Always Ready For Learning, an initiative of The Learning Accelerator (TLA), is a collective action project that brings together national experts in education and health to help school leaders overcome the enormous challenges of teaching and learning in the midst of a global pandemic, while also looking to longer-term improvements to our education systems. In addition to releasing educator-driven guidance on remote learning and professional development strategies to support teachers during the shift to remote learning, TLA launched three interconnected Always Ready For Learning projects. The goal is to assist education leaders as they meet the immediate need to implement distance learning and adapt to the health and safety recommendations of global health professionals, but also to plan for longer-term redesign “with resilience in mind to ensure that schools and districts can serve every child with rigor and equity, now and into the future.” The three elements of the Always Ready For Learning initiative are outlined below.
TLA pulled together nearly a dozen of the nation’s top expert education consulting organizations in a large-scale, free coaching network to offer school districts rapid, customized, and sustained guidance on how to successfully shift to remote learning and prepare for instruction in the fall and beyond. This pro-bono, philanthropically-supported initiative works to ensure K-12 school district leaders get urgent and customized guidance to help wherever they are in the planning and implementation process. As of August 20, this coaching collective has helped
1,100 schools in 91 cities across 28 states, serving 680,000+ students. Schools or districts that are interested in receiving coaching can sign up for free with this form and many of the expert resources used in this program are free to access in this resource bank.
The Parabola Project is a partnership between Ariadne Labs (a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) and TLA. The project seeks to “offer education leaders tools and strategies to minimize health risks while maximizing learning when considering reopening schools.” Working closely with several school districts in Massachusetts, the Parabola Project is rapidly identifying, developing, and sharing evidence-informed strategies and tools for more safely reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Parabola Project has already begun aggregating valuable and actionable resources such as School Reopening Readiness Guide, How to Build a Mask Culture, How to Prepare and Care for Your Classroom: Checklists for Teachers, and Communicating About Reopening Measures with Families. These resources not only provide essential expert guidance, but also serve as tangible strategies for implementation in school-specific settings and are available for free public use.
The third project is a collaboration between TLA and Bellwether Education Partners, called the Always Ready for Learning Strategy Lab. This new networked learning community accelerates the development of school system strategies and field learning towards a more resilient and equitable education future.
The nine-month, pro bono cohort-based learning experience is supporting a small group of districts with return-to-school preparations as well as planning for long-term sustainable change in response to COVID-19. The cohort currently includes seven districts:
- Austin Independent School District, Austin, TX
- Cedar Rapids Community School District, Cedar Rapids, IA
- Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis, IN
- Mastery Charter Schools, Philadelphia, PA & Camden, NJ
- Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, Monterey, CA
- Phoenix Charter Academy, Chelsea, MA
- Renton School District, Renton, WA
In total, the cohort districts serve 163,421 students across the country in 299 schools. Districts receive targeted support and collaboration for prioritized needs for back-to-school to accelerate student progress in fall 2020, developing financially and operationally sustainable roadmaps for longer-term changes toward more equitable and resilient instructional models, and connecting with other district teams as well as existing experts and resources for implementation of new models and approaches at scale.
In addition, through their work with each district, TLA will be actively sharing what they learn with the field. Follow the Always Ready for Learning blog for real-time insights and resources from these three Always Ready for Learning projects. To join the conversation, follow TLA on Twitter at @LearningAccel and use the hashtag #AlwaysReadyForLearning.
For more, see:
- Preparing for a Healthy and Safe Return to School: Public School Facilities Planning in the Era of COVID-19
Some of this content was previously published on the Strategy Lab Website.
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