Recovery and Acceleration
Recovery refers to helping students close any learning gaps that may have occurred in the past year. Acceleration means supplementing students’ learning to quickly bring them to grade level standard while continuing students’ learning with the current curriculum and grade-level standards. Teachers may need to provide instruction at and in different modalities to meet students’ needs. This approach is used in most classrooms as part of effective teaching, but returning from a year of distance learning will have likely resulted in wider gaps of student understanding and skills that must be addressed.
In this pandemic we must acknowledge the negative impacts for specific student demographic groups, including those who are furthest from educational justice, those who identify as Native, Pacific Islander, Black, Latinx, students who are receiving additional services based on income, language proficiency, disabilities and students experiencing homelessness. To meet this need, we have repeatedly reached out to our student and family communities, and reviewed student achievement, attendance, and engagement data as a means of collecting feedback from our stakeholders. We will continue this in examining the success of our efforts moving forward, notably around any racial inequities that might increase the opportunity gap.
Our approach to acceleration and recovering learning keeps all students learning at their grade level and beyond rather than through tracking or remediation, building on what they already know, and identifying and filling gaps to help them complete grade-level coursework. This means a dedication to ensuring access to and support of grade-level content and curriculum for all students.
To accomplish this, we will need to augment what we currently have in place. Our approach will be focused on universal, accessible learning for all students supported by targeted efforts where we have immediate data about student needs. The district will leverage multi-tiered systems of support efforts and continue to bring cohesions to this work across academics, social emotional learning and well-being, professional learning and instructional practices. This will inform both instructional strategies and support for small and flexible groups, one to one learning and whole group inclusive, instruction during the school day, and for additional learning outside of the school day as well. All strategies for recovery and acceleration will leverage real-time data about student progress and well-being and align to the different types of supports so all students can access grade-level content. We hope that our students and families will know what their progress is and develop the confidence to pursue additional opportunities that are aligned to areas of need.
Specifically, we will continue with using additional time before and after school for academic, and activities-based learning or enrichment. Our efforts to deepen relationships will require a reimagination of our current practices and more intentional work to ensure each child has at least one adult who is tracking their progress and well-being holistically.
We plan to build in additional opportunities both within the school day and before and after school that allows for students to recover and accelerate learning and have access to high-quality enrichment both synchronously and asynchronously. As we prepare for the summer, we plan to offer additional summer and transition programming as described earlier that will be accessible to all students. Additional efforts to partner with community-based organizations and online tutoring organizations are slated for next school year.
Summer programs will build students’ academic skills to fill gap areas, as well as provide opportunities for acquainting students with how to be successful in school and address social and emotional needs. This summer, programs will include both in-person and distance learning elements, depending on the program. Elementary school summer programs are generally for students who need extra support in grade-level content and are recommended by staff. Middle and high school students can earn or make up required academic credits or enroll in Elite Fitness through summer school. Some students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are eligible to receive extended-year services this summer as well, and many will continue to participate in Unified Sports and Special Olympics.
Elementary teachers currently use a standards-based progress report system. At the secondary level an equitable grading committee will make recommendations on developing equitable grading practices, including an emphasis on the mastery of standards. As this work proceeds it will mean teachers will reconsider instructional moves in the classroom, teaching and reteaching specific standards as needed, promoting flexible grouping of learners around clusters of standards at the classroom level. This effort directly supports recovery and acceleration and will continue throughout the school year.
As we continue to support the transition of our students, our teachers will need real-time access to data that reflects what standards, or clusters of standards, a student knows or needs additional instructional support to learn. Partnership between teachers across grade levels and content areas can help support learning holistically for all students, and we plan to support more time for collaboration and problem solving for student success.
Recovery and acceleration are bolstered by ensuring access to extracurricular and enrichment activities and athletics that are responsive to student needs and interests as they return from the isolation of the pandemic. This means ensuring free, inclusive, and accessible participation for all students, including transportation after school.
Ultimately, the benefit of our efforts will be a return to learning for all students, enabling them to continue their lives with rich opportunities and choices that excite and foster a love of learning. This may also have unintended consequences such as additional costs for tutorials, or schedule changes to accommodate daily intervention and support, all of which will require continued monitoring and evaluation to mitigate any concerns. Additionally, we will continue to reach out for stakeholder feedback and examine achievement data as we ensure continuing educational equity for all students, families, and staff.