Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.


New research finds dramatic increases in New England food assistance use in pandemic

July 20, 2020 – Young Children, Families

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has published new findings on applications for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the two New England states with data available. The authors find that SNAP applications track closely with spikes in initial unemployment claims in both states, indicating that SNAP continues to provide an immediate avenue for ameliorating nutrition risk, as it has in earlier recessions. The authors note that applications will likely increase when expanded unemployment insurance expires at the end of July, and heightened rates are likely to persist if economic recovery is slow to arrive. #foodsecurity #covid-19

North Carolina schools take advantage of USDA waivers to meet summer meals demands

July 8, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The Spotlight on Poverty & Opportunity blog highlights innovative efforts in North Carolina to provide school meals to students over the summer. North Carolina schools have taken advantage of the many pandemic-induced USDA waivers that normally restrict how summer meals can be offered. For example, now meals can be delivered to students, rather than eaten in a congregate setting. Programs may also deliver more than one meal at a time, so these North Carolina schools are intentionally aiming to increase efficiency—and save money—by maximizing the number of meals in each round of deliveries. Additionally, schools have used buses as key transportation for delivering meals, filling staffing gaps with volunteers. #foodsecurity #covid-19

Households with children facing greater financial challenges during the pandemic

June 30, 2020 – Young Children

U.S. Census Bureau analysis of their Household Pulse Survey (June 4-9) found that adults in households with children have been hit hard financially amid COVID-19. Both food insufficiency and late housing payments were particularly prevalent among adults in households with children. They found that adults in households with children more often reported a late or deferred housing payment in May 2020, including rates as high as one-in-four among renter households. Authors estimated that 3.9 million children live in households experiencing pandemic-induced food insufficiency, and almost 1.3 million children live in households experiencing both pandemic-induced food insufficiency and housing insecurities. #foodsecurity #covid-19

Strategies for supporting informal child care providers

June 24, 2020 – Young Children

Mathematica, in partnership with foundations in the Bay Area and in Detroit, has been shared some of their key findings from years of work on informal child care. As questions about school and child care re-openings and capacity remain, the authors expect reduced access to formal settings and increased reliance on informal caregivers. Supporting informal caregivers and enhancing the quality of this care will become increasingly important. Such supports include promoting subsidies for informal providers (available in some states), building informal caregiver networks and incorporating informal caregivers’ input into programming that is offered around child development and education. #covid-19 #education

Maine Data Glimpse: Pandemic Shift to Remote Learning

June 17, 2020 – Older Youth, Young Children

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey is a unique source of timely data on how households are faring across the United States and in each state during the pandemic. Topics include household income and employment changes, mental health, food insufficiency, and the shift to remote learning. In this data glimpse, we use these new data to explore remote learning shifts in New England and the United States. #covid-19 #education

Brookings experts propose new formula to allocate federal education aid to states

June 15, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Experts at Brookings argue that future federal education aid should not be distributed through existing formulas (like the Title I formulas used to distribute CARES Act funding), which cause confusion around spending restrictions and reduce local flexibility. Instead, authors propose allocating aid based simply on child poverty rates, wherein states with higher rates would receive more aid per student. Currently, states with higher levels of child poverty tend to spend far less on education—one factor that reduces allocations under Title I. #covid-19 #education

Only 20 percent of K-12 school districts offered rigorous remote learning this spring

June 15, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

A new report from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) finds that only about one in five K-12 school districts offered “rigorous” remote learning this spring. A remote learning plan was defined as “rigorous” if it: used online platforms to deliver content; included synchronous learning (such as over Zoom); tracked attendance or participation; and included some amount of grading. Further, only 12 percent of school districts classified as high poverty had rigorous plans. Of course, this metric assumes at-home internet access and sufficient access to devices; AEI suggests that paper packets are not as effective as online platforms, particularly when there is little grading and/or accountability attached. #covid-19 #education

Children still need physical education in remote learning environments

June 3, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

One aspect of K-12 education that has often been left out during the transition to remote learning is physical education. A University of South Carolina researcher notes that without the structure of a school day, many children are typically less physically active over the summer. This summer, with many activities canceled, children may be even less active than usual, which has implications for longer-term health and child wellbeing. The author provides age-appropriate suggestions for parents, such as playing catch with elementary students to develop motor skills. #covid-19 #education

Research finds that promoting virtual charter schools is a poor policy response

June 2, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

In the context of pandemic-related virtual learning transitions, Brookings researchers summarized their recent publication comparing student achievement (as measured by test scores) in Indiana virtual charter schools and traditional in-person public schools. Using longitudinal education data, the authors found that attending a virtual charter school has clear and consistent negative effects on math and language scores. When they compared in-person charter schools to traditional public schools, there was no difference in achievement. While this work pre-dates the pandemic, the authors raise concerns about expanding virtual charter schools during the pandemic as a policy response, despite Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s pursuit of this strategy. #covid-19 #education

Remote learning best practices based on available evidence

May 28, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The Regional Education Laboratory (REL Mid-Atlantic) recently published a review of existing research on remote learning strategies and promising practices that teachers can implement quickly. For example, studies have found poorer results for students in courses where there is little to no real-time interaction with their instructor. Teachers can create additional opportunities for synchronous interactions by holding virtual office hours or meeting with students by phone. Among the other helpful strategies identified were the importance of ongoing feedback and support from teachers, enhancing online learning with other resources, and tying academic material to the real world. #covid-19 #education

Education aid needed to avoid detrimental K-12 cuts

May 27, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Amid state and local revenue losses, there is concern that school funding will be reduced to balance budgets. Cuts to funding, teachers, staff, and even school days were made during the Great Recession and many school districts have still not recovered. The HEROES Act, which has been passed in the House and now faces the Senate, includes important education aid for states and localities. Researchers at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities identify several crucial measures in the HEROES Act, including direct and flexible funding to states, territories, tribes, and localities; direct funding to local school districts; and increasing the federal matching rate for Medicaid which will offer direct savings to states. #covid-19 #education

Team teaching and flexibility in Manchester to support remote learning

May 27, 2020 – Young Children

The Concord Monitor highlights how teachers and administrators at one of the poorest elementary schools in New Hampshire’s largest city (Manchester) have been strategic and intentional about remote learning implementation. The Beech Street Elementary School is creating shared lesson plans for all students in a grade level, with modifications for special education and English Language Learner students. Staff connect with parents through phone, email, Facebook, and Instagram, and students can submit their work on a flexible timeline and via their online assignment portal, email, photo, or other method. #covid-19 #education