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

Visit our virtual ☕ Teachers Lounge to exchange teaching strategies with other educators and discuss the most pressing challenges you’re facing this fall. https://t.co/w8w5zWHZkj https://t.co/U1lPoQf7ct
September 29, 2020, 8:03 PM
In the ocean's depths, it might take more than a little light to illuminate some of the planet's darkest fish. A newfound mechanism called "ultrablack skin" can soak up almost all light that hits it, which makes these deep sea fish nearly invisible. https://t.co/bn2Elhrlq9 https://t.co/xe9OZfya4R
September 29, 2020, 3:29 PM
Should Supreme Court justices serve lifelong or limited terms? Some argue that life terms give too much power, others counter that they protect justices from political pressures. Students can consider their own perspective on the issue using this set: https://t.co/NsBk4PzoTF https://t.co/avuMlhUWt8
September 29, 2020, 1:45 AM
The very first woman to serve on the Supreme Court was appointed just 37 years ago, in 1981. Here is an overview of some of the remarkable women who have left their mark on our country's highest court, despite the many obstacles they faced. https://t.co/9pcPIJxVPb https://t.co/EgNHQHWbdP
September 28, 2020, 11:30 PM
Racist housing policies are creating some oppressively hot neighborhoods, with temperatures more than 10 degrees hotter than the cooler areas. This article explores how this stark difference resulted from 100 years of exclusionary city planning decisions. https://t.co/lhV9owbqfd https://t.co/LolIlC8N8i
September 28, 2020, 9:34 PM
The justices on the Supreme Court decide what the Constitution says is legal. They are kind of like the referees for the country.  Help students understand why it is important who gets to serve on the Supreme Court using this resource: https://t.co/xjqaJ6wF54 https://t.co/QdH0HGxwE3
September 28, 2020, 9:27 PM
Our Election 2020 Student Poll shows that race in America is the most important issue for students in the 2020 election. Find out how other issues, like COVID-19, stacked up: https://t.co/aUATJp1geh https://t.co/T5nQCCkC8A
September 28, 2020, 8:07 PM
Recently, a committee called to "remove, relocate or contextualize" the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. What are historians saying about the decision? Are those who study our founders and their monuments similarly outraged? Let's explore: https://t.co/hjPU2NfJQK https://t.co/zcb5aB7zzo
September 28, 2020, 7:04 PM
Ready to teach the election? Our free Election 2020 content includes tips for addressing complex election-related topics and guiding meaningful classroom discussions. https://t.co/KaimJO4TRD https://t.co/L3WFRXsw0f
September 28, 2020, 5:06 PM
Shadia and Imran Nakueira opened their ice cream business, Sikia Cafe, with one thing in mind: They wanted to work alongside people with disabilities. Read the inspiring story of how it's breaking the stigma and highlighting the skills of deaf people: https://t.co/xljVXN8xYZ https://t.co/7T6QQTLUBA
September 28, 2020, 3:04 PM
With no sign that concerts will return any time soon, the music business faces an unsteady future due to the pandemic. Read this Q&A with Louis York, a songwriting duo based in Nashville, on how music can be a "lifesaving tool" during times of distress. https://t.co/acBY5A6cmy https://t.co/ANaElyoBF9
September 28, 2020, 2:17 PM
The best lessons—at home or at school—start with the best content. This school year, access to high-quality instructional content can make all the difference. https://t.co/i7enF9qALO https://t.co/ciyRoueCOA
September 28, 2020, 1:11 PM
A strange chemical discovered in the clouds of Venus is defying explanation for scientists. Could it be a sign of life? Here's what researchers are saying: https://t.co/Bxi0agsNRO https://t.co/ogqiAj0pKE
September 27, 2020, 11:42 PM
For some bottlenose dolphins, finding a meal may be all about who you know. Recent studies highlight the importance of social networks, suggesting that dolphins rely on learning from their peers more than anything else. https://t.co/I8xviMgHBq https://t.co/T9x1rzR3j8
September 27, 2020, 8:05 PM
Why does "Avatar: The Last Airbender" still have such a strong appeal among millions? After all, it was released more than 15 years ago. This article uncovers five likely reasons for the show's loyal fanbase 👉 https://t.co/YoYnjrrDxQ https://t.co/i29JzxDVFY
September 27, 2020, 7:05 PM
As the 2020 presidential election nears, knowing where a candidate stands on key policy issues is paramount. This collection helps students familiarize themselves with policy issues like the environment, pandemics, race, education, and more. https://t.co/kzskB5UhWO https://t.co/8lmsacOjI2
September 27, 2020, 5:09 PM
Newsela student polls are now open! Engage future voters at all grade levels with a mock election to gauge their opinion on the most-discussed election issues. https://t.co/kb5CeNbf8O https://t.co/sbQcdopHQC
September 27, 2020, 2:28 PM
Join us for a teacher event about solving tricky distance learning challenges. You'll hear from other teachers and education experts as they share solutions backed by cutting-edge research. RSVP: https://t.co/hAQXYMnNMQ https://t.co/GMfZzRPS1P
September 27, 2020, 1:20 PM
Finding a healthy balance of screen time can be challenging in this season of distance learning. Yet right now, screens are the only safe way for many young people to learn or socialize. How should kids and teens navigate this dilemma? Let's explore: https://t.co/pyIyT3E94R https://t.co/oP1I8wWkoj
September 26, 2020, 11:39 PM

The best lessons start with the best content.

Ready to bring great instructional content to your students?

Contact Sales