Fundamental 4: Pandemic Learning Reveals the Value of High-Quality Instructional Materials to Educator-Family-Student Partnerships

The COVID-19 pandemic caused enormous disruptions to PK-12 school systems, including long-held beliefs about teaching and learning. After several months of unexpected virtual and hybrid learning, some school systems have emerged with a new understanding of the instructional core. Commonly thought of as the relationships between teacher, student, and instructional materials that support student learning, these leaders have expanded their understanding of the instructional core to include families.

We conducted nearly 300 interviews with students, families, and educators from nine school districts and charter school organizations to learn more about the expanded instructional core. In "Fundamental 4," we share four lessons key to sustaining the expanded core. These lessons are:

  1. Expand the required dimensions of “high-quality” instructional materials to be educative for families, tech-enabled, and culturally responsive
  2. Leverage high-quality instructional materials to coordinate academic co-production among the four anchors of the expanded core
  3. Sustain curriculum-based professional learning focused on the expanded core, with an explicit focus on implementing high-quality instructional materials in ways that respond to student, family, and community needs
  4. Create systems and structures for families, teachers, and students to design, monitor, and improve upon learning experiences