As schools and school districts navigate these challenging times in response to COVID-19, our PALS/Illuminate team is on standby for you as you make decisions regarding how to support families, teachers, and student learning in the coming months.
PALS in a distance learning environment
We understand that situations vary according to region and resources. No one solution will fit every district. For this reason, we offer some options for support below, but also will continue to explore ideas and develop additional tools as we continue to learn and discover the emerging needs of schools and their students as time goes on.
Our goal is to be responsive to the evolving ways in which districts and families are finding to support literacy development for students, and especially for those who have been identified as being at risk for a serious reading difficulty. In the meantime, we would like to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org) about the needs of your schools and the families you serve. Please consider filling out the Fall 2020 Check In survey on the COVID-19 Resources tile in your PALS Online account.
Our PALS Literacy Specialists are here to talk things through.
Deciding how to handle your district’s educational objectives virtually can be complicated. That’s why we’re here to talk through the logistics of whatever you’re trying to solve. Reach out to us at email@example.com if you’d like to set a time to chat by phone with a literacy specialist about PALS assessment windows and score entry, analysis of existing data to identify the most crucial areas of instructional need for struggling students, online professional development options, and existing resources. While we may not have all the answers for your specific situation, we can walk through it with you together.
PALS Monthly Webinars for Professional Development from Home
PALS Premier clients have access to all of our online courses and monthly webinars on the PALS Professional Development website. We’ve updated some of our topic offerings for this school year to address districts’ heightened interest in supporting students’ literacy development in their home environments, and to address the challenges teachers face in multiple unknowns regarding the current skills and knowledge of their returning students in Fall 2020.
PALS Parent Activities in the PALS Online System
Any teacher or administrator with an active PALS Online account already has access to PALS Parent Activities for supporting literacy at home. Simply log into your account, find the “Instructional Resources” tab on your Home Page, then click on the “Resources for Parents” menu option at the left and view the links under, “For Parents: Supporting Literacy at Home.”
Not all instructional activities for literacy skills that are used in the classroom by teachers are easily translatable or usable in a home environment or by parents without teaching degrees. These “Parent Activity” handouts were developed by UVA to provide parents ways of supporting children’s language development and basic literacy skills through everyday activities in a variety of home settings.
PALS Resource Center Literacy Skill-Specific Pages
Delays in reading and spelling acquisition are often due to a weakness or delay in acquisition of one of the underlying literacy foundation skills. That’s why our PALS literacy specialists are working on providing resources for targeting specific literacy skills at home, to help possibly alleviate some of the “summer slide” and/or “quarantine slide” that can be expected for struggling readers who are waiting to return to their regular intervention instruction.
Look for the links to each of these pages on the new COVID-19 tile on your home page when you log into the PALS Online System!
Free Late Score Entry for Mid-Year PALS Scores
Do you have teachers who were not able to enter the PALS Mid-Year assessment scores they recorded on paper, because of the sudden closing of schools? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how these scores can be entered even during the spring window, for no fee.
Using PALS Materials to Collect Information for Instructional Planning Rather Than for Screening
The use of PALS to screen for risk of reading difficulty in students necessitates adhering to a high standard for administration protocols, to make sure that screening results are accurate. Attempting to administer PALS virtually qualifies as nonstandard administration; therefore, results cannot be used to accurately identify students as “at risk for reading difficulty” and the established benchmarks would be irrelevant in this instance.
In the absence of complete PALS standard assessment data for spring 2020, some teachers or reading specialists are choosing to instead use PALS Quick Checks materials to collect information virtually about students’ current skills in order to evaluate progress, provide instruction for these skills at home, and make plans for possible summer programming.
We are pleased to share that we now have materials available within the PALS Online System that can be used to support the use of PALS Quick Checks materials to collect information about students virtually. These materials can be found on a new COVID-19 Resources tile on the Division, School, and Teacher Home Pages in the PALS Online System.