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Best Practices to Accelerate Student Learning Series

Best Practices to Accelerate Student Learning Series

January 26, 2024

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is pleased to release the Best Practices to Accelerate Student Learning Series, a set of resources documenting pandemic-era charter school innovations to be leveraged across the charter sector and beyond. Through the Charter Schools Program (CSP) National Dissemination program, the National Alliance has been able to explore pandemic-era practices and develop a lasting set of resources and supports informed by an in-depth study of how innovative charter schools thrived through and beyond the pandemic. These resources include six case studies, two toolkits, one policy brief, and various user-friendly exemplars. These resources will be highlighted throughout the year at various conferences and convenings across the country.

Policy Brief

Helping the School Community Recover From the Pandemic: Supporting Staff, Mental Health, and Families to Accelerate Student Learning

In this report, we discuss (1) the challenges that schools have faced in each of the four areas; (2) how each of these areas is related to student learning; (3) how the schools we visited leveraged charter autonomy, flexibility, and adaptability to adopt strategies to address these problems; and (4) how schools are measuring what is working.

Case Studies

Prioritizing Instructional Time to Support Teacher Retention and Student Learning

In the aftermath of the pandemic, schools across the nation are grappling with teacher and staff shortages. This case study delves into the strategy of protecting instructional time and asks the question: How might we prioritize instructional time to support teacher retention and student learning?

Supporting Student Mental Health and Well-Being During the School Day

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “70% of public schools reported an increase in the percentage of their students seeking mental health services at school since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” and 76% of schools reported increased staff concerns about students “exhibiting symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and trauma.” This case study examines the question: How might we better support student mental health and well-being?

Formal Programs to Help Families in Poverty Navigate Crises

Poverty and the instability it creates, compounded by the challenges of everyday life, manifest in inherent barriers to education. This case study examines the question: How might we better support students and families in poverty as they navigate crises?

Strategies to Support English Learner Students

Like traditional public schools, where 12% of students are English learners, approximately 14% of public charter school students are English learners. In this case study, we ask the question: How might we better support English learners?

Partnering With Families to Support Students With Disabilities

During pandemic school closures, districts had difficulty providing appropriate accommodations and services to students with disabilities. Due to the challenges that students with disabilities and their families faced during the pandemic, as well as the challenges that public charter schools have historically faced in accessing funding and serving students with disabilities, this case study focuses on the question: How can charter schools better serve students with disabilities?

Rethinking Charter School Accountability Frameworks

Charter authorizers provide an important function in ensuring that public charter schools are serving students well. Although some performance indicators may be state-required, authorizers have flexibility to develop measures beyond those used for federal accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Given the interest and need for using additional indicators of school quality, in this case study, we will explore the question: How might we better use meaningful student data for school-based accountability?

Toolkits

Prioritizing Instructional Time Toolkit

The Prioritizing Instructional Time Toolkit provides school leaders with tools to gain insights from teachers to reflect and assess how teachers’ time is spent during the school week, as well as discuss potential strategies to maximize planning and teaching time.

Selecting Meaningful Measures Accountability Toolkit

This toolkit will provide resources to help schools and authorizers review what is already being collected so that they can identify potential gaps, then fill those gaps with meaningful measures.

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