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Reaching All Students: Distance Learning Resources to Support Students with Disabilities, English Learners, and their Families

April 20, 2020

SRI International
   Kirby Chow, REL Appalachia
   Christopher Ortiz, REL Appalachia
   Stephanie Nunn, REL Appalachia

The abrupt transition to distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic has left many families, caregivers, and educators in need of resources to make learning useful and accessible for all students, including students with disabilities and English learners. The table below provides resources for educators, families and caregivers, and leaders in state and local education agencies who are all looking for ways to adapt learning and provide additional support to students with varied learning needs.

Resource Organization/
Target audience Description
Preparing All Students for Algebra: Applying Research-Based Strategies Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia Math teachers grades 4–6 This professional development resource provides research-based strategies for teaching Algebra in grades 4 through 6, with a focus on struggling learners and students who are English learners.
Algebra for All: Focus on Visual Representations Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia Math teachers grades 4–6 This webinar presents research-based strategies focused on the use of visual representations to support mathematics content learning for students who are struggling and English learners.
COVID-19 Toolkit: Supporting Individuals with Autism Through Uncertain Times UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute Autism Team Families and caregivers This toolkit for families and caregivers of individuals with autism focuses on seven support strategies and includes ready-made resources to help caregivers implement those strategies quickly and easily.
The ED Games Expo “Goes Virtual” to Support Distance Learning Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Educators, families, and caregivers This blog provides links to a list of 85 learning games and technologies developed with funding from programs at the Department of Education and across the government that are now available online at no cost until the end of the school year. The resources are appropriate for audiences ranging from young children to postsecondary students as well as for teachers in general and special education across a wide range of educational topics.
FAQ on State and District Response to COVID-19 Outbreak. What are some methods of providing online instructional support for students with disabilities? Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands State and local education agencies This 2-page document has examples of how some states and districts are providing online instructional support for students with disabilities, and resource links to organizations addressing online learning for students with disabilities..
How can educators make online instruction accessible to students with disabilities? Regional Educational Laboratory Central Educators, families, and caregivers This 1-page document lists resources relevant to online learning for students with disabilities.
Accessible Technology DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center at the University of Washington Educators This webpage provides a list of resources related to assistive technology in classrooms and accessible technology design (creating web and media products that are accessible to everyone).
Remote Learning Resources CAST Educators This webpage provides curated resources on a variety of topics including how to use accessible materials and technology, universal design for learning guidelines, how to support executive functioning in remote environments, do-it-yourself accessible materials, and online lesson planning that is accessible and inclusive.
Resources for Access and Distance Education National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Educators This webpage provides information about several resources including weekly AEM webinars related to accessibility, accessibility practices for teachers (for example, creating accessible documents, making math notation accessible), access to materials for qualifying students, and U.S. Department of Education guidance in response to Covid-19.
Bookshare Benetech Educators, families, and caregivers This webpage provides information for families and educators about how to access Bookshare, an online library that provides ebooks in easy-to-read formats for students with dyslexia, blindness, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers.
List of before, during, and after online strategies for ELLs from New Visions for Public Schools New Visions for Public Schools Educators This document outlines how to approach online learning to support students with learning and linguistic differences such as students with disabilities.
Tele-intervention and Distance Learning Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) State education agencies This webpage provides a list of resources and hyperlinks from professional organizations about tele-intervention and distance learning, including funding, state guidance, technology and privacy, service delivery, activities for families at home, and research on effectiveness.
FAQ on Meeting the Needs of English Learners in an Online Environment. How can educators provide high-quality instruction to English learners (ELs) in an online environment? Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands State and local education agencies This short document provides information about how online environments can exacerbate existing inequalities for ELs, and links to existing resources to support EL instruction.
School Responses to COVID-19: ELL/Immigrant Considerations Colorín Colorado English-learner educators and English-learner families and caregivers This webpage provides a list of resources and suggestions for school staff and English-learner families. The guide includes tips for ensuring that families have access to information about online learning and that their district or school online learning plans account for English-learners. The site also offers tips on staying connected with English-learner families during the extended shutdowns by communicating with families via phone calls, texts, or video chats and providing translated information whenever possible.