School districts across the nation are facing an unprecedented challenge in School Year 2021-22: how to effectively and equitably recover from the impacts of COVID-19 while still navigating an ongoing pandemic. At the same time, this moment also presents unprecedented opportunities: how to best use the mandate for change and significant new federal resources to also redesign toward a more student-centered, equity-focused, and future-driven approach to public education.
To help our members at this critical time, we are excited to share the first installments of the AASA Learning Recovery & Redesign Guidance, which identifies four Guiding Principles that should show up across your plans and that can inform any revisions you make. This and additional, forthcoming resources have been developed in collaboration with the AASA American Rescue Plan Committee, the AASA Learning 2025 Network, and our partners at EducationCounsel.
Specifically, school district recovery and redesign plans should:
- Plant Seeds — As you address immediate needs (“fill holes”), you should seek ways to also begin or accelerate shifts toward your long-term vision (“plant seeds”).
- Center Equity — Ensure all students get the support they need to thrive, especially those most impacted by the pandemic, and redesign any systems that create or perpetuate inequities.
- Use & Build Knowledge — To maximize your chances of success, start with what is known and then learn and improve as you go.
- Sustain Strategically — Plan carefully for the end of these supplementary funds or risk going over a “fiscal cliff.
Clicking on each of those links will open a corresponding two-page Self-Assessment Tool that you, your teams, and/or other stakeholders can use to pause, reflect, and identify ways to improve. Especially with summer 2022 and SY22-23 planning around the corner, this is the time to reflect on your initial plans. Ask yourself:
- Are your initial plans responsive to what you now know about student and staff needs?
- Are they still feasible given your community’s current conditions, including the state of the pandemic, your local labor market, and other contextual factors that have become clearer over the past several months?
- What tweaks to your plans can help you make the most of your federal recovery funds?
We dug into these Guiding Principles and Self-Assessment Tools during an introductory webinar that you can view by clicking here. We hope these initial resources help guide your thinking about how to make the most of your available resources. Please also share any feedback and ideas for what other supports are most needed by clicking here.