Blog Archive for April 2021

In our latest look into the past year in Somerville Public Schools, we explore the challenges students and educators faced in navigating a virtual classroom. When schools closed last spring, Somerville undertook a massive device rollout to make virtual classes available to all students. This process exposed significant inequities in internet access across the district. Even once students were connected, they found it difficult to connect to classes through multiple learning platforms. Many educators also faced obstacles in acclimating to teaching online. However, there are some lessons districts can build upon and integrate into in-person learning, as technology continues to be a great tool for engaging families.

We are releasing a series of dispatches on the bright spots and challenges of the past year in Somerville Public Schools. We hope this in-depth look at one community can shed light on what students and schools across the state need right now and how communities and policymakers can support them.

Our conversations with students, families, and educators confirmed what research tells us: strong relationships are essential components of learning. However, everyone also agreed that building relationships remotely is incredibly difficult. This post explores teacher-student connections, student-student connections, and teacher-family connections during remote learning.
The Future Education Leaders Network (FELN) aims to transform how young people, particularly people of color, are connected to and move through careers in education. Initiated and led by young leaders at the Rennie Center, it serves as a centralized hub where members can build connections, develop a knowledge base, and create their ideal career path. Earlier this month, FELN Planning Committee members Meghan Volcy of the Rennie Center and Kristal Castro of Boston University had a virtual sit down with members of FELN to discuss the value of this network of peers.
Catherine Rauseo brought her passion for storytelling and graphic design to the Rennie Center five years ago, and has made it her mission to make the Center's work more accessible. Through jargon-free writing, easy-to-digest infographics, and a user-friendly website, Catherine has created an approachable public presence to engage all those interested in improving public education.