Research & Re-Opening
As schools reopen this month and those of us in New England finally get warm summer weather, we (LearnLaunch Institute) have been engaged in the process of continuous improvement, research, and what a colleague on a recent seminar called “glass-chewing hard work.” Since the onset of COVID and its historic disruption of our public schools, we have drawn upon national experts, proven resources, and just about anyone who would answer our phone calls to support school and district leaders tackling unprecedented problems of practice amid unimaginable complexity. Our efforts have been presented through a deceptively simple framework, our Building Blocks (™) Framework. Like our colleagues in schools across the Commonwealth, New England, and the country, our efforts were “best possible” last year. As we approach another year that looks complex and unpredictable, we have nevertheless challenged ourselves to tie our work to research and evidence and to push to have a deeper impact.
Our emergency framework primarily presented strategies to deliver high-quality remote and hybrid teaching and learning. Although developed for the moment, our ten Building Blocks nevertheless were based on well-established best practices in teaching and learning. We curated resources and input from well-respected organizations and professionals. Our work was widely embraced and regarded, and as a result, we were able to support thousands of educators who themselves were reaching over a million students. We consistently sought additional resources based on emerging best practices throughout the year and closely followed the literature and academic work studying the impacts of remote and hybrid learning. As it became clear that there were safe and innovative opportunities to reopen schools, we updated our Framework.
This spring, we undertook the more comprehensive and necessary work to make sure that our Framework is aligned with research studies while we established its applicability to in-person learning. We were delighted to discover that our work was supported by long-standing, well-regarded research studies with relatively few adjustments to the content. This document outlines the evidence base, which is now the standard that we will adhere to in our ongoing work providing professional development, technical assistance, and capacity building with school and district leaders.
Several essential takeaways from this journey:
- The academic & content team at LearnLaunch are hard-working, talented, and extraordinary;
- Best practices in remote and in-person learning have some tactical differences, but the underlying principles of high-quality teaching and learning are enduring; and
- Even at a time of emergency and disruption, resources exist to find best practices and research-based solutions.
We will continue to challenge ourselves to provide synthesized and simply presented evidence-based solutions to complex problems of practice for our education partners. While our work can be ‘glass-chewing’ hard, we know that theirs is exponentially more complicated. Our goal is to smooth their way toward high-quality, equitable learning for all students.