Today, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released this past spring’s MCAS results. The 2023 MCAS results confirm that unfinished learning from the pandemic years persists, and it continues to have a significant impact on scholars’ academic performance, across the state and here at Alma. We continue to understand that the impacts of disrupted learning have been profound, and recovery will require deep work over multiple years.
Our MCAS data reflects what we saw last school year on our internal internal assessments, which allowed us to identify gaps and areas of need and address them more immediately. While we hoped for stronger evidence of recovery schoolwide, we are encouraged by growth seen in particular subject areas and grade levels as a reminder that our results are leading to academic progress for many scholars in our schools.
This year, we have already begun to implement several practices designed to accelerate mastery of grade-level standards and remediate unfinished learning from years past. Specifically, Alma is implementing the following practices:
- Teacher coaching: Organization-wide implementation of a new teacher coaching program designed to help teachers master instructional skills rapidly; frequent curricular professional development for all teachers, which is individualized based on grade level and subject area; providing targeted coaching and additional support from Network Curriculum Directors for grades with the most unfinished learning
- Math learning: Piloting a new math curriculum to support grade-level mastery and recovery of learning from previous grades;
- ELA learning: Extending phonics and literacy instruction in elementary grades to support rapid growth in reading and writing
- Additional staffing: Adding the Director of Network Scholar Support position to oversee the Special Education and Multilingual Learner programs, ensuring that our highest needs scholars are receiving targeted and adequate academic support; adding new positions to serve our highest need grades
We have big dreams for our scholars this year. At the end of last school year, we saw under half of our scholars meeting the academic goals we set. By the end of this school year, we want to reach 65% of scholars network-wide meeting our academic goals; by the end of next school year, we want to reach 80%. Academic success is at the core of our mission to put scholars on the path to college, and we are fully committed to working through the struggle to make significant progress.