The former superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools writes that reconnecting with students requires multiple strategies, open dialogue, trust and empathy.

Anthony Hamlet was superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools from 2016 through 2021.

The past two years have offered ample evidence of the impact remote learning has on students. Virtual education systems kept schools running safely during the early days of the pandemic, reduced bullying in some cases, and gave many students a new sense of autonomy.

But as we returned to classrooms, other effects became apparent. While remote, students missed hands-on learning opportunities and time to bond with peers. Teachers struggled to connect with at-risk students, many of whom had difficulty focusing on their studies in unstable homes. Across the board, students missed educational milestones, falling behind in math, reading and science courses.

School administrators and staff worked diligently to adopt online learning practices and distributed laptops to students in record time. Still, some students had unreliable access to Wi-Fi, others lost loved ones to COVID-19, and many older teens picked up jobs to support their households. These circumstances worsened mental health outcomes and ultimately disengaged students from their lessons. Read the full article on K-12 Dive.