This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.
John was having some trouble in class.
The seventh-grader had been diagnosed with ADHD and a language disorder that makes processing verbal and nonverbal cues a challenge. Despite extra support he received through his Individualized Education Plan for students with disabilities, John often felt overwhelmed by the chaos of his middle school classroom.
“He just gets distracted,” said his mother, Alex, who spoke on the condition that her last name be withheld to protect her son’s privacy. “That’s his biggest issue.”
And then, suddenly, John was no longer in class. Like millions of other American school children, he was pushed into remote learning from home when the coronavirus hit this spring.
But something surprising happened. John did better learning remotely than he had in person, the