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.


College enrollment declines, especially among disadvantaged students

September 16, 2020 – Older Youth

The Washington Post describes early signs of disproportionate college enrollment declines and higher dropouts among low-income students, students of color, and rural students. Declines in enrollment are greatest at community colleges. College enrollment increased during the Great Recession and tends to increase in any economic downturn, although the opposite is happening in the current pandemic-related recession. Some key reasons for this include concerns about exposure to the virus, lost income prohibiting enrollment, and challenges with virtual classes such as insufficient access to broadband and other technology at home. As enrollment declines unevenly, concerns about perpetuating inequality abound. #covid-19 #education #racialequity #rural

Mathematica study models risks in back to school strategies for use by school decisionmakers

September 16, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Mathematica worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to conduct simulations of a model predicting the spread of COVID-19 in schools under different local circumstances (including local community infection rate) and operating procedures. A substantial finding from these simulations is that the strategies of wearing masks and reducing student contact outside of class do help meaningfully reduce the spread of COVID-19. Researchers found that these precautions combined with a part-time hybrid school operation strategy were very effective. The report outlines different scenarios and operating procedures that school decisionmakers can use to inform their approaches. #covid-19 #education

Broadband providers create new program to connect low-income students to internet

September 15, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

In the wake of inaction from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the broadband industry commits to support low-income students with their new K-12 Bridge to Broadband program. The program will identify households that have chosen to not subscribe to broadband, which is often for cost-related reasons. Then the broadband industry will offer a special rate to school districts and local entities to cover discounted broadband service for these households. #covid-19 #education

Dover New Hampshire schools to feed all Dover children this fall

September 1, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The Dover school district has announced that under the USDA’s Seamless Summer Option program (with a new waiver just extended through December 31), the district will provide all children age 18 and under free breakfast and lunch. Children need not be enrolled in Dover schools, nor sign up in advance, to receive five breakfast/lunch combinations each week. Meals will be distributed by bus in eight locations around the city and reimbursed by USDA. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #education

New Hampshire health officials release COVID-19 dashboard, guidance for schools

September 1, 2020 – Families

New Hampshire health officials have developed a new dashboard tracking COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire schools, including K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities. The dashboard was developed as a tool to help school officials monitor COVID-19 cases and make decisions about switching from inperson to remote learning. Guidance was also released to help school officials interpret the dashboard and the impact that levels of COVID-19 cases have on a school and on community transmission. #covid-19 #education

Cultural responsiveness and equity in remote learning

August 31, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The Regional Educational Laboratory Program (Mid-Atlantic) has published a new blog post on achieving educational equity in remote education. The lab suggests developing an actionable vision for equity, identifying specific culturally responsive practices for vulnerable students, and using data to track these efforts. For example, for students in poverty, who are more likely to have essential-worker parents, setting up a plan early on to provide more intentional and frequent contact with these students can help circumvent later struggles. The lab suggests although implementation can be difficult, these practices can be carried back into the classroom longer term. #covid-19 #education

Low income community networks provide informal learning support

August 28, 2020 – Families

The Vallejo Times Herald (California) describes some of the informal networking emerging among low income parents navigating remote learning without the private tutors and learning pods that higher-income families can afford. The article describes how nonprofit parent organizations and parent leaders teach other parents how to use technology, access household resources, translate school communications, and support each other’s mental health. Strategies like trading child care with neighbors are not new to low income families’ survival, but are newly imperative in the pandemic context. #covid-19 #education #mentalhealth

Increasing financial aid funding would be more effective than tuition discounts

August 24, 2020 – Older Youth, Families

Especially as many colleges and universities announce an online or otherwise disrupted college experience, some have pushed for tuition discounts. A Brookings expert argues that tuition discounts are not the right approach, as they would likely reduce the future availability of financial aid. Universities and colleges are spending considerably more to prepare to operate amidst the pandemic, which may prompt future cuts to financial aid and make college less accessible for low-income students. Universities, such as Syracuse University, that have increased tuition have allowed for increases to financial aid. #covid-19 #education

Year-round school schedule proposed to mitigate learning loss, maintain consistent student access to services

August 19, 2020 – Young Children, Families

Year-round school is not a new idea and many U.S. schools already use this model. However, in light of the pandemic and limited learning during spring 2020 school shutdowns, educators and officials are reconsidering year-round school. A year-round schedule would not only mitigate summer learning loss, but also keep students consistently connected to school meals and other crucial schoolprovided services. This schedule may also be more supportive for working parents, who otherwise are left piecing together expensive summer camps and child care. Shorter breaks spread out through the year also disperse the expense of child care for families. #covid-19 #education

How to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 among children in schools

August 18, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

In the wake of unsuccessful in-person K-12 school openings—including in Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Nebraska, and other states—experts reexamine strategies for lowering risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. Researchers published a list of 10 recommendations in The Conversation about how to reduce the risk for children, families, and staff at schools. These recommendations include checking everyone for symptoms at the start of each day, using quick-response testing when possible, requiring face masks, keeping desks at least six feet apart, ensuring students get their flu shot this fall, and providing sufficient emotional and behavioral supports for students during this stressful and challenging time. #covid-19 #education

Rural educators creatively respond to connectivity gaps, but need support

August 10, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

As recent research shows that rural school districts were less likely to provide remote learners with devices and mobile hotspots than urban districts in the pandemic (despite similar lack of access across places), a new Brookings piece explores solutions. The authors elevate strategies that were successful in some rural spaces, including mapping local places with internet access, purchasing cellular data for students, directing families to free or low cost internet providers, and setting out hotspots and outdoor work space on school grounds. For rural communities struggling with transportation, teachers checked in by phone or recorded video lessons and delivered via USB drive. While these strategies illustrate the creativity in addressing rural connectivity challenges, the authors also acknowledge that these efforts require serious support from their local, state, and federal leaders who can help fund and facilitate these and other solutions that are tailored to individual communities’ and families’ needs. #covid-19 #education #rural

Remote learning remains unequal looking forward

July 29, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Pew Stateline contributes to the discussion around inequities of virtual learning by highlighting the role that in-person learning plays in mitigating social class differences. While Stateline acknowledges gaps in access to technology like laptops or broadband connections, the article also suggests that higher-income parents have more resources for filling gaps in remote learning, while lower income parents have fewer options. As a result, learning losses will be uneven and concentrated among the least advantaged students. The report also notes, however, that a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that a small majority of parents still support delaying school openings for health reasons, even at the cost of missed academics and fewer opportunities for parental work. #covid-19 #education