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The school year that is now nearly halfway complete has been exceptionally challenging for New York students and educators. 

The ongoing effects of the pandemic, ever-evolving adjustments to teaching and learning, and the continued national reckoning with systemic racism are all taking their toll on educators and their students. 

Yet across New York State, students and educators continue to persevere through one of the most challenging times facing schools in our lifetime.  

Data from Ed Trust–NY’s parent polls consistently illuminate exacerbated inequities and the many challenges that come with remote learning, even as hundreds of thousands of students across New York – including many in the state’s largest urban school systems – are relying on the modality for instruction. 

While not ideal, remote learning is a part of our lives for the foreseeable future. And many New York educators are meeting this year’s myriad of challenges with innovation, ingenuity, and tenacity, from spending extra time with students and parents to overhauling how they teach. 

It’s become relatively easy to find what is hard, difficult, and challenging, so we decided to look for those educators who are taking on the challenges and staying in the fight for children – actively addressing opportunity gaps and doing their part to ensure children are supported academically, socially, and emotionally.   

We will periodically highlight equity-focused educators, principals, and staff members from across the state who are doing their best to get remote learning right.  As we talked to these educators, we learned that there are some behaviors and practices that are indeed making a difference. We have chosen to share these educators’ stories to inspire those who are looking for hope and encourage those who are looking to catalyze change.  

Their experiences allow us to consider the implications for state policy changes to support students throughout the state. Building on the equity-focused reopening guidance provided by the New York State Education Department this past summer and the practices educators are innovating in their virtual classrooms, Ed TrustNY has developed a set of principles for clear expectations for remote instruction that can be prioritized in state and local policy to promote equity in classrooms and school communities throughout the state. 

Read how educators across New York State are implementing the 10 Principles for Equity in Remote Learning at edtrustny.org/equityonline.