On Friday, January 22, the Biden-Harris Administration released an executive order calling for the development of interagency plans for safely reopening schools. Specifically, the executive order called for guidance on blended, online, and in-person learning models; mental health and social-emotional well-being; communication with parents and families; and strategies to address COVID-19 impacts along racial and socioeconomic lines.
In response, Digital Promise is joining efforts—in collaboration with Camelback Ventures, Education Leaders of Color, Pahara Institute, Surge Institute, and UnidosUS—to convene our networks as a national coalition of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations in collaboration with school district superintendents and charter school network leaders, with the goal of developing an aggressive action agenda. With this coalition, we will bring educators, leaders, researchers, and BIPOC-led organizations together to develop and implement viable solutions in collaboration with districts to address the most pressing challenges to delivering educational experiences that mitigate learning losses for Black and Brown students.
The pandemic will impact traditionally marginalized learners in the near term and for years to come. As a nation, we must build an action agenda that will identify learning and social-emotional gaps and the strategies to address them. Considering the devastating impact on Black and Brown students as well as those in low-income situations, school districts need immediate approaches and solutions that are natively designed and developed to embody students’ needs and cultural identities. They also need support for teachers and students in transitioning from in-school to distance learning seamlessly and equitably. This action agenda must be grounded in research and practice that mitigates learning loss, and enables districts and charters to implement models, practices and tools to keep learning going as the virus continues to sweep the nation.
As the leaders of two national school district networks at Digital Promise, we believe there is an urgent need and opportunity for this coalition of BIPOC-led organizations to collaborate with superintendents and charter leaders across the country to address the issues laid out in the executive order, with a specific focus on the Black and Brown children who are being most impacted.
Together, we are moving forward with our convening partners to support districts, charters, and the Administration to address these critical issues and ensure communities of color are centered and prioritized in the solutions.
Stay tuned for details on the action agenda. If you are a school district, charter leader, or BIPOC organization leader who wants more information or to join us, please sign our interest form.