GAO Releases 2020 Disaster Recovery Report

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GAO Releases 2020 Disaster Recovery Report

On October 14, 2020, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released their report on K-12 disaster recovery. The study, COVID-19 Pandemic Intensifies Disaster Recovery Challenges for K-12 Schools, found that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and compounded the challenges associated with the 206 major disasters declared since 2017. Specifically, the GAO's findings show that for many communities, the pandemic increased mental health issues, delayed recovery projects, contributed to lost instructional time, led to staff burnout, and caused financial strain. To access the major highlights, the full report, and GAO’s podcast on this topic, please click here.

Guest Blog: October 22nd AERA Brown Lecture in Education Research

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Guest Blog: October 22nd AERA Brown Lecture in Education Research

Our colleagues at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) are hosting their annual Brown Lecture virtually on October 22nd at 6:00 pm EDT. The AERA Brown Lecture was launched during the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision and overviews the critical role of research in advancing the understanding of equality and equity in education. William F. Tate IV, executive vice president of academic affairs at the University of South Carolina, will present at this year’s lecture, “The Segregation Pandemic: Brown as Treatment or Placebo?”
 
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's AERA is lecture is open to all interested attendees at no-cost. You can register for the event by clicking here.
 

Guest Blog: CCSSO Restart and Recovery, Considerations for Teaching and Learning

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Guest Blog: CCSSO Restart and Recovery, Considerations for Teaching and Learning

Our colleagues at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) created a series of resources, Restart and Recovery: Considerations for Teaching and Learning, to support state and district leaders as they continue to navigate the challenges on reopening schools and delivering education to every child this school year. These resources specifically aim to help districts make decisions about operations, instruction, and social-emotional learning while delivering on their promise to ensure an excellent, equitable education for all students. CCSSO created these resources with input from a wide body of organizations and experts, as well as state and local education leaders from more than 30 states across the country. 

These resources include many actionable plans, tools and templates and can be adaptable to meet your local needs. They cover key questions in the following areas:
  • System-level considerations: 
    • How are the needs of students and families, especially those most impacted, and the voices of teachers and school leaders being incorporated into school systems’ structures and decisions?
    • How can students attend school, whether in-person or remote, in a manageable and safe way that supports learning coherence?
    • How can students be supported by teachers so they experience strong and integrated teaching, whether in-person or remote?
  • Wellbeing, connectedness and mental health supports:
    • How are we creating a culture of care in which staff and student growth and wellbeing are prioritized, and all feel safe, connected, supported, engaged, and efficacious, both individually and collectively?
    • How are we identifying the range of mental health and wellbeing needs in our students, and provide them with or connect them to effective, culturally relevant supports?
  •  Academics: 
    • What must students learn? 
    • How will students learn this content, whether in-person or remote?
    • How prepared and how well are students learning this content?
    • How will teachers be prepared to teach this content, whether in-person or remote?

An video overview of the resources and how they can be used is available here. The full series of resources is available at www.ccsso.org/coronavirus. Also, if you're interested in having an in-depth conversation with the authors of the report, please reach out to Chris Rogers at crogers@aasa.org to learn how you can participate in CCSSO office hours. 

USDA Extends Free Meals for Kids for 2020-21 School Year

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USDA Extends Free Meals for Kids for 2020-21 School Year

On October 9, 2020, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would extend flexibilities to allow free meals to continue to be available to all children throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year. Specifically, USDA's move will enable school districts to continue to leverage the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to provide no-cost meals to all children, through June 30, 2021. Additionally, the move will permit districts to serve meals outside of the typically required group settings and meal times; waive meal pattern requirements, as necessary; and allow parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children through June 30, 2021. AASA has engaged in this advocacy effort since the beginning of the pandemic and was proud to secure this victory for Superintendents and other school nutrition leaders. More details on this extension are accessible by clicking here
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HHS Mask Distribution to Schools Underway- Request Your Districts Now

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HHS Mask Distribution to Schools Underway- Request Your Districts Now

As described on the blog earlier in September, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be providing up to 125 million cloth masks to states for distribution to schools. The Administration intends for these masks to support students, teachers, and staff in public and private schools reopening, with an emphasis on students who are low-income or otherwise with high needs and schools providing in-person instruction.

Today we learned that school districts can immediately begin requesting masks from State Health Departments for adults. All states have received shipments of white, reusable and washable masks for adults and districts in need of additional masks can request them anytime. A few states are already in receipt of reusable, washable masks for youth/children, but the majority of these masks are still being manufactured and distributed. It is expected that many more states will have youth size masks available in the next 2 weeks and by early November all states will have both youth and adult size masks available for distribution to schools.

More information on the masks is available here: https://www.phe.gov/facecovering/Pages/cloth-face-masks-in-school.aspx

House Includes $5 billion for School Infrastructure

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House Includes $5 billion for School Infrastructure

As part of our work with The [Re]Build America’s School Infrastructure Coalition (BASIC), AASA released a statement thanking the U.S. House of Representatives for the inclusion of $5 billion for emergency repairs to public school facilities as part of the funding proposed for education in the Heroes Act 2.0. 
 
The inclusion of these funds is critical for the wellbeing of our families and communities. Moreover, this funding signals the House’s commitment to the health and safety of our students and educators. It also demonstrates the understanding that without public schools opening safely, our economy cannot thrive.

AASA was proud to join this effort to advocate for additional aid for school buildings emergency repairs and building modifications to support local school system leaders' efforts to provide facilities that can accommodate new procedures for social distancing, personal hygiene, surface cleaning, and high standards for fresh and filtered air. Check out the full press release here

October 1, 2020

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19 National Education Groups Send Joint Letter in Response to HEROES 2.0

Earlier today, 19 national education groups sent a joint letter to Congressional leaders in response to the revised House HEROES Act, and expressed our support for a bipartisan COVID response package.

Groups supporting the letter include:  

  • AASA, The School Superintendents Association
  • American Federation of School Administrators
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Association of Educational Service Agencies
  • Association of School Business Officials International
  • Council of Administrators of Special Education 
  • Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Council of Great City Schools 
  • International Society for Technology in Education
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • National Association of School Psychologists
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • National Association of State Boards of Education
  • National Association of State Directors of Special Education
  • National Education Association
  • National PTA
  • National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium
  • National Rural Education Association
  • National School Boards Association