Ensuring Access to Educational Materials: Broken Arrow’s Story

Blog Post
July 6, 2020

As the cases of COVID-19 continue to grow across the U.S., school districts are urgently trying to roll out plans for the 2020-2021 school year. While the Centers for Disease Control and the American Association of Pediatrics have released guidance to help leaders make decisions on in-person learning, some form of distance learning will still have to be an option.

The country’s experience with crisis distance learning in the 2019-2020 school year was not always great, nor equitable. However, one school district in suburban Oklahoma worked out a model to help ensure access to educational materials with or without Internet access. As plans take shape for this coming school year, the community business partnership--which Associate Superintendent Karla Dyess discusses here—might help leaders and families.

Please take a few minutes to give this quick conversation a listen.

Broken Arrow’s Story of Ensuring Access to Educational Materials

New America’s Kristina Ishmael interviews Karla Dyess, Associate Superintendent of Broken Arrow Public Schools in Broken Arrow, OK. In the interview, Dyess talks about how the school district designed curriculum for students to access without the Internet through a community partnership with Wal-Mart. While this model was originally developed to address the challenges of crisis distance learning during the 2019-2020 school year, it may prove useful to other schools in the coming year.

For more stories of how school districts are coping with the challenges of school-building closures during the pandemic, see Ishmael’s video interviews published on April 23rd: “District Leaders Share Key Pieces of their Remote Learning Plans.” And for more on the decisions facing school leaders this summer, see our May report, Pandemic Planning for Distance Learning: Scenarios and Considerations for School Leaders. Full coverage from the Education Policy Program is available in our growing collection of resources and articles: COVID-19’s Impact on Education and Workforce Policy.