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| As school and district leaders prepare to start school—whether in person or virtually—their work should be grounded in two essential questions: How can we address the acute needs of young people, who continue to grapple with the dual impacts of COVID 19 and systemic racism? And, how can we use this crisis as an opportunity to transform schools into nurturing communities that are committed to equity, diversity, and antiracism?
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| Educators with the Hawaiian-focused charter schools have adapted their practices, grounded in Hawaiian culture and students’ relationship and responsibility to natural environments, to the constraints brought on by COVID-19. While nothing can replace the ocean voyages, agricultural work, and community service activities that are central elements of their “typical” school year, staff have developed new virtual ʻāina-based (land-based) activities and assessments to respond to the new reality of distance learning.
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| The decision of when and how to reopen schools is one of the most critical of our times. To do so effectively, we would do well to look at what has worked—and what has not—around the world. Adequate federal funding is also necessary for the additional staff and equipment needed to make schools safe.
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| As federal policymakers craft future COVID-19 relief packages, two key questions should guide their analysis: First, what will it take to make school districts whole—that is, make sure they have sufficient funding to cover the myriad of added costs and budget cuts associated with COVID-19? And, how can federal funds be used to address historic and current inequities in ways that put us on a path toward a more just educational future?
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| COVID-19 has disrupted learning for nearly all of the country’s 50.8 million public schools students and those hit the hardest are the nation’s most marginalized students. During the disruption, community schools have proven to be highly effective at assessing needs and mobilizing supports for students and families. As policymakers look to the future, this is an approach they can consider.
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| We’re hearing a lot of conflicting scenarios and projections related to the teacher workforce come fall. Indicators of teacher demand and supply—including the number of teaching and other positions funded, the number required to deliver instruction safely, turnover rates, and the supply of new teachers coming out of teacher preparation programs—can help us begin to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the educator workforce.
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| Oakland Unified's school-based health centers, part of the district's full-service community schools initiative, are a trusted source of information and services for students and families in the district. This institutional trust is essential to providing care in "typical" times, and became even more critical when schools closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, enabling staff to identify and support both ongoing and emerging student and family needs.
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| A community schools initiative, launched by the Los Angeles County Office of Education in September 2019, provides personnel, infrastructure, and funding support for 15 high schools throughout the county. The structures and relationships developed as a result of the initiative enabled schools’ rapid response to support students and families during the COVID-19 crisis.
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| Adults—including teachers, principals, and family members—play important roles in supporting children’s social and emotional development. But to create the relationships and learning environments that promote students’ SEL, adults themselves need to feel empowered, supported, and valued. This is especially true in the post COVID-19 world, given the disruption to lives and routines caused by the pandemic.
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| The COVID-19 pandemic has forced childcare and preschool providers around the country to temporarily close their doors and financial burdens may force thousands of centers to shut down permanently. This could lead to the loss of as many as 450,000 child care slots, jeopardize efforts to reopen the economy, and undermine the development of our youngest learners.