Press Release

America’s Promise Releases FAQ to Assist with Graduation, High School Decisions During COVID-19

GradNation experts provide research-based guidance on managing the high school experience in the midst of school closures

WASHINGTON – America’s Promise Alliance’s GradNation campaign today released guidance to help policymakers, educators, and community leaders make decisions about high school students whose educations have been upended by COVID-19.  
“District and school leaders, teachers, counselors, out-of-school time providers, and young people are doing heroic work to adapt to the current crisis,” said Dennis Vega, interim CEO & President of America’s Promise Alliance. “To help state and local decisionmakers during and after COVID-19, we are releasing guidance on urgent issues around school closures and the high school experience. We hope these considerations will assist leaders in making informed and evidence-based decisions that help high school students thrive in spite of the uncertain time.”
In partnership with America's Promise Alliance, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, National College Attainment Network, Civic, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and Data Quality Campaign.

The COVID-19 crisis has raised many challenges for state, district, and school leaders as they consider graduation, postsecondary transitions, instruction, and other educational equity issues during this time. Through this FAQ resource, GradNation aims to support these leaders with recommendations on how to handle their top questions about managing the high school experience during this crisis, including: 

  1. What should districts consider in determining which young people can graduate with the class of 2020?
  2. How can schools and districts help their graduating seniors make a successful transition to post-secondary schooling or training?
  3. What should districts and schools consider in planning for the start of the next school year? 
  4. How are high school-aged young people socially and emotionally impacted by extended school closures?

“Through this resource, the GradNation campaign is encouraging all of us to support the whole young person and put all their needs front and center including academic readiness, social and emotional development, and pathways to postsecondary education and work,” said Monika Kincheloe, Senior Director, GradNation Campaign. “Let’s take this time as an opportunity to act on pervasive inequities and learn from leaders across the country taking innovative approaches.” 
As part of its efforts to share expertise during the crisis, GradNation will host virtual office hours for state and district education leaders looking for research-based guidance from national experts. If such leaders are interested in one-on-one consultations that consider their student populations’ unique context and needs with experts from GradNation, including Bob Balfanz, the director of the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, they may click here to reserve a time

GradNation is a national campaign that aims to put millions more young people on the path to adult success. It was convened by America’s Promise Alliance, Civic, the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, and the Alliance for Excellent Education. GradNation brings national attention to the high school graduation rate challenge and what is needed to continue to meet the goal by guiding the field toward action through the GradNation Action Platform and leveraging research and data to identify youth and places to accelerate progress. If this resource prompts any questions from state and local leaders about decisions affecting high school-aged young people given COVID-19, interested individuals should reach out to [email protected]


America’s Promise Alliance is the driving force behind a nationwide movement to improve the lives and futures of America’s youth. Its work is anchored in the belief that every young person deserves to succeed, and every adult is responsible for making that happen. By bringing together hundreds of national nonprofits, businesses, community and civic leaders, educators, citizens, and young people, the Alliance does what no single organization can do on its own: catalyze action on a scale that reaches millions of young people.