A significant challenge districts face is addressing opportunity gaps that leave underrepresented students behind, from access to Pre-K programs to summer learning opportunities. Many district leaders also identify opportunity gaps when looking at the demographics of students enrolled in rigorous, AP, or IB courses, as well as core courses like math and science. Technology serves as another difficult topic. Within some schools and districts there are gaps in access to technology tools and connectivity at home as well as at school. And while many schools strive to use technology to spur deeper learning, schools with large low-income populations sometimes struggle to use technology in creative ways in part because they struggle with traditional accountability measures. Schools are also beginning to identify more nuanced opportunity gaps, such as networking for college and jobs, and how groups of students opt in or out of school activities.
Implementing programs and practices that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across schools and districts Districts are committed to providing an equitable education for all of the students they serve, including those living in poverty, students of color, English learners, and special education students. But huge gaps persist related to opportunities for core learning, enrichment, and technology access. It can be challenging for districts to serve all of these groups and to provide specialized programs and services. Explore the challenges related to Equity
Many districts struggle to implement culturally- and experientially-responsive practices; they strive to help teachers build stronger relationships with students and to implement discipline policies in a way that does not target students of color. Districts also struggle to help students be culturally responsive to each other, and to create a school environment that addresses inter-student cultural differences. Culturally-responsive practices involve recognizing and incorporating the assets and strengths all students bring into the classroom, and ensuring that learning experiences, from curriculum through assessment, are relevant to all students. Additionally, awareness of different backgrounds includes understanding and being trained to mitigate the effects of trauma they may face day-to-day.
You may have heard news reports about a possible connection between COVID-19 and a rare but serious health condition in children called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Scientists from around the world, including pediatric specialists, are working together to understand MIS-C and how best to diagnose and treat it. The link between COVID-19 and MIS-C is not well understood, and we are trying to learn if some children are more at risk. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wants to reassure parents that very few children get severely ill from the virus that causes COVID-19. So far, most children who have been diagnosed with MIS-C have recovered after getting medical care.
Children and youth in foster care have often survived a lifetime of uncertainty and change, both before entering foster care and during foster care. For these children, changes like social distancing during COVID-19, can trigger traumatic memories or symptoms. Specific concerns for children in foster care During the coronavirus pandemic, caring for children in foster care can be even more challenging than the usual day-to-day care given by parents, foster and kinship caregivers, and child welfare professionals. Many of these children have experienced adversity and trauma, leaving them more vulnerable to the changes that come with school closings, lack of daily contact with friends and mentors, and other forms of social distancing.