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Reversing Course:
A Panel Discussion Series

Reversing Course

From the Ivy Street School and the Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, Reversing Course is a series of panel discussions aimed at assessing the state of education following the COVID-19 pandemic. Reversing Course brings together leaders from across the education sector to address the most urgent issues impacting our students.

Thanks to our generous sponsor Eastern Bank.

Explore the Reversing Course series:

As we move into the second year of this global pandemic, how do we address the significant academic, social, and emotional toll COVID-19 has taken on school-age children? What are the lessons educators have learned from having to adapt to remote and hybrid school models? With millions of students across the U.S learning remotely, unprecedented numbers not attending school, and municipalities canceling assessments—we are experiencing a crisis of learning loss.

Thank you to our panelists:

Jonah Edelman
CEO, Stand for Children

Lindsay Jones
President and CEO, National Center for Learning Disabilities

Heather Peske
Associate Commissioner for Instructional Support, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

As we end the second academic year impacted by COVID-19, we are still grappling with questions about how to best move forward, accelerate learning, and support student’s social and emotional health. In our previous Reversing Course discussion, we heard from leaders across the education sector, and together, we unpacked questions about learning loss, content loss, and learning gains. We discussed the incredible opportunities to reimagine our education systems and how we can think about time as a tool for developing people, deepening learning, and supporting students. 

Thanks to unprecedented investment and the influx of resources nationally and locally, school systems across the country are using the summer to assess learning, build community, deepen social and emotional supports, and target services to the most vulnerable youth.

Thank you to our panelists:

Bethany M. Allen
Director of Equitable Pathways, Office of Strategy and Innovation, Boston Public Schools

Emma Dorn
Global Education Practice Manager, McKinsey & Company

Susanna Loeb
Director, Annenberg Institute at Brown University

Meisha Ross Porter
Chancellor, New York City Public Schools

In December 2021, The Surgeon General warned that young people face “devastating” mental health effects due to challenges experienced by their generation, including the coronavirus pandemic. Over 800,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and it’s been reported that nearly 170,000 American children have lost a caregiver – either a parent or grandparent. At the same time, divorce rates are on the rise, a robust and equitable economic recovery continues to lag, and 11,980 households in Massachusetts alone claim they are very likely to be evicted soon. In addition, slow progress and heightened awareness of climate change, income inequality, racial injustice, the opioid epidemic, gun violence, and around-the-clock (social) media continue to circle the lives of young people.

Simply put, more and more youth are confronting and experiencing amplified anxiety and grief stemming from the sustained emotional, social, and economic trauma. Educators and parents are witnessing the impact. Chronic absenteeism, lagging school performance, increased physical aggression, and a 51% increase in ER visits for suicide attempts by adolescent girls is a sobering reminder of the pressure our kids are confronting and managing.

So, what’s next? We will talk to leaders across the sector to explore these questions and more.

Thank you to our panelists:

Leslie Suggs
President and CEO,
The Home for Little Wanderers

Jennifer Greif Green
Associate Professor in Special Education,
BU Wheelock College

LaShawn Robinson
Deputy Chancellor for School Climate and Wellness,