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.


Drop in school meals raises concern about food insecure children, hurts school budgets

September 11, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Texas school districts note that they are distributing far fewer school meals during remote learning than they did before the pandemic. Houston Independent School District now serves around 30,000 meals per day, compared to their usual 250,000. Not only are fewer students receiving the meals they need, but school districts are also losing money that they would otherwise be reimbursed by the federal government for their school nutrition programs. At the beginning of September, the USDA approved extensions allowing the flexible summer meal programs to continue this fall. While this means districts can serve more children, under more flexible guidelines, many districts already had a fall plan in place that assumed the extension wouldn’t be granted. In addition, the approved extension is slated to end December 31, making meal service strategies unclear for the second half of the school year. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

New report estimates pandemic effects on child care costs by state

September 3, 2020 – Young Children, Families

A new report from the Center for American Progress estimates the “true cost” of providing child care in the pandemic and compares it to pre-pandemic levels in each state. The report finds that the cost of center-based child care has increased by an average of 47% in the pandemic, largely due to high staff costs and increased sanitization requirements. Staff costs have remained level despite fewer children enrolled because most centers now require dedicated staff in each classroom, along with new health checks and drop-off procedures that require more staff time. Increases in Maine are relatively low compared to the national average, at just 19%. #covid-19 #childcare

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 research finds that teacher responses vary by student race and ethnicity

September 1, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

A sociologist working at Google and UC Berkeley describes results from his new book (pre-dating the pandemic) on the racialized nature of the digital divide—in particular, how teachers interpret students’ pre-existing technological skills in the classroom. The author finds that teachers in predominately white schools encouraged student creativity, initiative, and leveraged student experience with social media, digital content creation, and video games to create educational capital. In minority-serving schools, teachers treated technologically skilled students as troublemakers, and focused on engaging students through noncreative activities, like typing, that would support their later employment in low-wage jobs. The author concludes that the digital divide cannot be solved by improving access to laptops and broadband alone but must also address how teachers’ beliefs about students’ race and class shape whether students’ technological skills are seen as valuable. #education #racialequity

Chicago Public Schools aim to support families with free child care

August 31, 2020 – Young Children, Families

The Chicago Sun Times reports that the Chicago Public School System is surveying families to identify specific family needs as they plan supervised dropoff sites for online learning. The city notes that it will prioritize care for younger children, children from low-income communities, and families in transitional housing situations, and will provide meals and internet access to participants. #covid-19 #childcare

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

Analysis of DC prekindergarten lottery finds equal outcomes

August 24, 2020 – Young Children

Public prekindergarten programs have been identified as a preeminent policy for reducing racial and income-based inequalities among young children. Urban Institute researchers analyzed access to the purportedly “universal” prekindergarten in Washington, DC. The 2008 Pre-K Enhancement and Expansion Amendment Act aimed to improve access, although currently just 71 percent of 3-year-olds and 87 percent of 4-year-olds are in public pre-k. Researchers examined the applicant and lottery process comparing community demographics. They found that the characteristics of children matched to pre-k programs were almost identical to the characteristics of all applicants, which is encouraging, but overall uptake may not be enough to advance equity. #education #racialequity

Research shows dads play unique role in early brain development of children

August 20, 2020 – Young Children, Families

A new Brookings article summarizes prominent research on the impact fathers have in early childhood development. While families without a father are just as able to foster healthy development, research suggests that an involved dad has unique benefits. For example, infants whose dads read to them later scored higher on language assessments as toddlers. A similar study found that toddlers whose dads read to them were more likely to have improved vocabulary and cognitive skills a year later. Active, positive involvement from fathers has also been found to support cognitive and executive function skills in young children. #education

Schools can opt into community eligibility provision and offset hardships for low-income families

August 19, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities draws attention to opportunities available to low-income school districts through the community eligibility provision. Districts that opt in by August 31 can provide free breakfast and lunch to all students—without having to process individual students’ applications—if at least 40 percent of students have been identified as eligible through SNAP or foster care. The provision is especially relevant now as the pandemic has increased SNAP caseloads. Further, because a new program flexibility allows districts to assess eligibility using data through June (when many families newly enrolled in SNAP), rather than April, as in usual years, these newly eligible families would be captured in community eligibility data. The provision not only expands access for in-person settings, but for students in districts doing some or all remote instruction, can also ease delivery of grab-and-go meals, and if extended, Pandemic EBT benefits. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

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

Skills adults can teach children to help them cope with COVID-19 anxiety

August 11, 2020 – Young Children

In the Conversation, a University of Southern California psychiatry professor explains how to support children through pandemic-related anxiety. The author suggests adults convey a healthy respect for the danger that COVID-19 poses, in the same way that crossing the street can be dangerous, but precautions can be taken to reduce risk. These precautions, such as wearing a mask and washing hands, can also be explained as a way to display respect for others. Children can learn more about how they are part of a society where their actions impact others. #covid-19