Welcome to Episode One of Re-engaging & Re-connecting With Students:
A conversation with researchers and administrators on successes in the face of adversity.

This web series, co-presented by CERES Institute and Graduation Alliance, will share the perspective of different educational professionals who have focused intently on re-engaging and re-connecting youth to educational opportunities through their roles at the local, state, and national levels. Each episode will be both a reflection on the events of the past year, as well as offer thoughts and opinions about where we go from here with respect to student re-connection and re-engagement.

In this episode we will hear from several practitioners about strategies they used to manage through  the COVID-19 pandemic while supporting their constituencies – students, families and school districts. Details about our distinguished panel can be found below.


In the 2020-21 school year, Graduation Alliance, partnered with several state education agencies, collecting data about student-identified barriers to pandemic learning, including questions about academic performance, academic resources, and social emotional factors during school closures from approximately 40,000 students and their families. Findings from this effort are included in the new whitepaper: Self-Identified Student Barriers – How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Created a Superclass of At-Risk Students and What We Can Do About It.

The whitepaper provides a glimpse into the types of barriers students have and continue face. We believe this paper will be useful to educators grappling with the challenges of education moving into the 2021-22 school year. In addition to the full white paper above, a Three-Page Executive Summary is also available.

View Episode One right here by simply clicking the play button, and be sure to check back EVERY WEDNESDAY for new episodes!

Our Panel and Hosts (in alphabetical order)

Emmanuel (Manny) Allen
Director – Re-Engagement Center at Boston Public Schools
Marissa Cole – Host
Managing Director – CERES Institute for Children & Youth at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development
Andrew Moore
Director – Youth & Young Adult Connections, Institute for Youth, Education, & Families at National League of Cities
Dr. Ivy Pfeffer
Deputy Commissioner – Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Antonia Rangel-Caril
Senior Program Specialist – National League of Cities
Rebekah Richards
Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer – Graduation Alliance
Katarina Sandoval
Deputy Secretary of Academic Engagement and Student Success – New Mexico Public Education Department
Dr. Jonathan Zaff – Host
Founder and Executive Director –  CERES Institute for Children & Youth