BMGF Washington Bridge Community of Practice

Resources and Tools to Support Washington State School Districts Accelerate Learning and Address Student Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington Bridge Community of Practice

The pandemic—coupled with systemic racism—has widened disparities in K12 education, especially for students of color and students experiencing poverty. School districts have been challenged to adapt and evolve their instructional systems, and the disparate impacts of the pandemic together with the challenges of online and hybrid teaching and learning, exacerbated disparities for students at all grade levels. To address these challenges, the Washington State Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created the “Bridge Portfolio”, a short term investment during the 2021–2023 academic school years designed to support school districts across Washington State in responding to unique challenges presented by COVID-19.

Nine school districts and seven technical assistance (TA) providers partnered on COVID-19 response and recovery through this investment. These Bridge Portfolio members also participated in a Community of Practice (CoP) facilitated by Education First. Through the CoP, district and TA provider teams identified challenges, shared ideas and resources, and developed approaches to COVID-19 response and recovery. Topics discussed and addressed through the CoP included learning acceleration, staffing shortages, and student and staff well-being.

You can learn more about the WA Bridge Portfolio here.

This Toolkit

This toolkit gathers the resources and tools shared by the Bridge Portfolio participants as part of the CoP. These resources and tools fall into three categories:

Resources and Tools to Design Systems that Support Student Learning

To address unfinished learning, districts need to design systems that will support students and teachers. The tools and resources in this section help district leaders consider several such systems, including:

  • Multi-tiered system of support
  • District-wide tutoring system
  • Strong assessment system
  • Targeted professional development for teachers

Resources and Tools to Create a Welcoming and Supportive Environment for Students, Staff and Families

Creating a welcoming and supportive environment for students, staff and families is crucial, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tools and resources in this section help district leaders:

  • Support students with their social and emotional needs
  • Ensure staff well-being
  • Shift the discipline system from a zero-tolerance approach to one focused on prevention and keeping students in school
  • Engage families and build on the strengths of the community

Resources and Tools to Support District Leadership with Strong Planning, Recruitment and Funding Practices

In addition to responding to the immediate needs of students, families and staff, district leaders also have to make strategic decisions around teacher recruitment and funding with a sustainable long term vision in mind. The tools and resources in this section help district leaders:

  • Recruit a diverse teacher workforce
  • Strategically utilize and track ESSER dollars
  • Set action plans to achieve goals

We have organized the contents of this toolkit as shown below:

This icon denotes tools that can be adapted and customized to meet your specific needs and context

This icon denotes resources that can provide helpful guidance and reference material

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