Becoming a freshman in school is never easy.
Students who move, especially in the middle of the school year, have to adapt a lot: new courses, new textbooks, and even new social scenes. And this kind of interruption sometimes leads to serious academic delays.
In Chelsea, Massachusetts, a largely working-class suburban city separated from Boston by the Mystic River, high student mobility used to be a challenge, and there was no clear solution. But then the school district established an unusual partnership with its neighbors to jointly develop courses and make moving easier.
Five district cooperationIncluding Chelsea, it was established in 2012. However, as schools and communities suddenly faced dramatic changes in enrollment rates due to the pandemic—a reason that its supporters could never predict, there was a renewed interest in the model.
In short, the pandemic seems to be causing a large number of students to transfer. Sometimes this is because the parents are unemployed or engaged in a new job that requires relocation to a different school district or school district (although experts are still analyzing the data and waiting to see the extent of this trend).Virtual learning may allow some of these students to keep in touch with their original schools and districts, but the steady reopening of face-to-face courses, coupled with the upcoming CDC suspends evictions, May cause more movement to fall.
These changes may disrupt student learning. Maybe a student moves to a school that already covers scores, but their previous school has not taught them. “Then you are at a loss,” said Cove Davis, executive administrator of the Five District Partnership. “This is the original idea behind the cooperation. Try to make these five intersecting cities have a consistent scope and order.”
Not all liquidity is bad. Amy Ellen Schwartz, professor of economics and public administration at Syracuse University, said that sometimes children will find better jobs to get closer to their families or because their parents find better jobs. She distinguishes migrant students from those facing specific challenges (such as unstable housing).Children who move because their family members are unemployed or unable to rent, especially children who have moved multiple times, often face School delays and more difficulties when graduating from high school.
The pandemic may put more students into trouble. Last year’s massive unemployment has brought tremendous economic pressure to working families, although the national suspension of evictions may slow the loss of families from relocation. It can’t stop it completelyThe moratorium, as a federal policy, ended on June 30, removing protective measures that might have kept thousands of families across the country at home.
“We have no data on actual turnover,” said Chad d’Entremont, the agency’s executive director. Renee Educational Research and Policy Center“We began to record that during the pandemic, many students were out of touch with the education system… Many of them may have become mobile and are moving to different communities and schools.”
The five cities that make up the Massachusetts partnership include Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Revere and Winthrop. These areas are small but densely populated, winding along the riverfront and coastline north of Boston. Student mobility is nothing new here.
In 2012, school district leaders identified a serious challenge facing teachers: During their school careers, thousands of students moved between cities and had to adapt to the new school environment.
“You have a lot of unstable housing,” Davis said. Because the city is so close, even the support of nearby families for students who have lost their housing may actually be in a completely different area.
“It’s not like kids moving from Boston to Chicago to Los Angeles and then back,” Schwartz said. “For children whose housing is unstable is a problem, many of them are walking around in the same urban area.”
Davis said that Chelsea’s more affordable community and resettlement services for immigrant communities have also become a starting point. Working families and new immigrants can start from there and eventually settle down in other suburban cities. Many educators in Chelsea believe that they are doing well with students, but when these learners relocate, adapting to the new environment can sometimes hurt their progress.
Therefore, when the country implemented the Common Core Standards nearly ten years ago, the five superintendents decided to adjust their courses and teaching units at roughly the same time, teaching them in the same order and many of the same materials. The partnership holds a course developer meeting once a month, and the other is the person in charge. Davis said that when school leaders knew that students were going to change school districts, they often reminded each other.
“We are looking for ways to support each other,” said Matthew Costa, director of STEM subjects at Revere Public Schools. In 2020, Slightly more than 12% Students in the school district are considered mobile.
“This is something we have long recognized. This is an important part of our work…think about different classroom structures and work hard to help students feel connected, supported and cared,” he said.
In some respects, if they try to replicate the plan today, the onboarding process for the five-zone partnership is easier than what the districts might encounter. The introduction of the Common Core Standard in 2012 meant that when school leaders began to collaborate, they were already reshaping their curriculum and were open to more ambitious changes. The original five persons in charge have also been in close contact for many years.
On the other hand, Gislene Tasayco, a senior expert on the Education and Extended Learning Team of the National Alliance of Cities, said that partnerships between schools and communities to meet the challenges of the pandemic are increasing. She observed that after a year of challenges, school leaders increasingly adopted holistic and regional methods to re-engage students.
D’Entremont of the Rainey Center agrees. “Historically, schools have often operated in isolation. They are beginning to realize that we are all connected. If students move from one school to another, from one city to another… we need to be able to pass on these Knowledge and information.”
Of course, student mobility is only the first step in the school’s continued efforts to prevent students from falling behind or dropping out when they reopen face-to-face learning on a large scale this fall. But helping to ease the transition of students, especially for students whose housing is insecure, is crucial.
“We must remind them that there is a community behind them that is willing to support them,” Tasayco said.