Grappling with assessments, learning loss, and supporting all students and faculty are challenges and priorities for principals

14 major challenges principals face as COVID continues


Grappling with assessments, learning loss, and supporting all students and faculty are challenges and priorities for principals

Since the 2020-2021 school year began, school principals have had to change their learning mode, and top concerns remain safety, attendance, funding, and learning loss, according to a survey from National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

Beginning in March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools nationwide, NAESP has looked to its members to understand what is happening on the ground in schools.

In March 2020, NAESP surveyed its members to learn how COVID-19 had affected their schools. In July 2020, NAESP conducted a follow-up survey to gain insights into how principals were viewing school reopenings. Now, at the midway point in the school year, NAESP has once again reached out to its members to gain insight into how schools are safely conducting classes and whether the necessary funding is in place to appropriately respond to the impacts of the pandemic.

“The results of this survey reaffirm the enormous challenges that principals are facing in trying to lead learning communities in the middle of a pandemic,” says NAESP Executive Director L. Earl Franks, Ed.D., CAE. “Whether it is implementing procedures to keep staff and students safe, trying to ensure reliable home internet access for students, addressing student learning loss, or boosting mental health and trauma sensitivity supports for students, principals are having to do more with less. The COVID-19 relief package that Congress recently passed is a good first step to help schools in the short term, but for school leaders to appropriately respond in the coming months, additional federal support is urgently needed.”

This latest survey, conducted in late December 2020, includes 860 responses from NAESP members—elementary and middle school principals and assistant principals from across the country.

Laura Ascione

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