PBN: The partnership created between The Learning Community and Central Falls public schools has really raised the profile of your nonprofit school. How does this partnership work?
ALVES: The partnership has four main components and I think part of the reason why it works so well is that it is comprehensive. It’s not just one major slice of work we are doing but four pieces. We have grade-specific professional development, not just whole-school workshops that other professional-development organizations might put out. Our trainings are grade-level specific. So all the first-grade teachers go to a first-grade teacher workshop that is very targeted and actually ends up being more effective.
The second part is we also go deeper than those workshops. We do coaching, so we are helping teachers in Central Falls implement the things we’re training in the workshops. We go into the classrooms and the teacher gets to choose whether they want the consulting teacher to run a lesson for the students, or simply watch as they give the lesson.
The third part is we’ve implemented quarterly assessments in Central Falls. … We are making sure we have data that’s going to give us information about what should be the next steps in our initiative.
The fourth part is the safety net. It’s a way to capture the students who are falling further below and get them up to speed.
PBN: What methods do you use to provide that safety net?