April 8, 2021
This message was shared for the 2020-21 school year.
This past school year brought many challenges as school communities persevered to provide for their students' learning needs while responding to the effects of the pandemic. As we work to create the conditions for safely returning students to in-person instruction for the balance of this school year, we know that school leaders are busy planning for the next year with a focus on accelerating student learning to mitigate learning gaps and emotional health concerns.
Last fall, PDE created the
Roadmap for Educational Leaders, a bank of research, tools, resources, and professional learning opportunities to assist schools in managing policy and procedures during the pandemic response. In preparation for the upcoming year, the Department, in partnership with the PA Intermediate Units and PaTTAN, is pleased to announce a new phase of the Roadmap,
Accelerated Learning through an Integrated System of Support.
This new series provides an equitable, systematic process and technical support for school communities to make important decisions for the start of the new year. Key aspects include an updated collection of lessons learned, research, critical resources, and simplified planning templates that incorporate probing questions to guide decision-making, along with a robust series of synchronous and asynchronous professional learning activities. The Accelerated Learning series is developed to allow school leaders to access this information in one of two ways: 1) follow a step-by-step process through targeted professional learning webinars over the next few months; or 2) select to access individual components of the process based on local needs.
Concepts addressed in Accelerated Learning includes:
- Identifying and planning for a reset of system conditions within school operations including health and safety, instructional models (in-person, virtual), and teaching and learning;
- Building a welcoming, safe, and supportive community for students and teachers, whether instruction is in-person or remote;
- Identifying where students are entering school academically;
- Aligning assessments, curriculum, and instruction to help each student progress; and
- Developing teachers to support all students, particularly those most vulnerable.
Included with this letter is a
Checklist of Sessions and an
Overview of all modules in the Accelerated Learning series. School leaders can register to attend the synchronous webinar series through the links provided, or access all sessions asynchronously once they are posted on the Roadmap webpage. Recognizing the importance of this planning, school leaders can attain up to 60 hours of Act 45 credit for attending and completing this series of professional learning sessions and applying their learning by developing and implementing their school plans. Further information on attaining Act 45 credit will be provided in the next week.
In addition to the scheduled webinars, collaborative check-in webinars will be offered throughout the spring to allow school leaders to join, ask questions, and share ideas with other school leaders. Then, over the course of this coming year, Intermediate Units will continue to provide support and technical assistance as schools implement ongoing and new accelerated learning opportunities to their students in a scaffold support approach.
We look forward to joining you in the webinars as we work together to accelerate the learning and emotional wellbeing of our students.
Matthew S. Stem, Deputy Secretary