10 ways leaders can solve education’s COVID recovery

A key for educators will be to maintain rigorous academic expectations while offering students flexibility, organizations say
By: | December 16, 2020
Students know they are falling behind academically though believe their teachers are doing their best online and in-person, according to a survey released Wednesday. (GettyImages/RichLegg)Students know they are falling behind academically though believe their teachers are doing their best online and in-person, according to a survey released Wednesday. (GettyImages/RichLegg)

As students recover from COVID’s disruptions and return to classrooms, district leaders must give learners more one-on-one time with their teachers, a national union president says.

Students know they are falling behind academically though believe their teachers are doing their best online and in-person, National Education Association President Becky Pringle said about a Student Voices survey her organization released Wednesday with the National PTA.

In the coming months, district leaders should listen to students’ calls for more interaction with their teachers who can provide academic and social-emotional support, Pringle said.

“It will take leadership and it will take investment, from the White House to the local school board, to ensure our students have the resources they need to be safe and have access to just schools,” Pringle said.


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A key for educators will be to maintain rigorous academic expectations while offering students flexibility to account for COVID’s disruptions, National PTA President Leslie Boggs said.

“We have to adjust assignments to account for the challenges inherent in hybrid and online while ensuring high standards continue to be met to ensure students don’t fall further behind,” Boggs said.

Offering students with additional instructional and social-emotional learning supports—whether schools are full-time, virtual or hybrid—should be a priority, Pringle and Boggs said. This includes:

  • Tutoring by educators
  • More one-on-one access through programs such as “office hours” with teachers, paraprofessionals, school counselors and social workers.
  • Providing consistent routines and a sense of community for students that foster a sense of safety.
  • Resources and supports for student wellness and self-care.
  • Supports for educators in providing social-emotional learning needs and trauma-informed instruction.
  • Ensuring early learners access reading resources and other materials that build school readiness.

School leaders must also ensure equitable digital access for all students and educators, including sufficient broadband access and appropriate devices.

Finally, the two organizations are urging Congress to allocate $245 million to create statewide family engagement centers where educators can work more closely with parents and their communities.

This would be particularly effective in connecting low-income families, English-language learners, and other marginalized groups with schools and educators, Boggs said.


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