K-12 Momentum: June 2020

Dear friends,

Like too many others before him, George Floyd was unjustly and brutally murdered because he was Black. His killing and its aftermath compound the COVID-19-related trauma felt by all children, but particularly children of color. Given the anger and sadness I feel, it is difficult to fathom what my Black friends, colleagues, neighbors, and children are feeling at this moment or beyond. As educators, what can we do?

A small step: When schools reopen, we must prioritize addressing the well-being of students and educators, rebuilding human connections and strengthening school environments. To state the obvious, students cannot learn at their best, or begin to address deep learning losses resulting from the pandemic, without a strategy that integrates their social, emotional, and academic development. Research has shown the importance of social emotional learning. It is even more important now. 

CCSSO and WestEd continue to develop actionable guidance for school and system leaders around social emotional learning. Resources address topics such as:

  • How can we create a culture of care for staff growth and well-being?
  • How can we create a culture of care for students’ growth and well-being?
  • How can we identify the range of health and well-being needs and connect to culturally relevant supports?
But much more will be required of us. As Dr. Sonja Santelises, the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, recently noted, “We must recommit ourselves, examine our own practices, and disrupt the insidious barriers that have plagued our education system and negatively impact our students, families, and staff.”

Over the past few days, I have reflected on my own privilege. Much of it is derived from the impact of societal structures and implicit bias on others. All who share this privilege, myself included, need to reflect on the impact of racism on children and communities in this country in the days ahead. What must we/I do differently? How can we/I better ally with and empower communities of color, including students? What can we/I do to tear these structures down that destroy the potential and thwart the dreams of so many?

Our/my commitment to answer these questions, and act accordingly, has never been more urgent. Or overdue.

Bob Hughes


  • Leveraging Social Emotional Learning in Preparing to Reopen Schools

    This new guide by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) shows school leaders how to take action to help students and adults feel a sense of belonging, heal, and thrive when schools reopen after COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 and Education: Notable Findings and Data Sources

    We share notable findings that caught our attention recently, as well as several data collection efforts we are closely following. Additionally, this updated page shares links from partners to help K-12 leaders, teachers, and families navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19.
  • Announcement: Changing the Conversation About Poverty

    In light of COVID-19 and the national outrage against racial injustice, the effort to change the narrative around poverty and opportunity is more important than ever. We just announced 28 grantees who will do just that as part of the Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge.

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