September 29, 2022

How KIPP MA is Accelerating Unfinished Learning

(September 2022) Today, Spring 2022 MCAS data was released, and the data confirms what we knew to be true. Students across the state, including KIPP MA students, were profoundly impacted by the pandemic, and the work to address unfinished learning will be a multi-year process. 

Last school year, KIPP MA’s number one priority was to re-enter and recover together with our students, staff, and families, all the while re-imagining what learning means in the midst of still managing the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure student and staff safety above all else, we implemented health and safety protocols in all of our schools, in addition to focusing on our students’ academic and social emotional growth. 

Like many schools across the country, throughout last school year KIPP MA saw some of our lowest attendance data in our region’s history, for both teachers and students. This was mainly due to illness. This year, despite the national and local teacher shortages, 84% of our staff returned to our buildings  and are ready to accelerate unfinished learning. Our community is resilient. Our students, staff, families, and leadership are ready to build and grow this school year. This means that we are using our MCAS data to help create the roadmap to accelerating unfinished learning.  We know that our youngest learners were impacted the most, and we estimate it will take three years to recover their unfinished learning from the pandemic. We are here for it. Alternatively, our high schoolers performed similarly to their 2018-2019 results. While we celebrate their resilience, we recognize their recovery is not yet complete.  

So, at KIPP MA we are leveraging this data to be intentional and precise about accelerating unfinished learning. We know all students have growth areas. We know which grades, which subjects, and even which concepts to prioritize. We have the will and the skill to help them finish that learning- both academic and social emotional.

What does accelerating unfinished learning look like at KIPP MA? 

  • We ensure students have designated time to address unfinished learning and access to core grade level curriculum.
  • We leverage a re-structured school day to include targeted instruction blocks built into the daily schedule allowing teachers  to have more bandwidth to focus on small groups and one-on-one instruction. During these sessions, students are grouped together based on strategic academic levels. This allows teachers to hone in on prerequisite knowledge and skills that address unfinished learning while providing access to grade level content taught in classes. 
  • This happens every single day in kindergarten through fourth grade, and four days a week in fifth through eighth grade. All students are still receiving grade level content during their core academic blocks in our school days.
  • We also added a reading component to 3rd grade instruction which focuses on teaching foundational reading and writing skills. 
  • We continue to focus on the whole student, meaning not only their academic well-being, but their social-emotional well being, their physical health, and providing activities throughout the day that foster a life-long love of learning. We are doing this through social emotional curriculum and through Play and Project Based Learning.
  • Finally, we are also providing high dose, targeted tutoring after school for students. These tutoring services are led by a teacher who knows the student and the content and is thus positioned to accelerate unfinished learning. 

Our children are not defined by a single test. We know this. MCAS is one data point that shows where we are, but those scores are not who we are. And yet  we embrace our full responsibility to use this data to continue to build and grow the strengths, skills, and intellectualism of our students this school year, because we know that if we do this, our students are more likely to be on the path for a fulfilled life. 

To learn more about ways we are accelerating unfinished learning, while we continue to center our students’ humanity, follow KIPP MA’s blog or social media accounts. 

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