Learning Onward

Reshaping Teacher Focus for Meaningful Impact on Children's Well-Being & Learning


Evidence-Based Practices for Schools

In the current school year, as children are beginning to increase their in-school time in districts across the country, school systems face competing challenges. They remain in the midst of figuring out the best models for virtual and hybrid learning that prioritize care for teachers and children. They are also facing the extensive challenges and inequities that the pandemic has exacerbated in their communities, particularly Black and Brown communities disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

As school systems turn their attention to specific priorities and interventions that address returning to full-time in-person school, our aim in this paper is to name initiatives and areas of focus that will have the most meaningful impact on children’s well-being and learning. We will:

  • Critique the deficit-based terminology used to name the assumption of “lost learning” and suggest a new term, Learning Onward, that helps to reframe the opportunity before us.
  • Focus on school and classroom level initiatives that can have the most impact on learning as children return to full-time, in-person school. Each of these initiatives takes an equitable and inclusive approach and requires job-embedded professional learning for teachers to implement effectively. They are:
Prioritizing well-being and social emotional learning
Teaching with a culturally responsive and sustaining approach

Equitably using assessments to inform literacy instruction

Organizing time for literacy learning
  • Discuss evidence-based district level investments that promote Learning Onward.

As we ready our CLI professional development to be focused on these initiatives, we look forward to keeping up with the latest research to emerge. Much of the focus and research that has been done on “learning loss” was released in the summer and early fall 2020, and may not have anticipated or accounted for the actual amount of time children ended up being away from their classrooms in the 2020-2021 school year. 

Our advice in this paper will capture what we know now about evidence-based practices that school systems can consider as they face the challenge of returning to full-time in-person school during the 2021-2022 school year.

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