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Thought Leadership

Visionary Voices: Innovative solutions to combat learning loss

About The Visionary Voices Series

Following a disruptive time in the U.S. education system, our school staff and our students need more support than ever. Learning loss. Mental health challenges. Staff shortages. Join Presence, an innovator in special education-related and mental health service delivery, as we interview visionary leaders on how we must collectively address the challenges facing our schools.

This video series will convene veteran education leaders and experts to explore promising new instructional approaches and reimagine a future where every child can thrive. Listen to thought-provoking conversations and discover actionable insights that will empower us to build new, inclusive education systems that put the whole child at the forefront.

The challenges: education, interrupted

Despite an increasing need for special education services, 65 percent of schools across the nation reported difficulty hiring special educators as of 2023. Inequitable access to clinicians, lack of funding, and staffing shortages come with heavy consequences for students, too. Going without necessary educational interventions subjects children to learning loss–one of the most developmentally devastating effects of school shutdowns during COVID-19. Now, schools are tasked with exploring new approaches that efficiently address service gaps and increased student learning needs.

Technology as a solution

“I think the call to action is simple. If K-12 education is not only to survive but thrive, we have to pursue new and innovative ways of providing services.”

Dr. Barbara Jenkins
Former superintendent of Orange County Schools, Florida

Unprecedented times call for inventive solutions. Hear Dr. Barbara Jenkins, former superintendent of Orange County Schools, Florida, deconstruct the day-to-day hurdles that school leaders and special educators face, plus actionable insights on serving diverse student needs with technology.

Get key industry outlooks on:

  • Building a strong pipeline of education leaders
  • Expanding on-site service bandwidth with teletherapy
  • Artificial intelligence and education

Three beacons of hope

Despite new obstacles entering the education space, Dr. Jenkins cites commitment, innovation, and resilience as key reasons for hope in our students’ futures. Explore the insight behind this optimistic outlook and learn how today’s challenges can be used to inspire practical, equitable special education strategies.

Dr. Barbara Jenkins

Introducing Today's Voice

Dr. Barbara Jenkins

Former superintendent of Orange County Schools, Florida

Dr. Barbara Jenkins has been dedicated to serving the needs of students for over 30 years. In 2012, she was named superintendent for Orange County Public Schools, the eighth largest district in the nation, and received both a presidential appointment to the National Board of Education Sciences and The Baldrige Foundation’s Award for Leadership Excellence during her tenure. Dr. Jenkins is currently a chief in residence and leads the Chiefs for Change Women in Leadership initiative, a national bipartisan group of district and state education leaders dedicated to the success of our nation’s youth.

Sources

  1. Students with disabilities were among those most severely affected by COVID-19’s disruption of schools and communities.
    Source: Blad, Evie. “Special Education During the Pandemic, in Charts.” Education Week. 17 October 2022. https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/special-education-during-the-pandemic-in-charts/2022/10
  2. In 2023, only 29% of teens reported feeling satisfied with their mental health.
    Source: “Teens and Their Schooling Perspectives.” Morning Consult and EdChoice Spring 2023. https://edchoice.morningconsultintelligence.com/assets/221187.pdf
  3. 65% of public schools in the United States reported being understaffed in special education.
    Source: “Special Educator Shortage: Examining Teacher Burnout and Mental Health.” Institute of Education Sciences. 22 May 2023. https://ies.ed.gov/blogs/research/post/special-educator-shortage-examining-teacher-burnout-and-mental-health
  4. The number of children with IEPs has doubled in the last 45 years. That’s representing over 7 million students, which is about 15% of the K-12 student population.
    Source: Pendharkar, Eesha. “The Number of Students in Special Education Has Doubled in the Past 45 Years.” Education Week. 31 July 2023. https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/the-number-of-students-in-special-education-has-doubled-in-the-past-45-years/2023/07
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