Re-Engaging Multilingual Learners Post-Pandemic–Internationals Network for Public Schools

For more than a year, we have been consumed with tracking losses. Loss of lives, loss of time, loss of students who were forced to relocate due to unemployment or to leave school due to economic pressures. In the midst of loss, we have also seen the work of educators across our network blossom with collaborative problem-solving, peer support, and creative solutions to unheard of situations that have been in constant flux. We have spent the past year listening to leaders, teachers, staff and students across our network. Our goal is to take lessons from the losses while we also harness the innovations and carry them into the year ahead in the service of our students.

In the pages that follow, we share findings from across our network to see what we can learn about shifts in engagement with school, student achievement, and the ways that schools have responded to student needs. As we look toward the future, we know that it is imperative that students, who are new to the US and are already disadvantaged in school, be centered in plans to re-engage.

This report brings together the perspectives from the 28 schools and academies in nine school districts in Internationals Network. It is our collective effort to synthesize learnings from the months since March 2020, when schools shifted to remote learning, and to share insights in order to inform re-engagement with schools for the 2021-22 school year. We hope that readers who influence decisions in districts, schools, and communities can benefit from the findings shared here. We view these findings as offering an opportunity to combine a look at the losses and the innovations in teaching and learning from multiple perspectives, framed in the context of a school network that for many years has innovated to transform secondary schools into places that support immigrant multilingual learner success. As we all prepare to open our school doors for the 2021-22 school year, we hope that our collective observations, insights, voices, examples and recommendations for re-engagement can inform continued innovation and collaboration with an eye toward equitable schooling opportunities for multilingual learners.