The rapid shift to remote learning at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic upended the lives of students, families, and educators around the country, and set off ripple effects throughout the education system.
Suddenly, families and caregivers had a front-row seat to their children’s education. Teachers quickly devised new ways to connect with their students remotely. Schools scrambled to provide students with access to devices, online learning materials, and other critical resources — such as meal assistance and health care — that they normally delivered inside their buildings.
After more than a year, it’s clear that these emergency measures weren’t just temporary. They will have lasting impacts on our education system. The pandemic has brought anguish and hardship for many, and it also has presented an opportunity to rethink many aspects of our schools that desperately need to change.
At Gradient Learning, we believe that we must seize this rare moment and ensure that we rebuild our education system to be better than it was before the pandemic. The past two academic years have shown that we must prioritize building students’ relationships and key life skills, and engage families and caregivers in teaching and learning. We also cannot shy away from leveraging technology to do all of this.
“School isn’t a place for students to practice skills in preparation for real life, it is real life,” said Holly Wright, Habits of Success Specialist at Gradient Learning. “We strive to empower our students to tap into the strengths and growth edges in order to continue their journey towards leading a fulfilled life.”
As we embark on a third school year marked by the pandemic, we reflect on what we’ve learned to support both academic learning and social-emotional wellbeing for students. We have pinpointed four key ways that education has changed since the pandemic began:
- Prioritizing one-on-one relationships helped students and teachers thrive during the pandemic — and will remain essential to engage and support all students;
- Meaningful learning that can be customized for students’ individual needs can help them excel beyond the pandemic;
- Communication and partnership with families and caregivers enable student achievement, and;
- Technology will continue to be an important tool as schools reopen
We have also developed a vision for how we can advance these changes, rather than returning to the status quo. To read about our research-informed vision for making education more meaningful going forward, please download our white paper, “4 Ways Education Has Changed for Good.”