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Advancing equity through academic rigor

Education Forward DC
Education Forward DC

Students at Two Rivers Public Charter School now have an English Language Arts curriculum that offers a wide range of diverse perspectives, challenging assignments, and differentiated instruction after working with TNTP to make data-driven instructional decisions.

“The question we asked was, how do we, as an organization, really get a hold of both the expectations and the level of rigor, and bring consistency to our two elementary schools and among our teachers at our middle school?” said Belicia Reaves, Executive Director at Two Rivers Public Charter School.

The opportunity for enhancement arose as teachers and administrators underwent a thorough evaluation of assignments, student work, and instructional trends, making comparisons across grade-level classrooms. Because teachers were able to design their own lessons or select a curriculum of choice, some inconsistencies were present in the levels of rigor in classroom assignments, specifically in English Language Arts.

Two Rivers also incorporated data from an in-depth survey and site assessments administered by TNTP—with support from Ed Forward DC—to inform its school-wide task force. After researching several potential options, Two Rivers chose the EL Education K-8 Language Arts curriculum. EL, or expeditionary learning, emphasizes authentic, multidisciplinary, and experiential learning and integrates rigorous academic content with real-world experiences. Because Two Rivers focuses on Expeditionary Learning as its instructional model, the task force determined that the EL Education curriculum would present the best match for its approach to teaching and learning.

“It became a matter of deciding, how do we find the best curriculum that is going to elevate value and teach the skills that we want our students to have,” – Belicia Reaves, Executive Director, Two Rivers Public Charter School

Every student possesses the ability to excel. Schools working with TNTP as part of Ed Forward DC’s investment are seeking to increase educational equity by ensuring that they are providing every student, regardless of race, with an education that holds rigor and high expectations for them.

“Last year, Ed Forward DC made an investment in academic and talent strategy work in DC,” said Marni Bromberg, Director, TNTP. “We started with a diagnostic. The diagnostic process that we went through is backed by research, and essentially unearths whether students have access to four resources that have been really impactful in terms of learning outcomes: grade appropriate assignments, strong instruction, high expectations from their teachers, and engaging experiences.”

Next, TNTP worked with schools to determine the challenges that might lie underneath the data. For Two Rivers, having access to concrete data allows them to make thoughtful instructional decisions that can enhance student learning outcomes for years to come.

“It became a matter of deciding, how do we find the best curriculum that is going to elevate value and teach the skills that we want our students to have,” said Belicia.

Education Forward DC
Education Forward DC

Every DC student deserves to thrive.