Supportive Resources for Students and Families in Our “New Normal”

Over the past two months, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ACT, alongside our partners, has hosted webinars, Facebook LIVE conversations, and pulled together resources to support students, families, and those who serve them through the crisis. You can browse through the resources below to get information and support you can use and share.

Webinars and Videos:

Social and Emotional Learning and Equity: Follow the Data Members from across ACT partnered on this Education Week-hosted webinar highlighting how social and emotional learning (SEL) can be leveraged to promote education equity. Speakers covered a lot of great information, including data, research, and practical application of SEL in learning. We encourage you to keep the conversation going about equity in education and ways underserved learners can be supported, especially through SEL, in schools and districts.

How Parents Can Help Stem a “Covid-19” Learning Slide ACT and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) jointly hosted this webinar May 7 with Mawi Asgedom of Mawi Learning and Jim Arey, District 214 Education Association. The webinar introduced practical SEL tools and lessons to help keep kids motivated to grow and learn while outside of the traditional classroom. ACT SEL (Mawi Learning and Tessera) has provided teaching and learning lessons to AFT’s Share My Lesson platform. The lessons can be used in-home or in-classroom by parents and educators to ensure their students keep learning and growing for future success.

Sobre Como Continuar Tus Estudios Y COVID-19 CON ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning Program Director Dr. Nancy Lewin joined Univision Noticias’ Carolina Rosario for a conversation in Spanish about how parents and families can support their students as they navigate the implications of the pandemic on learning. Information regarding the planned updates to the ACT test coming this fall and college-going resources were also covered.

Demystifying the Financial Aid Appeals Process  ACT’s Kenton Pauls was joined by Abigail Seldin, Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation and Matt Newlin, Ed.D., College Advising Corps to discuss the financial aid appeals process and SwiftStudent, a new, free online resource to support students, their families, and financial aid offices in streamlining the financial aid appeals process (developed through funding from the Seldin/Haring-Smith Foundation). Students who have experienced economic loss or job instability due to COVID-19 can appeal their financial aid package, and this webinar walks through that process and answers financial aid questions.

How to Fundraise for Emergency Aid Programs  Tina Gridiron, VP, ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning joined Lizzy Moore, foundation president and dean of institutional advancement at Santa Monica College, and host, Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, founding director, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, discuss the growing emergency aid need college students have during the COVID-19 pandemic and ways institutions can raise additional dollars to help. In a recent survey, institutions indicated that their emergency aid budgets are under $100,000 annually. Two in three institutions say demand for funds outstrips their supply and three in four say that the lack of funds is a key barrier to serving more students with emergency aid.

Feeling Disconnected? Foster student relationships, ease anxiety, and maintain motivation during in-home learning. This webinar with Dr. Jeremy Burrus, researcher in ACT’s Social Emotional and Academic Learning Center and Jeff Allmon, counselor with McPherson Middle School showcased the practical application of social emotional learning, especially in times of uncertainty. They also discussed SEL research and highlighted how McPherson Middle School is putting SEL into action for improved learning (both in-classroom and in-home) for students and educators.

Grown and Flown chat: On May 4, ACT partnered with Grown & Flown a parent network with 500,000 members, to co-host a Facebook Live chat, discussing the enhancements coming to the ACT in September 2020, the role the test plays as part of the college-going process, test prep resources, and how qualifying students can apply for a test fee waiver.

Mawi Learning is still offering free access (through June 30) to their SEL student curriculum. Access includes three blended and online SEL programs.

ACT also offers a full page of free digital resources, including free ACT test prep through ACT Academy here.

In early May, ACT and American Federation of Teachers’ Share My Lesson announced that they had joined forces to help teachers and students navigate online learning during the COVID-19 crisis. ACT is providing teaching and learning lessons, resources, and content to the AFT’s Share My Lesson platform. This AFT platform is the country’s premier digital platform where teachers can collaborate and share lesson plans, classroom strategies and other learning resources for free.

You can also explore new survey research that examines the Student Voice on how students are dealing with the crisis:

With more than 55 million K-12 students learning from home, away from school-based instruction and resources due to the pandemic, ACT has released a blog series examining student perspectives on various aspects of the crisis. ACT invited 130,000 college-bound high school students who registered to take the national April or June 2020 ACT test to participate in an online survey. A total of 13,000 students participated between March 26 and April 1, resulting in a 10 percent response rate.

The blogs (with links) are listed below:

Inequities in Technological Devices and Internet Connection Persist During the Coronavirus

Compounding Effects of Coronavirus Disproportionately Affect Learning for Students from Underserved Backgrounds

Food Insecurity During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Supporting Student Mental Health

Join Our Twitter Chat June 3

On June 3 at 2 PM EDT we will host the #COVIDEquityChat on Twitter, partnering with organizations including Better Make Room, Reach Higher, Common App, Center for First-Generation Student Success, the American Consortium for Equity in Education (ACE-ED), and Mawi Learning which all serve underserved populations. The chat will examine current stressors and needs, and share much-needed resources from these partners to empower students from underserved populations to keep moving ahead in their journeys through education and career.