COVID-19

Teach For America Incoming Class Hits a 15-Year Low

Facing a sharp drop in applications, Teach For America is expecting its smallest crop of first-year teachers in at least 15 years, new data from the organization shows. The organization expects to place just under 2,000 teachers in schools across the country this coming fall. That’s just two-thirds of the number of first-year teachers Teach for America placed in schools in fall 2019, and just one-third of the number it sent into the field at…

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School Shutdowns: the Biggest Impacts in 2022

Two years ago this month, school shutdowns occurred in 185 countries. According to UNESCO, roughly 9 out of 10 schoolchildren worldwide were out of school. It would soon be the biggest, longest interruption in schooling since formal education became the norm in wealthier countries in the late 19th century. At the time, several experts in the field of research known as “education in emergencies” gave their predictions for the long-term implications of school closures in…

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Graduation Rates Dip as the Pandemic Stalls Progress

High school graduation rates dipped in at least 20 states after the first full school year disrupted by the pandemic, suggesting the coronavirus may have ended nearly two decades of nationwide progress toward getting more students diplomas. The drops came despite at least some states and educators loosening standards to help struggling students. The results, according to data obtained from 26 states and analyzed by Chalkbeat, are the latest concerning trend in American education, which…

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Support for Refugee and Immigrant Families

Recent world events have been unsettling and heartbreaking, especially for refugee and immigrant families. At the start of the year, 1,500 Afghani refugees arrived in Massachusetts for relocation. The invasion of Ukraine resulted in more than 2 million refugees fleeing the country in the past weeks. Currently, there are also 20k Ukrainian families living in Massachusetts, and research indicates that the rates of PTSD (50-90%) and major depressive disorder (6-40%) in refugee children and adolescents…

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Mask Mandate Lifted in Massachusetts Schools

The Massachusetts school mask mandate officially ended Monday, but some districts, including in the state’s largest cities of Boston, Worcester and Springfield, have decided to keep indoor mask mandates for students and staff in place for the time being. Governor Charlie Baker and state Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley announced early in February that they were lifting the statewide indoor mask mandate effective Feb. 28, but individual school districts could decide on their own masking requirements.…

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Students’ Mental Health Needs Weigh Heavily on Schools

When Millis Public Schools opened its doors for the start of the 2021-22 school year, teachers and staff were looking forward to seeing their students back in real classrooms. “We were so excited that everyone was coming back to begin the school year,” says Bob Mullaney, the superintendent of the suburban Boston school district. But the transition has been more fraught than anticipated due to students’ social and mental health needs. From the beginning, they’ve…

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20 Books to Help Grieving Children and Teens

Kids have dealt with a lot in the last year, from having COVID-19 to watching relatives struggle through it and even losing family members. It can be difficult for children to reconcile what adults already know to be one of the most startling parts of grieving: that the world keeps spinning around you, with little interruption or change in what is expected of you despite the fact that your world has forever changed. When it…

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Tools for Overwhelmed Students: the TRAILS Program

Like kids in so many cities and towns around the globe, the overwhelmed students in Michigan’s Van Buren Intermediate School District have been through a lot these past few years. The pandemic continues to disrupt classrooms, sicken friends and loved ones, and has left some district families jobless and homeless. In this district alone, there were three student suicide attempts since in-person school resumed in fall 2021, along with two student suicides last year. But…

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School Enrollment Is Dropping For The Second Straight Year

The troubling school enrollment losses that districts reported last year have continued this fall as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt public education across the country, an NPR investigation has found. They compiled the latest headcount data directly from more than 600 districts in 23 states and Washington, D.C., including statewide data from Massachusetts, Georgia, and Alabama. They found that very few districts, especially larger ones, have returned to pre-pandemic numbers, and most are now…

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Middle-Schoolers Are Struggling, So How Can We Help?

To understand the pandemic’s impact on middle-schoolers, picture the pain of lunchtime. A bunch of uncomfortable adolescents are navigating social distancing rules while figuring out when and if to take down their masks. It’s not going well. Some have given up eating lunch entirely, which worries Phyllis Fagell, a school counselor and author of the book, “Middle School Matters.” She knows this age group. And she knows all this anxiety is not just about masks.…

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