The New Jersey School Boards Association today issued “Rebuilding Opportunities for Students” — the fifth in a series of special reports on the issues facing school leaders, educators, students and their families since the pandemic began some 18 months ago.

The report looks at challenges facing school districts and students in dealing with pandemic-related gaps in academic and social-emotional learning and provides information on effective practices and programs, meeting the needs of special populations, the role of arts education in social-emotional learning, and directing coronavirus relief funding so that it has the optimal impact on growth and learning for students.

The report represents the work of the NJSBA Committee on Post-Pandemic Gaps in Academic and Social-Emotional Learning. The study group explored challenges facing school districts and students, state and federal policy and financial support, and strategies at the local level, a number of which were put in place during the past year.

To develop the report, the committee drew upon the knowledge of experts in various fields and reviewed literature and research, including the Association’s previous work on education during the pandemic, student achievement, the career-focused learner, student mental health, and other subjects.

“Educators are continuing to assess the impact of the pandemic on our local school communities, to develop effective programs to overcome any gaps in learning, and to use this period of planning and adjustment as an opportunity to ensure the academic progress and social-emotional growth of all of New Jersey’s 1.4 million students.” said Dr. Lawrence Feinsod, executive director of NJSBA.

Since March 2020, NJSBA has committed its resources to helping local boards of education meet the challenges of the pandemic through training, advocacy, direct services and research. In addition to “Rebuilding Opportunities for Students,” NJSBA has issued the following reports on education during the pandemic:

“The information contained in our series of special reports will prove valuable to local boards of education and school administrators and will help inform public policy on education during the pandemic and beyond,” said Feinsod, describing the purpose of the research projects.