principles

As schools and teachers design learning opportunities, the Instructional Design Principles are intended to serve as guideposts for developing lessons and connecting communities. It is important to remember that instruction during remote learning will look different than it does in the face-to-face classroom. The current cause of remote learning and the fact that students and families cannot come together in a physical space make the sense of community and belonging only more important.

As the weeks progress, educators and students need to be open and flexible as we figure out remote learning together. The Instructional Design Principles illustrate the importance of focusing on the whole child and connecting with students and families to ensure that schools continue to play their essential and central role in the community.

For More Information on Opportunities Aligned to these Principles

The Friday Institute is partnering with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to provide professional learning opportunities for educators to support their implementation of remote learning during the COVID-19 crisis. Sessions will be run multiple times and will change week by week. Learn more about Remote Learning to Support NC Educators.