Compassionate Partnerships for Youth in Foster Care

The Role of Expanded Learning
The aim of this commentary—released as part of a series on expanded learning partnerships and learning hubs in a distance learning context—is to provide actionable guidance for districts, schools, and expanded learning providers interested in best serving youth in the...

COVID-19 and the Educational Equity Crisis

Evidence on Learning Loss From the CORE Data Collaborative

From the day California schools closed in March, researchers, policymakers, and educators alike have been concerned about the impact that the pandemic would have on student learning, and worried that our most vulnerable students will experience this so-called “learning loss” more than others. Given the critical importance of evidence to inform decision-making on school reopening, we are sharing early findings on student learning in Grades 4–10 in 18 school districts that are part of the CORE Data Collaborative. Our preliminary analysis shows that there has been significant learning loss in both English Language Arts and Math, with earlier grades, low-income students, and English learners most impacted.

Environmental Education and Nature-Rich Experiences

Essential for Youth and Community Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic, which presents critical threats to education overall, also presents specific, potentially irreversible, and long-term threats to environmental education—an essential field that provides numerous cognitive, affective, and health-related benefits.

A Tiered Approach to Ensuring Students are Present, Engaged, and Supported in the 2020–21 School Year

Hedy Chang
Cecelia Leong

As schools begin this fall, educators across California are examining how they can promote students showing up for class, whether instruction is offered remotely or in person. In our previous PACE commentary, we made recommendations for expanding the metrics used to monitor daily attendance and participation in distance learning. In this commentary, we make recommendations for how educators can respond to student attendance data to ensure students get the support they need to be present and engaged in learning.

Measuring Daily Attendance and Participation During COVID-19

An Invaluable Tool for Reducing Educational Inequity
Hedy Chang
Cecelia Leong

Absenteeism is a leading indicator of educational inequity. With COVID-19, taking daily attendance and monitoring absenteeism is essential as chronic absence is a key predictor of later learning loss and an early warning sign that positive conditions of learning are not in place for students. While taking attendance is more complicated in the context of distance learning, it is still possible—and necessary.

To Keep Students Safe and Learning, California Needs Strong State Leadership

In preparing for the next school year, California state policymakers must set clear statewide expectations for teaching, learning, and student support, regardless of whether instruction is online or in person. This spring, local school districts scrambled to adapt to COVID-19 with a wide range of responses largely focused on securing delivery of online resources. Now is the time to shift the conversation back to the core purpose of school: learning. The state should establish a minimum amount of instructional time; create an instrument of diagnostic assessment and require its use; adopt instructional continuity plans; and advocate for and secure additional funding.

What Comes Next for Professional Learning in the Time of COVID-19

Addressing the Social and Emotional Work of Improvement
Carrie Wilson

Students will begin next school year with highly diverse needs, which means educators will face huge demands for differentiation on shoestring budgets. A focus on cognitive science and adult learning, particularly on social and emotional capabilities, can help educators be self-aware and creative in developing strategies to better support students across the full range of their educational and psychological needs. To help students and educators succeed in this new and unpredictable environment, a clear focus on conditions for learning will be key.

Voices of Educators

Supporting Student Learning Amid the Pandemic Requires Prioritizing Social-Emotional Care
Krista Fairley
Rebecca Norwood
Janice Phan
Cynthia Sanchez

The global pandemic and resulting economic devastation, not seen since the Great Depression, have underscored how schools are essential to the well-being of their communities. During this time of high stress, students are reporting anxiety, depression, and thoughts about hurting themselves, as well as increasing abuse. Moving from crisis triage to action guided by core principles that center student well-being is necessary but, to do so, social-emotional care is paramount, both for children and adults. For these reasons, our recommendations include reaching out to families, adjusting expectations, developing flexible guidelines, and investing in teachers’ professional development.

Quality Matters More Than Ever in Times of Crisis

Does the California Quality Rating and Improvement System Predict Child Outcomes?

Quality Counts California rates program elements to assess overall program quality. But are we assessing the right dimensions of quality with measures that are predictive of children’s learning and development? In an era of restricted resources, it is critical that CA identify, measure, and deliver the dimensions of quality that actually matter for children.