Schools Want to ‘Accelerate’ Student Learning. Here’s What That Means

| Education Week | Sarah Schwartz

While the work of learning acceleration happens in the classroom, it also requires changes to district plans and priorities, said Jamila Newman, a partner at TNTP. The organization, which consults with districts on teacher training, instructional strategy, and other education issues, has put out acceleration guidance and works with states—including Massachusetts—to implement the strategy.

School and district leaders need to make time for teachers and interventionists to collaborate, to make sure that the focus of instruction is aligned for students no matter where they are in the building, she said. And someone—a mentor teacher, a coach, a peer—should be observing and working with teachers, too. Not as a punitive measure, but as a tool to give feedback and refine practice, a way of “widening the teacher’s peripheral vision,” Newman said.

Finally, principals and district leaders should be monitoring the process. Teacher feedback and student data can help leaders understand what strategies are working for learning acceleration and how to scale them districtwide, Newman said.

In Saugus, academic coaching is new this year. So, too, is this more formalized system of data-driven instruction. During professional development this past summer, teams of school and teacher leaders worked with district staff to create interim assessments aligned to grade-level standards that teachers would give every six weeks. (At this point in the year, coaches have shifted to analyze weekly data.)

Read more in Education Week.

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

About TNTP

TNTP is the nation’s leading research, policy, and consulting organization dedicated to transforming America’s public education system, so that every generation thrives.

Today, we work side-by-side with educators, system leaders, and communities across 39 states and over 6,000 districts nationwide to reach ambitious goals for student success.

Yet the possibilities we imagine push far beyond the walls of school and the education field alone. We are catalyzing a movement across sectors to create multiple pathways for young people to achieve academic, economic, and social mobility.

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