Student and Family Well-being

Lisa Chu and Robin Lake reviewed new student surveys that have come out during the 2020–21 school year to see how the student experience has changed since the start of the pandemic.

Their findings suggest that while online instruction appears to have improved since March 2020, students are truly struggling to stay motivated and to have a healthy mental state of mind. (March 2021)

Ashley Jochim, Padma Gundapaneni, and Cara Pangelinan set out to understand parents' attitudes about school reopening and the impacts of school closures on their children's well-being, as well as how families are adjusting their plans in response to school closures.

They find a majority of parents consistently favor some in-person learning, but support for fully in-person learning dropped significantly over the summer amid rising case counts and public health fears. (Nov. 2020)

With the October wave of nationally representative Understanding America Study survey data of 1,335 households over time, Anna Saavedra, Amie Rapaport, and Dan Silver describe the emerging picture of who remote K-12 learners are and what resources are available to them.

Together, these data show how the gaps in computer access, childcare, and academic support can exacerbate educational inequity. Policymakers and school system leaders should focus their attention on improvements in each of these areas, particularly for lower-income households. (Nov. 2020)

Understanding America Study, University of Southern California Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research

The Understanding America Study (UAS) Education Project focuses on collecting data from households with at least one preK-12 child and/or at least one postsecondary student. Data collection began in April 2020. The data represented here was collected between June 24-July 21, 2020.


Last Updated September 1, 2020

Resources for student engagement during remote learning

Previous research on virtual learning offers insight on methods for measuring student engagement from a distance.

YouthTruth’s survey of over 40,000 students sheds light on students’ remote learning experiences from last spring, including barriers to engagement. Additionally, data from Colorado schools paint a picture of what this engagement looked like.

A brief on improving student engagement and attendance during school closures summarizes research on remote learning and provides practices to consider.

This issue brief addresses effective remote learning practices based on 110 studies in K-12 settings.The Education Endowment Foundation published an assessment of remote learning strategies, discussing past studies on virtual learning methods and summarizing the overall findings.

Relationship Mapping, a method previously used to assess and improve school culture and environment, may prove to be a useful tool for connecting with students in the fall.

An elementary school teacher reflects on her experiences in the spring and shares the strategies she used to increase student engagement.

Resources for supporting social-emotional learning

CASEL collaborated with 40 other organizations to develop a Social and Emotional Learning Roadmap for Reopening School.

A report from NewSchools Venture Fund addresses how social-emotional needs impact students academically and offers helpful resources for schools.

In partnership with CORE Districts, PACE has pooled relevant publications to offer as guidance for schools to better support students’ social-emotional, mental, and physical needs.

Resources for trauma-informed care

How can educators help students recover from trauma? Heather C. Hill from Brown University’s Annenberg Institute provides recommendations for evidence-based screening tools and strategies to support students to recover.

The Rennie Center’s Back-to-School Blueprint is a series of research-based action guides intended to help schools and community partners implement practices that address trauma, engagement, and other topics.

The Lastinger Center at the University of Florida surveyed and interviewed hundreds of educators and families about their experiences during the pandemic. This brief includes findings and considerations around trauma-informed care.

How can schools support the transition back to the classroom? Lauren Amos provides strategies and recommendations through a trauma-informed lens.

Explore the evidence on multi-tiered systems of support to address trauma and the effectiveness of these practices.