Meeting the Moment
June 17, 2021
We have (finally!) reached the end of an unprecedented school year. We’re amazed by the patience, flexibility and resiliency displayed by our community’s teachers, educators, students, families and partners.
As we take a few months to refresh and enjoy our beautiful Oregon summers, I’m thinking about how the learnings from the last 18 months can propel us forward to reimagine and advance more equitable resourcing strategies that support every child to learn, grow and thrive.
Widening Gaps Require Intentional Focus
Dr. Beth Tarasawa, Executive VP of Research, recently shared the findings from a new research study conducted by NWEA on the initial educational impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color. The report is part of a larger multi-racial research study supported by the National Urban League.*
The report underscores the disproportionate impact of interrupted education on students of color and offers key policy recommendations to support COVID-19 recovery:
- Improve remote learning for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students
- Extend learning time for BIPOC students
- Target federal resources to BIPOC students
- Address BIPOC students’ academic, social and emotional needs
*The full The COVID-19 Communities of Color Needs Assessment Phase 1 report, inclusive of this presentation, will soon be available on the National Urban League’s website. Phase 1 work was funded with support from The W. K. Kellogg Foundation, JPB Foundation, Ford Foundation, The California Endowment, Weingart Foundation, and The California Wellness Foundation.
Meeting the Moment
After an incredibly challenging year and the countless heroic acts of educators and administrators across the County, it is heartening to see a tangible commitment to recovery from federal and state leadership. The American Rescue Plan has allocated $122.8 billion to support K-12 education with $1.1 billion going to Oregon and $178 million going to our All Hands Raised Partnership districts. The Oregon Student Investment Account, provides an incremental increase of $779 million in statewide funding over the next biennium with $123.9 million slated for All Hands Raised Partnership districts. In addition, another $250 million is being allocated to statewide summer learning.
With so much at risk, we must ensure that our focus is on the students and communities who have been most marginalized and are most in need of support. At our recent Partnership Council meeting, Whitney Grubbs, Executive Director of Foundations for a Better Oregon, aptly asked, “How can we ensure we are meeting this moment?” How do we ensure that these one-time resources are used to reimagine and transform rather than restore the status quo?
As we reflect on our collective learning this past year and emerge from quarantine refreshed and hopeful, I am confident that — working together — we can meet the moment for our kids.
CEO, All Hands Raised
P.S. – Ninth Grade Counts is a collaboration with All Hands Raised, schools and community partners to offer students a strong start to high school. Follow us on social media for updates and partner spotlights!