The world is only beginning to come to grips with the educational costs inflicted by COVID-19, but Johns Hopkins’ Robert Balfanz is working on a solution to learning loss that can help students catch up. He envisions a nationwide corps of adults working hand in hand with teachers helping students succeed.
Balfanz recently joined in a White House rollout of the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS), a public-private collaboration between the U.S. Department of Education, AmeriCorps, Balfanz’s Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, and over 100 nonprofit organizations that aims to add 250,000 tutors, mentors, success coaches, post-secondary advisers, and other supports to America’s schools in the next three years.
“There are pragmatic, evidence-based solutions out there in the research and in practice that can help, right now, but they require ‘people power’ on a national scale to move the needle,” Balfanz says. “The NPSS aims to help engineer this by delivering trained, supported, and vetted adults into America’s schools to work side by side with principals, educators, and counselors to give support to learners who need it most and keep them connected to their schools.”
To build and prepare this corps of educators, NPSS will partner with local communities and nonprofits, leverage existing federal COVID-19 relief funding, and deliver requisite training. Candidates will be drawn from university work-study programs, corporations and public employers rallying their employees to volunteer, AmeriCorps national service programs, and youth-centered community organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, United Way, and the YMCA. The partnership’s legions will then fan out across the country, helping students develop the skills they need to succeed in school and throughout life.