Back
The District

Planning for Acceleration: A follow-up conversation with Jeffrey Tsang of TNTP

The Newsela Team
Jun 1, 2020

After our May webinar with The New Teacher Project (TNTP), many attendees followed up with questions prompted by the conversation. In this follow up post, Jeffrey Tsang of TNTP addresses attendees' questions around standards and instruction, hybrid schedules, and more.

On standards and instruction:

How can we accelerate when the previous year got cut short in regards to their reading and understanding their foundational skills?

TNTP:  First, we recommend not starting the year teaching all the skills and knowledge your students will have missed in the previous grade. Instead, we encourage teachers to start teaching students grade-level material and only to teach content missed in the previous grade if and when necessary for students to access the grade-level material. This will require working through a few steps: (1) prioritizing and narrowing the standards you will teach this year, (2) identifying the “prerequisite” standards required to access the standards prioritized for this year, (3) diagnosing students mastery of prerequisite standards to identify gaps, and (4) planning to teach students the prerequisites immediately before teaching the related grade-level skill.  Please see TNTP’s Learning Acceleration Guide for more details.

Is there a process you might recommend for examining coherence between standards?

TNTP:  The best and fastest way to understand coherence among standards is to use the Coherence Map published by Achieve the Core.

On hybrid schedules:

It seems likely that we will experience remote learning and split schooling next school year.  Can you differentiate between in-person activities and things that will be done remotely?

TNTP:  There are a variety of considerations that should drive decisions about which learning activities should be remote and which should be in-person. Depending on your specific context, these considerations might include: the grade level and subject matter, students’ ability to work independently, teachers’ remote and in-person instructional abilities, the needs of special student populations (e.g., ELL, special education), the availability of remotely accessible curricular materials, and the accessibility of technology to students and staff.

We are thinking about hybrid models; what are your thoughts about that? How are discussions seeing a hybrid model being successful?

TNTP:  The appropriateness of adopting a “hybrid” model (with elements of in-person and remote learning) will depend on your school and district context. Considerations driving some schools and districts toward hybrid models include: uncertainty about future health and safety requirements, the desire to be prepared for intermittent school closures, the need to serve vulnerable student populations and accommodate vulnerable staff, and a discovery of certain advantages of remote learning. 

What is the best way to plan for logistics for restarting school in August when we don't know the parameters that will exist?

TNTP:  We recommend that schools review the guidance from the CDC and their state and local agencies to understand the universe of likely scenarios and then develop plans that will allow staff, students and families to rapidly transition between scenarios while minimizing disruption in students’ learning and social-emotional well-being, families logistical challenges and staff’s workflow.

Will you be addressing partial school opening models (e.g. limited students on campus) as well as a full-opening model?

TNTP:  TNTP is working with schools and systems to help design both operational and instructional models that will address their specific contexts. Based on social distancing, transportation, food service, vulnerable populations and other COVID-19 related requirements, most of these models will include modifications to the on-campus presence of both students and staff. TNTP will support the implementation and continuous improvement of these models with an eye to ensuring equal access to high-quality instruction.

How can we alter schedules to accommodate social distancing recommendations, particularly when we can't have a full class of students in a classroom at a given time (particularly for elementary school)?

TNTP:  There are a variety of ways schools and systems are accommodating social distancing requirements. These typically include measures such as leveraging outdoor and flexible spaces, installing dividers in classrooms to separate cohorts of students, and combining remote and in-person learning for different groups of students on different days and/or at different times.

On teacher preparation:

How can we roll out the idea of acceleration rather than remediation to staff, and get them working on providing missed instruction within current grade-level content/standards?

TNTP:  Our recommendation is to involve staff in the planning process from the beginning to ensure that there is a shared understanding of both why learning should be accelerated and how to plan and deliver instruction for accelerated learning. We think the research in TNTP’s study, The Opportunity Myth, is a good place to start. At the same time, given the difficulty for teachers of shifting to new remote and hybrid learning models, schools and systems should minimize the lift for teachers by doing the prioritization of standards, identifying prerequisites from the previous year, establishing a common approach to diagnosing gaps and providing appropriate curricular resources.

Jeffrey Tsang is a Partner at TNTP, based in San Francisco. His work is dedicated to helping educators expand student access to opportunity through capacity building and innovation. Prior to TNTP, Jeff founded an education consulting firm that partnered with school districts to redesign, launch and scale innovative, personalized school models that put students in charge of their learning. In this work, Jeff managed complex, district-wide, school-redesign projects requiring coordination across central office departments and the principals and teachers of multiple schools.

The Latest from @Newsela

Although many of us might not have known George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others, we are still grieving the loss of their lives. This group of articles seeks to empower students by giving them tools to process their grief. https://t.co/xzRLtdFHjL https://t.co/VkO88FFFZ6
July 31, 2020, 1:30 PM
Kids everywhere love the Slip 'N Slide every summer. In fact, kids sparked the idea for the accidental invention during the hot summer of 1960. Use this article to help students explore the fun and wacky history of the Slip 'N Slide over the years 👉 https://t.co/63YxvE6JlI https://t.co/DkEpoGj1yw
July 30, 2020, 8:25 PM
With high school around the corner, middle schools tend to make math, science and English classes the priority — but what about learning to manage emotions and stress? That's why we created our Social-Emotional Learning Collection for Middle School 👉 https://t.co/bCNoyAnqA5 https://t.co/dCsM5XeoQV
July 30, 2020, 7:31 PM
School’s out for the summer but learning never stops. Summer is a great time for students to review core concepts. Find out how young learners can use Newsela to drive background knowledge 👉 https://t.co/9w5ALsj1Gr https://t.co/4WkR17yzAy
July 30, 2020, 4:33 PM
Making distance learning more equitable, bulk printing gives districts the flexibility they need to plan for distance learning and provide all students with accessible at-home resources, with or without access to technology at home. https://t.co/QK6uEeL6Hy
July 30, 2020, 3:31 PM
A car is pulled over. If the person is being singled out on the basis of race, it might be an example of profiling. Or it might be discrimination. Separating the two can be hard. Deepen students' understanding of racial profiling with this overview: https://t.co/UuJViWxvh5 https://t.co/shX6Vc1qxy
July 30, 2020, 2:32 PM
How does the stock market work? The topic can be intimidating, but mastering it is key to understanding how money and the global economy works. This article can help teach students about stocks and the real nature of investment. https://t.co/20ls2mNjXR https://t.co/SOStp42uIS
July 29, 2020, 6:45 PM
Tomorrow! Join us for an interactive #backtoschooling chat with NC District Administrators to learn how to empower teachers with content that can differentiate at scale, seamlessly transition from physical to remote learning, and reach every NC student. https://t.co/R3w6WA40qU https://t.co/eleLfw3THb
July 29, 2020, 5:11 PM
⚽️ Gooooaaaallllll: The Sports Reading Club! 📚 Students can continue to grow their love of reading from home. Newsela Reading Clubs let students read daily about a topic that interests and challenges them 👉 https://t.co/Wj8Tco7sTw https://t.co/xjxuCTaJu1
July 29, 2020, 3:45 PM
Newsela + @Peardeck are being responsive to COVID-19 challenges by resourcing educators with ready-to-go assignments. Subscribe to the Deck Decks for new ways to share updates with your students every week. https://t.co/WIJGZrA70c
July 29, 2020, 2:24 PM
During COVID-19, more people are volunteering to transcribe historical documents. Read the story of Meghana Venkataswamy, a volunteer who channeled her "inner Sherlock Holmes" to transcribe astronaut Sally Ride's letters and more fascinating records. https://t.co/M2RzywOtuA https://t.co/cWGa4vOmkl
July 29, 2020, 1:14 PM
Becoming a Newsela Certified Educator helps you review the basics and work towards designing meaningful classroom applications with Newsela. Learn more about getting certified this summer (and earn 5 hours of PD) 👉 https://t.co/9f2QMfAYeF https://t.co/FBW09N3oa0
July 28, 2020, 9:27 PM
What if your students could curate the art displayed in museums? Several museums across the U.S. are giving teens this very opportunity. This article explores the ways this is inspiring new perspectives for museum professionals and visitors 👉 https://t.co/7oX8R4TplH https://t.co/bxjl426Chk
July 28, 2020, 7:08 PM
ICYMI - We extended our @C3Teachers collaboration with the new C3 Inquiries: High School collection! It includes 4 new Inquiries designed specifically for high-schoolers with topics spanning Ancient Civilizations, U.S. History and Government 👉 https://t.co/65L9Idbzx7 https://t.co/Wcul0qGYPo
July 28, 2020, 5:40 PM
Meet Jason Ward, a self-taught birdwatcher who turned his passion into a full-time career. In this article, Jason answers common questions about birdwatching (or birding, as some refer to it) and shares the story of pursuing his dream job. Let's explore: https://t.co/VFZLEvI6uo https://t.co/9wyco2nYvU
July 28, 2020, 12:26 PM
Doctors use algorithms as tools to help guide the medical care they give. But according to a new study, many of these algorithms include racial bias. A recent report outlines 13 examples—this Newsela article explains three of them 👉 https://t.co/rXZhobiOAb https://t.co/NXNTrQPD6E
July 27, 2020, 8:40 PM
How many people are in the workforce? Should everyone without a job be counted as unemployed? Let's explore the 4 types of unemployment — and better understand how economists use this data to measure the health of an economy and navigate change. https://t.co/CWjwWkDLcc https://t.co/39fvD8PlzM
July 27, 2020, 6:16 PM
This is a time of change for many right now, and with that comes various emotions, questions, and an urge to take action. Students and their families can explore content and activities for social distancing in the Newsela SEL Collection 👉 https://t.co/aZHnhm1eLD https://t.co/bLp1ZCuGDs
July 27, 2020, 5:11 PM

The best lessons start with the best content.

Ready to bring great instructional content to your students?

Contact Sales