Many school districts are now going through a process of determining which pandemic-related practices should be kept, improved, or discarded, and the use of remote and blended learning technologies is frequently being raised during these types of discussions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted school districts, students, staff, and families in unprecedented ways. In response to the learning loss, reduced instruction time, and low student engagement, the federal and state governmental agencies allocated ESSER I, II, and III funds to districts to utilize over the next two to three years.
Every year, CoSN awards a school district with the Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity to encourage and recognize those districts that are working to eliminate inequities and narrow the digital access gap. In a recent edWebinar, sponsored by ClassLink and co-hosted by CoSN and AASA, representatives from Desert Sands Unified School District, CA (the 2021 winner) and Santa Fe Public Schools, NM (the 2020 winner) presented their keys to success.
According to a CoSN report, more than half of school districts and about one-third of public schools in the United States are in rural areas. Rural communities have unique challenges, ranging from poverty and vast travel distances to a lack of affordable internet access.
When something dramatic happens, like releasing student achievement scores, there’s often an outcry over educational inequities, and there are statements and calls to action to do better. Most of the time, though, the initial energy dissipates, and nothing changes. During an edWebinar hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, John Krownapple and Floyd Cobb, Ph.D., authors of Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity: The Keys to Successful Equity Implementation, discussed why belonging and dignity are just as important as access and opportunity when it comes to educational equity.
Presented by Chad Johnson, Senior Education Specialist for Nebraska Public Power District, Co-Founder and CEO of Grain Weevil, and President and Founder of Youth Engaged in Technology and Innovation; and Ben Johnson, Chief Innovation Officer, Grain Weevil
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and, in many ways, worsened the digital divide and other inequitable aspects of America’s education system. However, it also created opportunities to develop more equitable outcomes, based on the widespread switch to digital learning experiences and new education models.
Education is just different than it was pre-pandemic—many school leaders think it shouldn’t go back to the way it was before when schools used systems developed in the 20th century. But that doesn’t mean even more changes aren’t needed. In a recent edWebinar, hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, the presenters discussed the findings of the AASA Learning 2025 National Commission and the need to get more students engaged in their own educational experience.
When only 28% of a school district’s third graders are reading at grade level, changes are clearly needed. In the Aldine Independent School District just outside of Houston, Texas, the need for change resulted in a dual focus on improving the district’s leadership bench and revamping literacy instruction, in order to provide an equitable education for all students.
When addressing education inequity, it isn’t enough for superintendents and administrators to look at grades and attendance. They need to examine the social, legal, and economic factors that have supported systemic racism. But more important, said Dr. Mark T. Bedell, Superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools (MO), in an edWebinar hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, school leaders need to make noise and keep fighting for policies that will support change in their communities and schools.