December 4, 2020


The National Alliance and Amazon Business hosted a webinar highlighting the benefits of digitally transforming your school's purchasing process. Below are some key ideas from the webinar. 

The 2020-2021 school year forced schools to innovative unlike any other year: from teaching in a virtual environment, developing in-person learning strategies to meet students' needs, and ensuring the health and safety of staff and students. 

Operations personnel execute the vision, as school leaders align on school strategy, and are tasked with ensuring safety, well-equipped with classroom and operational supplies, driving efficiencies while remaining within budget. That is no small feat. 

Amazon Business works with education customers to identify pain-points and create solutions within purchasing and procurement, such as:

  • Driving visibility around spend and identifying cost savings opportunities
  • Reducing time spent searching for items, requesting products to decision-makers, and waiting on the delivery.
  • Free up staff's time by automating ordering and reconciliation processes 

Amazon Business benefits your school by digitally transforming your school's purchasing process-- chief among them is enabling your faculty and staff to focus on teaching and mentoring students. Simplifying the purchasing processes empowers faculty and staff to make smart purchasing decisions, save time and money, and process remote supply requests quickly. 

Many schools are transforming purchasing with Amazon Business including Vincent Moorehead, Head of Strategic Procurement and Supply Chain at Success Academy Charter Schools: 

"The challenges of providing an exceptional K-12 education to 20,000 children in some of the most vulnerable neighborhoods of New York City have been unprecedented. This month alone, we distributed tens of thousands of books, headphones, science, and art kits to ensure our kids' at-home learning experience was the best it could be. With Amazon Business, Success Academy has been able to simplify the purchasing process and improve efficiencies, while also identifying cost savings." 

We encourage you to watch the webinar and visit to learn more.

Patricia Guidetti is the director of programs at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

November 20, 2020


The National Alliance hosted a webinar with DreamBox Learning featuring education leaders to discuss how a crisis can be a catalyst for education innovation. The panelists included Jessie Woolley-Wilson, President & CEO of DreamBox Learning, Kevin Hall, President & CEO, Charter School Growth Fund, Dr. Jason Bransford, CEO, Gem Innovation Schools, and Kinnari Patel-Smyth, Executive Director, KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every facet of our lives, including where we work and learn. Over the past seven months, schools went from a traditional in-person experience to remote and hybrid learning. Facing deep uncertainty, schools and supporting organizations had to create responsive plans to help students, educators, and the communities they serve.

In this webinar, we learned how the pandemic affected schools, philanthropy, and education technology, lessons learned, and the opportunities to reimagine education. Here are three key takeaways from the webinar, which could help any leader design a plan for the pandemic's long-term effects and forge a path towards innovation and equity. 

  1. Lead with Care 

In moments of ambiguity and intense pressure, leaders must lead with care, honesty, and transparency. Creating an environment for your organization's values to come to life is essential. The organizational culture that you create helps ensure trust between leaders and staff. Teams managed by leaders who take time to understand their needs and listen and respond to concerns are more likely to adapt to change. 

At the Charter School Growth fund, Kevin and his team adopted a holistic view of leadership that allowed them to remain responsive to the school leaders' changing needs and provide much-needed funding to needs brought on by the pandemic. Kinnari and her team at KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools introduced "equity pause," a breathing practice that allows staff to call out injustice between a majority and a minority and or a feeling that they've observed a microaggression. Responsive moments like this, and the ability to embrace vulnerability, create space for your values as an organization to comes to life.

  1. Communication is Key 

Sharing information about what you know and being honest if you don't have the answers is always a good leadership practice, but now more than ever, it is a necessity. When people are feeling anxious and stressed, it is especially important to share information clearly and honestly. Kinnari points out, it is okay not to have the answers but share what you know, and don't be afraid to make decisions, especially if it will create calm amid chaos for your staff. 

For Jason and his team at Gem Innovation Schools, it meant ramping up communications to families and staff to fill the void with accurate information about why specific actions or policies were being adopted and connecting those decisions to the organization's values.

  1. Radically Reimagine the Future

The coronavirus pandemic has magnified many inequities in the education system. And it may be hard to imagine right now because we are trying to survive, but five years from now, what positive outcomes did the pandemic generate that made you and your organization more successful? 

Jason, Kinnari, and Kevin shared their thoughts on a post-pandemic outlook for their organizations: 

  • Students with a high degree of ownership of their learning. 
  • Dexterity for schools to flow between different learning models seamlessly.
  • Strong focus on community and togetherness.
  • Reimagine what school should be, especially for black and brown students. 

What is your post-pandemic outlook for your organization? What happened during the pandemic that made your work more successful five years from now? 

Sindy Pierre-Noel is the senior manager of programs at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.


November 10, 2020


As part of the NCSCvirtual wrap-up series, I am sharing tips for teaching students self-care. The trauma and stressors of COVID-19 affect us all. Teaching self-care will help educators focus on teaching skills and activities to promote emotion regulation, independence, personal care, self-management, self-awareness, self-empowerment, and coping skills. 

Self-care is any activity that we do to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. It can include but is not limited to social, emotional, physical, and spiritual care. However, self-care is not “one size fits all.” It is crucial to empower students with a self-care “toolbox” with different skills and strategies for different scenarios and contexts. 

An important factor to consider when implementing self-care into your classroom is the developmental age. Educators who teach younger children may want to include routines for personal care, such as washing hands, bathing, and taking care of their bodies. In contrast, older students and adolescents may want to focus on outlets for safe physical activity, social media boundaries, ways to reduce isolation, navigating relationships, and emotional boundaries.

Here are some Tips for Lessons on Self-Care Classrooms that can be used in-person or online:

  • Begin the school year with self-care lessons and routines as part of your classroom culture.
  • Utilize in your lessons visuals and quotes on self-care or apps/websites students can use for self-care. 
  • Create reflection assignments for self-care like journaling.
  • Create lessons on self-care routines & how to create a self-care schedule. 
  • Create opportunities for students to talk or reflect on their self-care practices, including practices that work and don’t work for them. 
  • Create classroom routines for self-care (i.e., brain breaks, coloring breaks, mindfulness routines, calming music, etc.)
  • Create self-care spaces in classrooms (self-care corner, calming images, sensory items, coloring sheets, or calming zoom backgrounds online.)  

What is even more important is to remember when teaching students self-care is taking time for yourself. You cannot fill from an empty cup, so you need to “fill yourself first.” To take care of our students, you must practice and engage in your own self-care and ‘walk the walk.’ In turn, you will model for students how to cope and thrive in “our new normal.” 

Marina A. Badillo is a Social Worker and Counseling Director at a Charter Transfer High School located in Brooklyn, New York. She is a Doctoral Candidate at New York University’s School of Social Worker and is an Adjunct Professor for the City University of New York.   

October 9, 2020


NCSC speakers are some of the best education thought leaders and advocates for high-quality public education for all kids. But beyond their ability to inspire on the main stage at our conference each year, they are also best-selling authors. Through their words, they share insights and strategies that foster dialogue to motive change. From unlocking the power to social-emotional health to help kids thrive and teaching online to deeply personal and transformational stories of hope, these books will challenge us to think critically about the future of education. 

We hope you will take some time in the coming weeks to delve into these books and involve your school or office as a professional development opportunity or book club.

 Lemov Book jacket  PTF book jacket  Mckesson Book Jacket  prepared book jacket


Doug Lemov

Teaching in the Online Classroom: Surviving and Thriving in the New Normal 

Although the transition to online education is happening more abruptly than anyone anticipated, technology-supported teaching may be here to stay. Teaching expert Doug Lemov and his colleagues spent weeks studying videos of online teaching and they now provide educators in the midst of this transition with a clear guide to engaging and educating their students online. 

This guide explores the challenges involved in online teaching and guides educators and administrators to identify and understand best practices.  It is a valuable tool to help you and your students succeed in synchronous and asynchronous settings  this school year and beyond. 


Marc Brackett 

Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive 

In his 25 years as an emotion scientist, Marc Brackett has developed a remarkably effective plan to improve the lives of children and adults – a blueprint for understanding our emotions and using them wisely so that they help, rather than hinder, our success and well-being. This book combines rigor, science, passion and inspiration in equal parts. Too many children and adults are suffering; they are ashamed of their feelings and emotionally unskilled, but they don’t have to be. Marc Brackett’s life mission is to reverse this course, and this book can show you how.


diane tavenner

Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life 

An educator and mother, Diane Tavenner cofounded the first Summit school in 2003. Summit Public Schools has won national recognition because 99 percent of Summit students get into a four-year college, and Summit students finish college at twice the national average. But in a radical departure from the environments created by the college admissions arms race, Summit students aren’t focused on competing with their classmates for rankings or test scores. 

Today, thousands of educators, tens of thousands of students, and hundreds of schools across thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have embraced the Summit model. Through personal stories and the hard-earned lessons of Summit’s exceptional team of educators and diverse students, Diane Tavenner shares the underlying learning philosophies and unconventional wisdom that lead to all children being prepared for school and life.


DeRay Mckesson

On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope 

In August 2014, twenty-nine-year-old activist DeRay Mckesson stood with hundreds of others on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to push a message of justice and accountability. These protests, and others like them in cities across the country, resulted in the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, in his first book, Mckesson lays down the intellectual, pragmatic, and political framework for a new liberation movement.

Honest, courageous, and imaginative, On the Other Side of Freedom is a work brimming with hope. Drawing from his own experiences as an activist, organizer, educator, and public official, Mckesson exhorts all Americans to work to dismantle the legacy of racism and to imagine the best of what is possible.

Sindy Pierre-Noel is the senior manager of programs at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.