When students return to school—either in-person or virtually—they will have fallen behind academically. In what’s being called the “COVID slide,” researchers predict the most dramatic loss will be in math, with students in some grades returning nearly a full year behind. Students of color and low-income students will be most impacted as many marginalized students lack access to technology necessary for at-home learning, others have parents working outside the home and unavailable to support students' remote education, and some have been affected by rising unemployment and food scarcity—urgent needs that make it difficult to focus on school. Access to grade-appropriate instruction is critical to educational equity. Research shows that when students are caught in cycles of widespread reteaching and remediation, they lack the opportunity to catch up.
This guide includes actionable strategies schools can use to diagnose unfinished learning, assess instructional materials, provide "just-in-time" scaffolds, and deliver effective professional learning to help educators navigate this new set of needs.
Our Back-to-School Blueprint is an interactive series of research-based, online action guides to help schools prepare to reopen. The Blueprint aims to help schools implement practices that will not only address the pressing issues facing our students right now, but also become building blocks for a more supportive and high-performing system in general. The first action guide focused on helping students heal from trauma and the second looked at rebuilding community after COVID-19.