Bianca Vasquez Toness, doggedly focused on kids’ academic recovery, delivered a powerful tale about adults trying – and failing – to change school in the face of massive pandemic learning loss.
Previous reporting on pandemic-related education issues uncovered this tale of two districts: Facing Richmond kids’ massive learning losses, the superintendent had already tried twice to extend the school year – something experts recommended for struggling kids to get more time with teachers. Teachers, wealthy parents and school board members had defeated the proposal, leaving supporters bereft. But in Hopewell, backing from teachers and low-income parents had led to the unthinkable – the remaking of the academic calendar, introducing year-round school.
This story was a national scoop, distinguished by its focus on marginalized kids and families. It was named one of the top education stories of the week by “The Grade,” a well-read education blog.