BLOG POST BY PTAC MEMBER REBECCA GIBBONEY AND PTAC BOARD MEMBER ALLISON MACKLEY
The pandemic certainly changed the way we talk about student achievement, mental health, and equity in our school communities.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), PA Intermediate Units (IU), and the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) released their third phase of support for meeting the needs of students and educators across the Commonwealth. While other phases like “The Cycle of Continuous LEA & School Improvement” and “A Roadmap for Equitable School Systems” were released earlier this year by PDE, this phase, “Accelerated Learning Through an Integrated System of Support”, focuses on a “systematic process and technical support for school communities to make key decisions to start next year” (Accelerated Learning, 2021). As part of their support outlined in the Accelerated Learning Toolkit, PDE suggests why each of these systems is important, the actions to take, and what tools to use, plus provides professional learning modules that help the educational communities be intentional and strategic in their plans for starting the 2021-2022 school year.
Even though this phase is targeted towards educational administrators, teacher leaders need to have an awareness of their impact on students in the classroom and the importance their role plays in accelerated learning. The four components of the Accelerated Learning framework are identified below with our suggestions for teachers.
Focus on High-Quality Academics
Foster Supportive Learning Environments
Establish Healthy System Conditions
Design a System of Scaffolded Supports
At the root of Accelerated Learning are honest reflection, intentional conversation, and meaningful action. Teachers are the conduit to launch a system into action. With teachers at the lead, students have the potential to thrive and administrators will see the success of the systems in action. In order to shape and sustain a successful system, it is essential to implement the plan with fidelity. Educational community commitment starts with educating all parties on educational terminology (i.e. equity, trauma, systems of support, whole child, etc.) and valuing the voice of all. You do not need an invitation to contribute your professional advice. Your voice could shape the system.
Accelerated Learning. (2021). Pennsylvania Department of Education. Retrieved June 12, 2021, from https://www.education.pa.gov/
Pennsylvania Teachers Advisory Committee