There’s no going back.

That is the consensus emerging from education leaders across the country as the nation enters a second year of schooling in a pandemic.

A public school district in Arizona is looking to become a service provider for parents who have pulled their children out to home-school them. In Oklahoma, students are having a say in where and when they learn. And educators everywhere are paying closer attention to students’ mental well-being….

In Arizona, schools across the state have taken advantage of loosened regulations to get creative about education solutions, according to Emily Anne Gullickson, CEO and founder of the nonprofit A for Arizona, which funds innovation in public education.

“That flexibility to adapt quickly allowed school leaders to step back and look at what is and isn’t working and how to pivot quickly,” Gullickson said.

Her organization has given grants of $20,000 or more to schools and districts to launch a number of new programs. The proposals included after-hours study groups for third graders to work with a qualified teacher or tutor to stem learning loss during the pandemic; an outdoor learning hub to reengage students who weren’t attending online classes; and an in-person small learning community with social and emotional supports for students suffering from trauma.


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