Life is unpredictable! If there’s anything that a six-day winter storm event, unlike anything we have ever experienced in Texas has confirmed, it’s that life is unpredictable. And also, that we are resilient: 40% of the Austin area, including many of our staff and partners, were out of power, heat and water for much of the week. Many Texans across the state found themselves in similar unexpected circumstances. Despite the situation, we continued to strive with our partners to move forward the critical work of education systems change.

This one week (well, except for the driveway sledding) seems to have been a microcosm of the last year: families in great need, students disconnected from schools, huge learning losses that we don’t even understand how to measure with our traditional tools and processes. In this unforeseen world, we are reaching out, working with partners on how to measure the what and why of learning and learning loss, and trying to answer:

• Are students really engaged?
• What modalities of learning are helping or hurting different groups of students?
• How do we define and measure learning loss beyond just the coarse proxy of test failure?
• How much are equity gaps that already existed being exacerbated?

We are blessed with relationships of trust with our community, districts, and higher education partners so that, together, we can dig more deeply into these questions. Ongoing conversations with superintendents and researchers are helping us to develop ways to understand how to better support students and make progress in education systems change in this extraordinary point in history.

As I have shared before: times of change are when we have the greatest opportunity to take advantage of the moment. I thank our partners, and I challenge all of us, to take advantage of this moment. Let’s come together to better measure, understand, and address student needs relentlessly in these uncertain and unpredictable times.

In this newsletter, you’ll see a few ways that E3 is trying to do just that, but we look forward to YOUR insights so together we can help ALL students succeed.