When planning for the summer, next school year, and the following school year, “meeting students where they are” will not be enough. A mindset of “acceleration, not remediation” is needed so that students are met with grade-level expectations while also addressing students’ social and emotional needs. Accelerated Learning strategically provides just-in-time supports that will prepare and allow students to access grade-level content.
- Meet the needs of all students, starting with those most vulnerable. Focusing on the most vulnerable students, including Students with Disabilities (SWD) and English learners (ELs), provides a strong foundation for instruction for all students and will help to address the opportunity and achievement gaps that have widened during the pandemic.
- Appendix B in Teaching and Learning in the 2020-2021 School Year: Instructional Materials and Instruction provides detailed content considerations for SWDs and ELs.
- Consider specific supports for students with disabilities. Information can be found here: Learning Guidance for Students with Disabilities
- Provide all students grade-level learning, regardless of their starting points. All students are capable of progressing to the next grade level this fall and mastering that content. Avoid over-remediation by focusing on below-grade-level work only when it is necessary for a student to complete grade-level work.
- Implement high-quality instructional materials to ensure all students have a coherent academic experience. High-quality instructional materials were invaluable this past spring, offering consistent and coherent support for teachers, students, and families/caregivers who all needed to work in concert in various settings and in various combinations. This will continue to be critical in the coming school year. Additionally, use the Nebraska Essential Instructional Content for 2020-2021 for ELA/Literacy and Mathematics to build streamlined scope and sequences grounded in local instructional materials (using publisher guidance where available).
Create a renewal and acceleration plan that ensures that every student has access to instruction and supports that address their diverse social-emotional and academic needs. Ground your plan in a set of values that puts student learning at the forefront, and considers (1) Grade-level content is the academic priority, (2) Address inequities head on, (3) Support and assume the best of all stakeholders, and (4) Communicate clearly.
- Gather input, feedback, and questions from school leaders, teachers, and families by conducting surveys and virtual town halls. Conduct focus groups with families in underserved populations to learn about their experiences and concerns.
- Ensure the plan is accessible to all stakeholders by making it available in multiple formats (both digital and on paper), translated into relevant languages, and distributed through diverse channels, including town halls, email, newsletters, social media, and text alerts.
- Include students whose families chose remote learning for their child.
- Review Teaching and Learning in the 2020-2021 School Year: Student, Family, and Community Engagement for additional resources and strategies.
Considerations for learning acceleration include:
- Equitable access to grade-level instruction and high-quality instructional in every content area.
- A focus on the most essential prerequisite skills and knowledge in order to adopt scope and sequence/pacing guidance
- Assessments that directly inform instruction and reveal individual students’ strengths and gaps in knowledge and skills.
- Social-emotional and culturally responsive instruction that emphasizes relationship building, cultivates high-trust classroom environments, and focuses on student identity and strengths.
- Clear expectations around instructional goals and grade-level proficiencies.
- Scaffolded supports and interventions that support the acceleration of learning.
Expand offerings of high-quality summer learning programs that last for at least five weeks, are for multiple age levels, and are mandatory for students in need of additional support to address unfinished learning to be able to engage at grade-level.
The School Renewal and Acceleration Professional Learning Series includes archived webinars, along with tools and resources that can be used with educators and school leaders to support renewal and acceleration planning.