The Nation's Voice for Urban Education
April 2020 • Vol. 29, No. 3
Urban School Districts Rise to the Challenge
When the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the nation’s urban school districts to close, administrators had only a few days to prepare and figure out how to meet the nutritional and educational needs of their students. But they rose to the challenge, and since March have provided more than a million meals, distributed mobile devices and launched online instruction—or ‘classrooms in the clouds’—for thousands of students. 

This issue of the April  Urban Educator  highlights three districts—Miami, Dallas and Long Beach—that have made the transition to a remote learning environment, spotlights how Austin is providing internet access to its students and also features a story on how urban school districts have navigated roadblocks to deliver meals to students and families.

“It's pretty remarkable when you think about the millions of urban school students we are trying to serve, all at one time, with almost no notice whatsoever during this unprecedented upheaval,” said Michael Casserly, the executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools. “My hats off to everyone for the time and energy devoted to this herculean effort and the strides being made." 
Miami’s Early Preparation Pays Off In Launch of Distance Learning
On March 16, Miami-Dade County Public Schools closed schools due to the coronavirus pandemic. But officials in the nation’s fourth largest school district had been preparing for the possibility of school closures since January, when Miami Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho began ordering full-scale preparation for the possibility of having to shut down schools due to COVID-19.

Dallas Makes a Smooth Transition to At-Home Learning 
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the nation’s urban school districts to transition to online learning abruptly and with little time to plan.

And while many school systems are making tremendous strides in this area, Dallas Independent School District stands out as a large district comparatively well prepared for the emergency. 

Long Beach Ramps Up Professional Development for Remote Learning
California’s Long Beach Unified School District closed schools on March 13 to slow the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and announced plans to offer home learning opportunities for its students beginning March 23.

Austin Turns to Buses to Provide Internet Access
After closing schools to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many school districts are transitioning to online learning. Yet one of the biggest challenges they face is providing internet access to those students who live in households without WiFi capability.

Districts Scramble to Deliver Meals During Crisis  
With the aim of ensuring student – and staff -- health and well-being, the nation’s urban school districts had to pivot and, in many instances, pivot again to run emergency meal operations in the wake of school closures due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Long Beach Promotes Jill Baker to Top Post, Albuquerque Names Interim
Jill Baker, deputy superintendent of California’s Long Beach United School District, has been named superintendent in a unanimous vote of the school board. She will succeed Christopher Steinhauser, who will retire this summer after 18 years in the post.

Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite Stresses the Importance of 2020 Census
As superintendents and school boards across the nation continue to help children learn during the COVID-19 pandemic, the vital role that schools play in students’ lives has never been clearer.

Six Urban Schools Ranked Among The Nation’s Top 10
U.S. News & World Report recently released its 2020 edition of “Best High Schools,” ranking six schools in districts represented by the Council of the Great City Schools in the top 10 of more than 17,700 public schools evaluated nationwide.

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Upcoming Events
CGCS-Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarship
The deadline for students to apply for the 2020 CGCS-Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarships has been extended .

May 4, 2020

Four $5,000 scholarships for two males and two females each will be awarded to two African American and two Hispanic seniors pursuing studies in STEM-related fields in college next fall.

Executive Director
Michael Casserly
Tonya Harris
Staff Writer
Joanne Coley
Eric Gordon
CEO, Cleveland
Michael O'Neill
Board Member, Boston
Barbara Jenkins
Superintendent, Orange County (Orlando)
A newsletter published by the Council of the Great City Schools, representing 76 of the nation’s largest urban public school districts. Click here to learn more. All news items should be submitted to Tonya Harris ( ).