The more I read and reflect on the impact the pandemic will have on education I am certain that the lynchpin of successful distance learning required authentic and consistent family participation. This, or course, is true in any learning environment, but for distance learning family engagement took on new importance.

Family Support

I teach in a 100% online independent student high school. In some ways our program is designed around distance learning. Without question, family participation is the biggest factor in student success. I believe this to be true because students are still developing the executive functions that will allow them to…


We are all familiar with Newton’s third law of motion which states “what goes up must come down.” In other words, Earth’s gravitational pull will eventually bring whatever is thrown up in the air back to the ground.

On a trail run this weekend I encountered a long downhill section. For long distance trail runners a nice long downhill can offer a welcomed break. As we meandered down the trail my friend and running partner turned to me and laughed, “what goes down must come up.” He was lamenting the fact that we had a big uphill in our future.


Even as the pandemic continues many schools are beginning their transition from distance learning back to in-person instruction. As we make that switch it is important to analyze our students’, and our LCAP subgroups in particular, experience during distance learning to determine who will need the most support moving forward. Regression, or learning loss, is normal and expected over summer break, the regression experienced over the course of the last year is proving to be much more troublesome.

There is no question that most students, in varying degrees, will have experienced some regression as a result of the pandemic. Identifying…


Over the past few weeks I have been trying to get an idea of how schools can gain a better understanding of the losses students are facing as a result of distance learning during the pandemic. The COVID slide is real and by the very fact that it will have been over a year since school closures it will be that much more severe than the well documented Summer Slide, which results from the two months when students are not in classrooms.

A Scorecard

Together with my friend Joe Clausi, of the Traveling Principal, we are designing a simple ten question quiz…


I have been reading a lot lately about the idea of a COVID Slide during distance learning. Similar to the Summer Slide, it is predicted that many students will need significant intervention to help narrow learning gaps widened over the past year.

Measuring Learning Loss

Much of what I have read indicates that we don’t have much more than a vague idea of the depth of learning loss students are facing. One report states that, “Little is known about the effectiveness of learning at home for the entire student population…for a significant proportion of pupils, learning during school closures was apparently almost non-existent.”…


I am 50 days into a 60-day writing challenge. Initially this was conceived by Daniel Bauer of Better Leaders Better Schools as a 30-day challenge. Then, on day 30, one of the members of our writing collective, Joe Clausi of The Traveling Principal, upped the ante to another 30 days. At the time it sounded like a good idea so I threw my name in the hat. I share that to say I have spent a lot of time over the past month and a half on this laptop writing articles and it has me thinking of screen time.

The Writing Process

The…


Closing the Learning Gap a Horace Mann Education Study — March 2021

As indicated in this graph, the severity of learning loss due to the pandemic is real, with 97% of students impacted. There is no question that we are going to have to address these learning and achievement gaps as we transition back to the classroom. The way path forward is to get at what drives learning in the first place. As indicated in Teaching Adolescents To Become Learners a report from UCHICAGO CCSR Literature Review “…building students’ academic mindsets and teaching them appropriate learning strategies are the best ways to improve academic behaviors and perseverance, which leads to better grades…


“The way schools care about children is reflected in the way schools care about the children’s families. If educators view children simply as students, they are likely to see the family as separate from the school. That is, the family is expected to do its job and leave the education of children to the schools. If educators view students as children, they are likely to see both the family and the community as partners with the school in children’s education and development. …


Joe, thank you for the very kind words about Organized Binder! You hit the nail on the head!

"...Organized Binder focuses on learning for students, and scaffolds the process from beginning to end working on proper habits which lead to enhanced processing skills. Think of it as a para professional 1:1 aide, that is assigned to a student, however it’s in a binder, and micromanages the student due to the structure and intent of how they learn and what they are learning."


I have watched over the past year while my 1st grader learned to “go to school” through a screen. My children attend a public Waldorf school and there is little to no technology or screens in classrooms. The switch to distance learning for my daughters, 6 and 11, was big. At first, if I am honest, I was so sad as I watched them staring at a screen trying to engage with their teacher and classmates. …

Mitch Weathers

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