LOUISIANA LAUNCHES TUTORING INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS UNFINISHED LEARNING, IMPROVE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

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BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is taking an active role to support school systems as they meet the academic needs of students. Accelerate is a new initiative to provide high-quality tutoring lessons in ELA and math to school systems across the state. School systems can offer this additional support to students virtually, in-person, during school or outside of the school day. The LDOE is allocating $1 million in seed money to begin the initiative.

The LDOE believes all students, including students with disabilities, English learners, and students who persistently struggle, can achieve grade-level standards. Accelerate is focused on identifying, celebrating and building upon the assets students bring to the learning experience.

To effectively address and prevent unfinished learning, students must be provided with extra time to learn through equal-access tutoring. Accelerate is designed to support school systems implementing tutoring to achieve significant results for all students.

“Unfinished learning is nothing new to educators, but the pandemic has exacerbated the need to provide our children with extra help,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “Accelerate provides equal-access to effective tutoring that builds on the high-quality instruction taking place in our classrooms.”

This program is designed to provide systems with the structures and teachers with resources that will accelerate students’ learning in connection with what’s taught during the normal school day. Participating school systems will have access to tutoring lessons aligned to high-quality curriculum. School systems can then offer these supplemental lessons to students who need additional support. A special Accelerate web page will house guidance documents, presentations and webinar recordings.

Teacher Leader Advisors from across the state are developing these tutoring lessons for ELA and math. The lessons will eventually expand to serve grades Pre-K-12. The first set of lessons are for students in grades K-8 and will be released this spring. The spring initiative includes 24 lessons designed to be delivered using best practices in tutoring.

Systems may use general funds, federal funds or CARES dollars to support the endeavor. In December 2020, the Louisiana legislature allocated $8 million to the LDOE for distance learning devices. The Department purchased over 23,000 Chromebooks for school systems across the state. Those devices can help support the implementation of the Accelerate initiative for participating systems.

In education terms, an acceleration approach addresses unfinished learning in an equitable way. Acceleration means connecting unfinished learning in the context of new learning, integrating new information and the needed prior knowledge. Accelerate resources provide teachers with guidance to offer just-in-time core support to struggling students in ELA and math in grades Pre-K-12.