Photo: Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The American Federation of Teachers launched several capstone lesson plans Tuesday to help K-12 teachers measure student progress during school closures and overcome the challenges of a remote learning setting.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the inequalities students face when forced to learn from home, and how teachers must adapt to individual needs like limited broadband or mobile-only devices.

The big picture: About 96% of America's 57 million K-12 students have been affected by school closures, according to AFT.

  • The union's "Culminating Capstone Projects" guide teachers through several personalized projects and lesson plans that can provide limited-to-no technology options for students like posters, brochures or presenting to a teacher by phone.
  • The plans stretch through the remaining weeks of the school year.

What they're saying

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that students already have completed at least seven months of learning. We need to make sure to honor this, not invalidate it, and offer kids both closure and a bridge to next year. With these capstone projects in hand, teachers can hope to engage each and every one of their kids before school breaks for the summer—and beyond.”
— Randi Weingarten, AFT president

The bottom line: School districts across the U.S. are still deciding how they're going to outline the school year next fall and whether they will include some spring material from the previous grade.

  • AFT says the projects are designed to help "wrap up the school year, complete during a voluntary summer learning program or even as re-entry into the next year — whenever that happens," according to the lesson plans obtained by Axios.

Go deeper ... Deep Dive: Education upended by coronavirus

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Why it matters: Half of America’s education workforce isn't teachers, and they support students and school districts in many ways educators cannot — like counseling, feeding students, transportation and mental health.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
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Why it matters: For now, most of the affected schools are opting to play coronavirus whack-a-mole, providing a complicated alternative to in-person and virtual learning.

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