Voice of the Educator: Insights from Educational Leaders on COVID-19 and School Disruptions

Voice of the Educator: Insights from Educational Leaders on COVID-19 and School Disruptions

NWEA released today a new study on how schools are preparing for the fall, how spring went and their approach to assessment.

Portland, Ore. – August 21, 2020 – NWEA – a not-for-profit assessment provider – released today a research study featuring the voices of educational leaders across the country sharing their thoughts on this past spring, lessons learned and what they are focused on as they prepare for an academic year like no other. 

The study involved in-depth interviews conducted in June and July of 2020 with 22 educational leaders in districts across the U.S. While the districts varied by demographics, common themes surfaced starting with the conclusion that spring was reactionary, crisis learning driven by an emergency response to a public health emergency. The focus was on safety and engagement. Schools were accountable for feeding students, reaching students on and offline, providing technology to make remote learning possible, reorienting teachers and students to remote learning, and connecting with students regardless of the learning that was or wasn’t taking place.

For the fall, school leaders are preparing to meet accountability requirements for a ‘new normal’ school year. Regardless of where learning takes place, in the school or the home, they plan to teach students grade-level content with the traditional goal of getting students to proficiency on their grade level by the end of the school year. But leaders acknowledged that the challenges they faced in the spring remain while new challenges will need to be addressed in the fall. As in the spring, planning time is limited, teachers may be overwhelmed, parents will need more support, and unique obstacles to achieving equity in education remain. Additionally, the emotional and social well-being of teachers and students is a critical focus for districts as they work to ensure the continuity and comparability of on-site and remote learning that meets accountability requirements. Finally, the logistics of assessing students to measure learning loss and determine what students are ready to learn are complex in remote or hybrid learning environments.

Districts are approaching these challenges with various solutions, and across the board, educational leaders shared that they are up for the challenge. Read the full report to learn more.