Use this collection of selected resources for helpful statistics, stories, and research about what schools and districts experienced during the pandemic and what’s next for K-12 education.

WMTSPStrengths-Based Perspective

The 74 | COVID Warriors: How Educators Are Saving the Pandemic Generation. This eight-part series provides case examples of educators, schools, and districts tapping into three assets to keep students engaged and on track: relationships, adaptation, and innovation.

WMTSPNational Data Perspective

American Institutes for Research | National Survey of Public Education’s Response to COVID-19. More than 2,500 school districts and charter organizations responded to AIR’s nationally representative survey in summer 2020 about school closures, distance learning, supporting students with disabilities and English learners, district policies, staffing, and health and safety. In 2021, AIR administered a survey to all U.S. districts and interviewed district administrators on virtual options, staff shortages, extent of loss in expected learning, supporting students with disabilities and English learners, social-emotional support, and actions to ensure equity and social justice for families.

Center on Reinventing Public Education | A National Look at District Reopening Models. The Center on Reinventing Public Education analyzed a statistically representative sample of 477 school districts from August to December 2020, with the goal of capturing a national portrait of school district practices.

Center on Reinventing Public Education | Tracking District Actions. This database tracks the pandemic-related plans from 100 large and urban districts that range in size and geography, and serve nearly 10 million students. Not a representative sample, the database includes the 30 largest districts in the country, members of the Council of the Great City Schools, and at least one district from otherwise unrepresented states.

The New York Times | The Kindergarten Exodus. Over 1 million students left public schools in 2020, the majority of them being in the youngest grades, from low-income families, in urban schools, and/or in schools that operated virtually. A lack of trust in their schools’ ability to shift to remote learning was a key factor. The article explores the impact of lower enrollments on school systems as well as the challenges of disrupted schooling for the young learners.

Education Week | Why School Districts Are Unprepared for COVID-19 Disruptions, Again. As schools and districts transitioned from their pandemic response in the 2020-21 school year to preparing for the 2021-22 school year, many systems became less flexible. A majority of those surveyed moved to fully in person learning and few had plans in place to address any future disruptions from COVID or otherwise.

WMTSPEquity Perspective

Economic Policy Institute | COVID-19 and Student Performance, Equity, and U.S. Education Policy. This 2020 report briefly reviews the relevant literature on educational settings that have features in common with how education is occurring during the crisis and emerging evidence on opportunity gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to propose a three-pronged plan. The plan covers the three R’s: (immediate) relief for schools, (short-term) recovery, and (long-term) rebuilding for schools and the education system as a whole.

Educating All Learners. The Educating All Learners Alliance is working to improve availability of COVID recovery strategies, best practices, and resources for students with disabilities while also catalyzing innovation and improving equity in our current education system. Supports include events, office hours, a resource hub, and case studies. The "All In for All Students" campaign focuses on inclusive opportunities underway, to counter a negative narrative around students with disabilities and instructional loss as well as ignite opportunities for students, families, and educators.

Southern Education Foundation | Distance Learning During COVID-19: 7 Equity Considerations for Schools and Districts. This April 2020 brief outlines key considerations for providing online and hybrid learning, attending to specific needs and gifts of special populations such as English learners and students with disabilities.

WMTSPFuture-Facing Perspective

Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University | The EdResearch for Recovery Project. As the pandemic continues, the task of supporting students becomes ever more difficult. Based on a developing list of questions from policymakers and practitioners, the EdResearch for Recovery Project taps top researchers from across the country to develop evidence briefs to inform recovery strategies.

Collaborative for Student Success | EduRecoveryHub. This hub was created in partnership with the Collaborative for Student Success, the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), and the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University. The mission is to lift up and focus attention on practices that have the potential to help schools recover stronger and all students benefit, helping to bolster support for sound policy above the political fray.

FutureEd | Teaching Innovation: New School Staffing Strategies Inspired by the Pandemic. This August 2021 report from FutureEd and EducationCounsel explores new instructional staffing strategies used during COVID, the conditions that enabled them, how educators overcame barriers to the innovations, and what it would take to sustain and scale them in the future.

Christensen Institute | Potential Unfulfilled: COVID-19, the Rapid Adoption of Online Learning, and What Could Be Unlocked This Year. In this brief, the Christensen Institute shares initial insights from 1,042 teacher responses to surveys in April/May 2021. The survey is part of a series designed to learn how educators use online learning and whether online learning leads to benefits documented in their blended learning research.

KnowledgeWorks | Strengthening Systems: How States Are Rethinking Human Capital Systems and Technology Infrastructure in the COVID-19 Era. In October 2021, KnowledgeWorks revisited guidance published a year earlier to highlight areas where the U.S. has begun building the momentum needed to both respond to the challenges of the pandemic and chart a path toward creating a more personalized K-12 education system. This report features investments, policies, and plans in 12 states.

WMTSPInspiring Practice Perspective

Education Reimagined | The Power of Beloved Community as an Education Design Principle. Learners at Springhouse Community School in Virginia reflect on how the school community supported them through the pandemic, in this 2021 article.

City Year | How Social-Emotional Skills Keep Students Engaged. This spring 2020 article explores how Compass Academy in Denver leaned on a culture that prioritizes relationships along with the tradition of using research-based social-emotional learning to support students in the early days of the pandemic.

Education Week | In Navajo Nation, a Star Superintendent Draws on His Ties to the Community. This 2021 article highlights how Chinle Unified School District relies on Navajo culture and inclusive decision-making to provide learning, food distribution, and community connection during the pandemic to its 3,600 students, spread out over 4,200 square miles of rough terrain, limited cell phone service, and spotty Wi-Fi.

Education Week | Driving Academic Improvement by Empowering Parents. This 2021 article features the family and community engagement strategy of Detroit Public Schools, an approach seen as both practical and personal.

Photo at top by Allison Shelley for EDUimages, CC BY-NC-4.0