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COVID-19

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted American education in myriad ways: Nearly every school system across the country shut down, school leaders and districts tried to quickly pivot to online instruction, and organizations grappled with how to support students’ and families’ basic needs. Looking forward, nearly every aspect of education faces uncertainty: School operations and instruction are being fundamentally reconsidered, an unfolding recession will have a profound impact on state budgets, and policies on everything from school accountability to student grades must adapt to the consequences of the novel coronavirus. Schools must also be attentive to students’ general health and well-being.

The pandemic is exposing the deep inequities in every corner of the American education system. The painful consequences of COVID-19 will be felt most acutely by the students and families furthest from opportunity — the same students who were chronically underserved by public education even before the crisis took hold, due to race, socioeconomic status, or geography. At Bellwether, our goal throughout this uncertain time is to find solutions, amplify best practices and successful models, and work with the partners who will help rebuild a better system in the long run.

Since the crisis began, Bellwether has consistently worked to understand what is happening, what is coming, and what is needed across the education system. Within days of school doors shutting, we made our time available pro bono to school districts and charter school networks and published resources and analyses to support those in the field. As the education system resets and rebuilds — a process we anticipate taking several months — we’ll be defining solutions on content delivery, distance learning, quality child care, and school operations, among others.

The content below reflects the resources and research we’ve put out in response to the novel coronavirus. We’ll be updating this regularly.

Publications

August 5, 2020
Bill Durbin, Sherri Geng, Jeff Schulz
With school opening just weeks away in many parts of the country, leaders need a detailed level of support — and a plan — to start the school year in...
May 14, 2020
Tresha Francis Ward, Stephanie Spangler
In April, we released a four-phase strategic planning tool to support the COVID-19 education response, providing a framework for leaders responding...
May 11, 2020
Indira Dammu, Max Marchitello, Hailly T.N. Korman
This document will be updated regularly with new resources and materials. With schools closed due to COVID-19, online learning and instruction are...
April 17, 2020
Sara Mead
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included $30.75 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund to enable states, local...
April 13, 2020
In March 2020, the U.S. Congress passed a series of three laws intended to strengthen the capacity of federal, state, and local governments and...

Op-Eds

August 12, 2020
As we make our way through the coronavirus pandemic, Bellwether’s Chad Aldeman has been looking back at past educational disruptions to help us...
August 12, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the number of urban Catholic and other private schools that are closing amid financial pressure and dwindling...
July 28, 2020
Youth in foster care experience significant obstacles in their lives, and the pandemic will only exacerbate the challenges of frequent transitions...

Issue Experts

To speak to one of our teammates with expertise on running a school or organization in light of COVID-19, contact us here.

Blog Posts

October 15, 2020
Jeff Schulz
This is our latest post in “The Looming Financial Crisis?” series. Read the rest here. Community colleges have long served as an accessible...
October 13, 2020
Juliet Squire and Rebecca Gifford Goldberg
Since March, school funding experts have sought to understand how the economic turmoil coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic would affect...
October 13, 2020
Cara Jackson
Assessments get a bad rap. Many educators express concerns that assessments are just an exercise in compliance, and especially with COVID-...