K-12 Education

School Connectedness and Student Success: The Role of State Policy

May 5, 2020  • Education and Society Program


The abrupt shift to distance learning for 50 million students and their teachers upended education across America. The strain and trauma created by this crisis is most significant for the students and families furthest from opportunity. Food insecurity, job loss, technology and broadband access limitations, general uncertainty and increased family stress, and inequitable structures make it challenging to maintain connections with students. And yet we are only just beginning to understand what these months will mean for each student and the public education system as we know it.

We do know that school connectedness is crucial to student success and that distance learning is placing immense staring on these connections. But what does that mean for states and state policy? This webinar explored the importance of safe and nurturing relationships in school and the long-term implications of this crisis for social, emotional, and academic development (SEAD). What lessons from this crisis should we carry into reopened classrooms? What guidance and support will teachers need to reengage students in learning? How can state leaders set policy and designate resources to prioritize SEAD & relationships?

Speakers included:

  • Elizabeth Casillas, Community Organizer, RISE Colorado
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the California State Board of Education and President of the Learning Policy Institute
  • Facilitator: Ross Wiener, Aspen Institute Education & Society Program Executive Director