Research Digest — September 2020

A monthly digest for state education agency staff, highlighting research and resources supporting state priorities.

Schools’ First and Forever Responders: Preparing and Supporting Teachers in the Time of COVID-19

The National Comprehensive Center has released a brief providing state and district policymakers considerations for evidence-based strategies and innovative approaches to support teachers and teacher candidates during and following the COVID-19 crisis. The brief identifies how CARES Act funding can be used to accelerate the development and provision of support systems for teacher candidates and novice teachers. For each consideration, the authors cite research or examples from other states and districts that may help guide decisionmaking.

The Response of Rural Districts to the COVID-19 Pandemic

To learn how partner districts navigated mandatory school closures and the shift to online learning, the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks conducted phone interviews with district officials and other leaders from 40 partner rural districts in Ohio and New York. The resulting report summarizes these interviews and examines four key functions of schools that districts worked diligently to address in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: (1) meeting students’ basic needs, (2) facilitating access to learning, (3) educating students, and (4) building community.

Native Education Collaborative

The National Comprehensive Center recently launched the Native Education Collaborative, which brings together resources for state, tribal, and local education agencies and other stakeholders to support Native students. Resources are organized into six categories that align with improving educational systems for American Indian and Alaska Native students. The website will be updated as additional resources from this project are produced.

Promoting Students’ Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments recently published a blog post that includes references and related resources on the topic of promoting students’ SEL. The center provides an overview of four key actions schools and districts can take to ensure students have consistent opportunities to engage in SEL throughout their daily experiences. The post highlights examples from Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Tulsa Public Schools, and Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Remote Literacy Learning

The National Center on Improving Literacy recently released a toolkit helping schools and families join efforts to support children’s literacy growth in remote or blended learning environments.

Measuring Growth in 2021: What State Leaders Need to Know

The Data Quality Campaign released a brief that outlines considerations for measuring growth when missing annual assessment data for the prior year. The brief also discusses uses of these data and lays out actions that states can take right now to measure growth in 2021. Student academic growth data are the most comprehensive and equitable tool for measuring student progress and school quality. As states and districts work to reopen for the 2020-21 school year, measuring student growth should remain a priority, especially given anticipated widespread learning losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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