By Dr. Mauria Uhlik, Senior Advisor
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an unprecedented number of challenges facing schools and students as they approach in-person learning this fall. Students with disabilities were disproportionately affected by school closures during the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 school years; in addition, the impact of disparities faced by students of color and English learners, including those who are eligible for special education and related services, were deepened1. As a result, the US Department of Education has created guidance, the “Return to School Roadmap,” to address the effect of the pandemic for students beginning this school year. It is critical that commitments outlined by states in response to the COVID-19 pandemic translate to improved outcomes for students across the country. We are pleased to present an upcoming blog series to support these commitments and provide practical and tangible advice to school-based leaders, thereby positively impacting the health and safety, social emotional, and academic well-being of students.
- Landmark 1: Prioritize the health and safety of student, school personnel, and families
- Landmark 2: Build school communities, and support students’ social, emotional, and mental health
- Landmark 3. Accelerate academic Achievement2
Our blog series, available over the coming weeks, is designed to support school-based administrators in addressing this call to action by federal, state, and local leaders to close the performance gap for students with disabilities this school year. First up in the series is a quick reference guide providing suggestions for implementing each of the priorities set forth in Landmark 2: Build School Communities and Support Students’ Social, Emotional, and Mental Health, as outlined in the Return to School Roadmap produced by the US Department of Education.
About the Author
Mauria Uhlik, Ed.D., joined PCG in June 2021 as a Senior Advisor. Prior to her tenure at PCG she served in a variety of roles including Director of Evaluation Early Stages in DC Public Schools, Adjunct Professor at Towson and Johns Hopkins University, and Educational Specialist in the Division of Special Education and Early Intervention at Maryland State Department of Education. In January 2015, Dr. Uhlik began her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management with a Special Education Leadership Concentration at Drexel University School of Education. She was selected as one of 10 doctoral candidates to participate in the Urban Special Education Leaders for Tomorrow Project (USELT), a 5-year OSEP funded Special Education Leadership Personnel Training Grant. She successfully defended her dissertation in May 2019. Most recently, Dr. Uhlik had the opportunity to serve as special educator throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 Education in a Pandemic: The Disparate Impacts of COVID-19 on America’s Students https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/20210608-impacts-of-covid19.pdf
2 “Return to School Roadmap”, US Department of Education https://sites.ed.gov/roadmap/