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A Different Way to Think About Learning Loss

It's hard to feel several strong emotions all at once. Excitement. Sadness. Optimism. Regret. Maybe this is why I've cried more this year than all the other years I've served as a principal combined. Tears of joy, gratitude, and the occasional feeling of being overwhelmed trying to help myself and our school community through the uncertainty of a global pandemic.

This school year has been a rollercoaster. With the imminent approach of summer (and perhaps a little wishful thinking) it would seem the ride is nearly over. With this realization comes an opportunity to reflect on everything our team accomplished together. And some of the things we lost.

A natural inclination might be to focus on learning loss. Or to jump to planning strategies to mitigate learning loss moving forward. I think I understand why this is important, but I assure you there's more to reflect upon. And more people who deserve to be involved in the conversation.

This pandemic has taken many things from us...we want to be sure the perspectives of students are not among the many losses. One of the things our team is going to try is amplifying student voice as part of this reflection. In an intentional manner.

An activity we're planning for a group of students is a reflective prompt connected to four words

  • Missed...

  • Learned...

  • Loved...

  • Lost...

Instead of assuming students feel a certain way or lost a certain thing, we want to think about the year in a different way. A way that honors the fact that students may be feeling many different things all at the same time. Just like their teachers and principal. I thought I'd share in case this approach might be helpful to you and the people you serve.

Heartfelt thanks to every educator who has given so much this past year. I'm inspired to serve alongside you and thankful for your support (from near and far).


If this blog post resonated, you might like my newest book, Reclaiming Our Calling: Hold on to the Heart, Mind, and Hope of Education. The book tackles a tension many educators are feeling using a combination of stories and practical strategies. If you’re interested in technology integration, Renegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital-Age Students is a best-seller with Corwin Press. Both books are built on the belief that everything we do in education starts with relationships and connectedness




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