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Balancing Priorities to Prepare for the Fall

**Advancement Project California; Association for California School Administrators; Attendance Works; California Association of African-American Superintendents & Administrators; California Collaborative for Educational Excellence; California Collaborative on District Reform; California Partnership for the Future of Learning; California State PTA; California School Boards Association; California Teachers Association; Californians for Justice; Californians Together; Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, Stanford; Children Now, Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth; Community Coalition; The Education Trust–West; Faith in Action East Bay; PICO California; … USC Rossier Center on Education Policy, Equity and Governance. (2021). Reimagine and rebuild: Restarting school with equity at the center.

In the months preceding our meeting, students and educators have been returning to classrooms in-person and full-time. Concerned about gaps in learning, exposure to trauma, and a perceived lack of state leadership during the pandemic, multiple education organizations in California have proposed a unified set of priorities for what they are calling a “restorative restart” to school in the fall. They have identified five priorities for at least the first six weeks of school: (1) center relationships; (2) address whole child needs; (3) strengthen staffing and partnerships; (4) make teaching and learning relevant and rigorous; and (5) empower educators and leaders to reimagine and rebuild systems. This piece will not only act as the starting point for Session II conversation, but hopefully for coherence across the state in how we address the learning and socio-emotional needs of all students. This piece is available at

Californians for Justice. (n.d.). 6 things that matter most to students.

During the development of Reimagine and Rebuild, 1,000 California secondary and upper elementary students shared their perspectives on what should be prioritized as we return to in-person learning. These perspectives shaped the six main recommendations in the brief, and this two-page document highlights the main themes garnered from the students’ perspectives. Students reflected on the significant gaps between their vision of an ideal school and what currently exists, and provided specific suggestions that could help bridge these gaps. This piece is available at

Duchesneau, N. (2020). Focus group findings: How students and families of color approach social, emotional, and academic development. In Social, emotional, and academic development through an equity lens (pp. 12–27). The Education Trust.

We excerpted this section of a larger report on social, emotional, and academic learning among students of color to focus on the perspectives of Black and Latinx students and families. The excerpted section describes findings from a series of focus groups across the country in which families and students of color discussed the importance of social-emotional learning and how schools can improve to better serve them. Focus group participants expressed deep skepticism that the American education system is even capable of providing overdue supports to Black and Latinx students. Although these focus groups were conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, the findings echo many of those in the CalJustice report above, such as better mental and physical health services, more representation of students’ cultures throughout the curriculum, and stronger relationships between schools, parents and the local community. The full report is available at

**This document is considered a priority reading.