Make a plan to identify vulnerable students, identify access to materials, and understand students’ environments

Student Access and Opportunity Toolkit

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Inventorying Student Access and Environment Handout

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Step 1: download resources 2-5. You will need to move back and forth between them.

  • You are using Resource 1 right now J
  • Resource 2: Process Overview
  • Resource 3: Sample Call Script
  • Resource 4: Tracker Instructions
  • Resource 5: Access and Environment Tracker


Step 2: Read Resource 2: Process Overview

What materials do you need to gather to move further in this work? Who can help you get those things?







Step 3: Input student information into your tracker. You can use the supplemental video if you are unfamiliar with Excel.


Step 4: Make your call plan and script.

When can you start making your calls? How much time will you need based on the number of students you have?






What information do you want to get out of your check in calls?






How will you ensure you build relationship through this conversation?







Step 5: What else do you need to plan for to ensure you understand your students’ needs going into this school year?







Step 6: Next steps

Based on how far you got in the process, what 3 next steps do you need to commit to in order to understand who your most vulnerable students are, what access your students have, and what environments they will be working in?






Process Overview

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  • Access your student list and add as much information about students as you can from your student information system.
  • If your school or district did a technology survey with families, access that data for your students.
  • Use Resource 3: Tracker Instructions to help you organize your tracker. Before your phone calls, enter as much information as you have available to you into columns A-I in the tracker.
  • Plan your check-in phone calls and schedule them with families ahead of time.
  • Edit and internalize your call script: Make edits as needed based on what information you need to collect and if you have any starting data from your school/district.
  • Enter information into the tracker during your call so you can easily reference it as you begin to plan.

Family Call Script- Example

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  • Build further connection with the family
  • Get accurate information about student access
  • Understand what a learner’s working environment will be like


  • Since this call is happening when you are setting up your classroom, it is likely one of your first touch points with families. This means you likely do not know much about them and do not have a deep relationship with them.
  • This call should be pre-planned, for 20 minutes. The family should be prepared to speak for about that much time. They can be made aware of this through an orientation video you send out, a note, a text, etc. If possible, have them sign up for a time in advance. This may be a challenge for some families, but for those where it’s possible, signing up in advance of the call is best.
  • The questions suggested below are guidance, and should be altered based on your knowledge of students, families, age ranges, and any district requirements for gathering information.
  • Be sure you take into account any family surveys your school/district already completed. This will prevent you from asking families the same questions and allow you to go deeper.
  • If you are in a grade where students have multiple teachers every day, work with your team to adjust the script and determine who is getting what information. This will allow all teachers a touch point without families having to answer the same questions repeatedly.

Potential Script


Greeting and Introductions:

 “Hello, may I speak with the parent or guardian of (insert students’ name, S)?”

“Hi. It is so nice to officially talk with you. I am X, and I’m excited to teach S this year. How are you doing?”

“As I mentioned in my orientation video, this call is an important step in setting up our remote classroom. Is this still a good time for us to talk for about 20 minutes?”

Introduce yourself and build rapport


“Great! I have lots of questions for you, to help me learn more about how S will be learning this year. All of this information is important for me to know so that I can set up S’s learning in the way that works best. Please let me know if it is too much, or if the time stops working for you. I have some questions about S’s background with distance learning, her access to materials, and her working environment. Sound ok?

“Great, also, please know none of the materials I’m asking about are required of you, I just want to get a complete picture so I can plan accordingly. Sound good?”

Preview what is to come and provide the rationale for asking all the questions so families are not caught off guard or are less likely to be defensive about sharing.


“OK great, then let’s jump in with some background. Has S ever been in a remote learning classroom before?

  • If yes:
    • “What worked well about it for S and for you?”
    • “What did not work for S and for you?”
  • If no:
    • “What are you looking forward to with distance learning?
    • What are you nervous about with distance learning?”

Get any details about what their experience with distance learning had been in the past or what is on their mind about it now. Listen carefully. Ask any follow-ups as makes sense.


Gather information about access to resources:

“Thank you so much for sharing all of that really helpful information. I am going to transition to asking you questions about what materials S has access to. Please know none of the materials I’m asking about are required of you, I just want to get a complete picture so I can plan accordingly.”

Make the family member feel as comfortable as possible as you are about to ask personal questions about their household.


“Does S have access to a computer?”

  • If yes, “Does anyone else use this computer?”
  • If yes, “What time of day can S use it and what time of day will other people be using it?”
  • If no, “Does S have access to a tablet or ipad?”
    • If yes
      • “What model tablet/ipad? (I’m asking because certain aps/ programs only run on certain models).”
      • “Does anyone else use this tablet/ipad?”
      • If yes, “What time of day can S use it and what time of day will other people be using it?”

If S has a device, “Is that device connected to the internet?”

  • If yes, “Does the internet work consistently (meaning it rarely goes in and out)?”

Goal: Understand what device child has access to, if any, not including a phone, and when they have access.


“Is there a phone available for S to use?”

  • If yes
    • “Whose phone is it and when is it a good time for S to have access to it?”
    • “Does this phone have data that would allow S to access the internet?”

Goal: Understand what phone child has access to and when


“Does S have access to paper and pens/ pencils?”

“Does S have access to books?”

  • If yes “Has S already read most of these books?”

“Does S have access to a working printer?”

Goal: Understand what other resources child has that will be useful in planning

Gather information about students’ working environment:

“Ok now I’m going to transition to asking you questions about S’ working environment. Please know none of these questions come with any judgement, I just want to understand the environment S will be working in so that I can plan best for her.”

“What time does S wake up?”

“Is anyone else home with S during the time when she will be working?”

“What room in your place will S be doing her work in?”

“Are other people in that room while S will be working?”

“Are there any scheduled family routines that will impact S’ learning? (Example: Does S need to watch baby brother from 10-11 every day while mom is on a call?)

These questions can feel even more personal, so be mindful of reading how the family is feeling and adjusting course as needed.


“Thank you so much for sharing those details with me. I will be able to create a learning plan for S around all these details to ensure she grows a ton this year!”

Reinforce families’ shares


Do you have any questions on your mind that you’d like us to talk through?

Make space for any questions they have

“Great, you can expect to hear from me with in the next week to communicate the learning plan for S this year. I’ll let you know when I’ll be communicating, what schedules will look like, and all of the detailed info.”

Let them know when to expect the next update


“Thank you again- I really appreciate your partnership! Have a great day!

Close it out in an authentic way for you

Access and Environment Tracker Instructions

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  • Column D “Homeroom”- this column is used to sort data by homeroom. As the tracker currently exists, homerooms are numbered (HR1, HR 2, HR3, etc.)
    • If you are using this for your specific classroom, pick a number and stick with it. You data will roll on that homeroom tab.
    • If you are using this as a school, you can assign homerooms their specific numbers. You can also add tabs for additional roll up data by following these steps
    • Right click on the text “HR 1 data summary”: 
    • Hit move or copy
    • Click the box next to “create a copy”
    • Hit ok
    • Double click on the text of the newly created tab: 
    • Rename it: HR ? Data Summary (the ? should be the new number for the corresponding HR)
    • The change the formulas so it pulls the correct data
      • In these cells: C1, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8, B9, A12, B14, B15, B16, B17
      • You’ll need to change the “1” after HR to whatever number you are using for the new tab.
      • Don’t change anything else in the formulas


  • Enter your student information in columns A-I before you start making your calls
    • You may need to use you student information system or ask for support from someone in your office team to get this information


  • When the answer is Yes or No, there is a drop down arrow you can click to easily fill in the word. This applies to columns F, G, H, I, J, M, O, P, V, W, Y, Z, AA, AB, AC


  • The “info gathered” column (column L) is intended to be a metric to help you label how much of the information you were able to get in your first call. For a family who made it all the way through the process, note it as a 4, you have everything you need. For a family who did not make it all the way, note it as a 1-3 so you know to come back to it. The 4 is automatically green, so you know you’re done. 1-3 will also turn colors to let you know how close to green you are.
    • 1- I got about 25% of what I need- light red
    • 2- I half of what I need- orange
    • 3- I got 75% of the info I need- yellow
    • 4- I got all of the info I need- green


  • The “Primary technology method” column (column AJ) is how you will primarily work with students. You fill in this drop down based on everything you just learned about a students’ access. Which is the primary technology method you will use given their access?
    • Computer (with internet)
    • Tablet/ipad (with internet)
    • Paper and phone (with internet)
    • Paper and phone (no internet)
    • Paper no phone


  • Sort/ filter functionality: every column can be sorted or filtered so you can look at students with similar answers groups together.
    • In row 1, each cell has an arrow button. Click this to sort your data that column in a specific way.
      • For example, sort by column AJ to have all the learners of the same method together. To do this click the arrow in cell AJ1 and click sort A-Z. This will group everyone with the same answer together.
      • If you want to filter (only display people with a particular leaning method) then you click the arrow in cell AJ1 and check the box for the group you want to display.


Click here to download the Excel tracker. 

Inventorying Student Access and Environment- Key Vocabulary

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Access- ensuring every student has access to a day of instruction every day regardless of the learning environment; in particular, districts should have solutions for each vulnerable student group that it serves

Conditions for learning – the requirements or context that should be in place in order for a student to learn in a face-to-face or distance learning setting

Environment- the physical space where a student is completing his/her work during remote instruction

Intervention- student-specific skill-based support in reading, math, and writing as measured by a diagnostic assessment. Supports typically are delivered during Tier II and Tier III time; however, additional supports can be provided in Tier I instruction. Flexibility for delivery of supports will be needed during the reopening of school, but skill-based interventions should be delivered based on 2020-21 diagnostic data.

Opportunity- ensuring that vulnerable student groups will receive targeted supports, additional scaffolds, and increased entry points to instruction to accelerate their learning to be equitable to on-grade level peers

Remediation- planning changes to instruction that help fill academic gaps that occurred due to school closures

Vulnerable populations – those students most likely to be negatively impacted by closures

Tracker How To