After so much time away from school during COVID-19, reengaging students in their learning will be crucial this fall. The pandemic has exacerbated the significant inequities in our education system, making it more difficult for all students—particularly those from marginalized communities—to engage in school. The pandemic exposed a large digital divide, with many low-income students, students of color, and English Learners lacking the technology to access online assignments. Meanwhile, non-academic pressures like unstable housing, family medical trauma, and parental job loss made participating—and succeeding—in remote learning a struggle for many students. Researchers predict devastating long-term consequences, including a sharp increase in dropout rates.
The factors that impact a child's ability to graduate begin in early childhood. Students need foundational academic skills, authentic relationships, non-academic supports, and relevant instruction in order to reach their potential.
This guide focuses on what schools can do to prevent disengagement, intervene with struggling students, and reengage those who have left school. It includes recommendations for reengaging students virtually in the event of continued school closures.
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.