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Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools and Partners Release Back to School Success Coaching Playbook to Equip Schools for a Public Health Approach Amid COVID-19

·6 mins read

School community demonstrates how reopening plans must go beyond safety measures to meet the needs of students, sharing best practices alongside Turnaround for Children, EL Education, City Year, Forum for Youth Investment, Transcend, and Dezudio

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools (LAB) announced the launch of its "Success Coaching Playbook" to help schools nationwide consider how they can train staff to help every student navigate different learning environments and succeed in a COVID-19 world.

Image: El Education, City Year, and Turnaround for Children
Image: El Education, City Year, and Turnaround for Children

Given the financial and health challenges created by COVID-19, as well as ongoing racial trauma, students will need support in a variety of learning contexts, including remote, in-person, and hybrid options. Brooklyn LAB is training a range of adults—including teachers, support staff, administrators, and teaching fellows—to be the primary support people for designated sets of students, working with each student individually to make sure they are set up for success.

"In training the coaches, we wanted to ensure they can tailor their support for students from different contexts and cultures, using a strength-based approach and working with students and families to remove any barriers to learning," said Bennison Ntsakey, Director of Academics at Brooklyn LAB.

"We're thinking through how success coaches can help students and families grapple with loss of learning, social and emotional impacts, nutritional insecurity, loss of parental income, and lack of access to essential services," added Greg Rodriguez, High School Director at Brooklyn LAB.

LAB sought insight for the playbook from several organizations—including City Year, EL Education, The Forum for Youth Investment, The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University, Transcend, Turnaround for Children, and Dezudio —and is sharing it widely in the hope that other schools can apply the success coach model.

"All students will be experiencing heightened stress returning to school this fall, and success coaches can provide the extra support they will need," said Turnaround for Children's Founder and Senior Science Advisor Pam Cantor. "Today, the stress and trauma that children are witnessing and feeling is all around us—on our city streets, in our homes, on TV and social media 24/7," she said. "The COVID-19 pandemic is happening to all of us, but it has hit vulnerable communities the hardest with much higher rates of serious illness and death."

The Success Coaching Playbook provides critical insights for schools to build and use a network of success coaches to help students navigate multiple complex life and learning transitions, including how to:

  • Support students from different contexts and cultures

  • Employ strength-based approaches

  • Work with students and families to understand and build on shared values and assets

  • Encourage students to start, persist, and invest deep effort in learning

  • Remove barriers to motivation and learning

  • Accelerate students' mastery of critical content

A network of success coaches not only supports student learning, it builds stronger relationships within the school community, which can provide an antidote to stress and trauma. "Now, more than ever, staff and students need a dedicated space for connection and relationship-building that is culture- and trauma-responsive," said EL Education's Chief Academic Officer Ron Berger.

The Success Coaching Playbook uses research-based frameworks and provides accessible resources to help schools create the support and protocols they need to build their own network of success coaches. Success coaching programs are enabled by role definition, staff training, and prioritization, and do not require a school to make any additional hires.

"There are coaches for work, sports, and even life, and we believe making success coaches available to every student will help them adjust to new learning environments this fall," said Zahida Aminy, Middle School Director at Brooklyn LAB. Ali Brown, Member of the Academic Committee of the Board of Trustees of Brooklyn LAB said, "Imagine how much more students can achieve and grow with a coach by their side every step of the way in the 2020-21 school year."

The Playbook is a complementary resource to the Back-to-School Facilities Tool Kit and the Instructional Program Scheduling Map, housed under Brooklyn LAB's Equity by Design project. As a 'laboratory school', they have been working through EquitybyDesign.org to engage students, families, teachers, and administrators to generate bold solutions and tools to the challenges presented by the pandemic.

As a founding partner of the Educating All Learners Alliance—a new coalition of disability, civil rights, and education focused organizations dedicated to educating all learners during the COVID-19 humanitarian disaster—LAB will be distributing the Playbook through this network and beyond.

Those interested in learning more about the Success Coaching Playbook and recommendations for social-emotional support for students are encouraged to register for the upcoming webinar (details forthcoming), which will feature members of the design teams and LAB educators. Learn more at the Equity by Design website.

About Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools

Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools (LAB), founded in 2014, is a network of public charter schools that will serve 6-12th grade students this fall. LAB was designed to educate high-need urban students, particularly those who are least well-served by their current educational options. Named a "Center of Excellence" for its work with Students with Disabilities by the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, LAB aims to meet the individual needs of each student and to leverage innovative technologies and learning practices to eradicate the achievement gap. LAB was selected as an XQ school and is actively involved in work to upgrade and rethink high school to better meet the needs of students and of the future. For more information, please visit BrooklynLaboratorySchool.org.

LAB partnered with the following teams in preparing the Success Coaching Playbook:

About City Year: At City Year, we believe that all students can succeed and that developing the skills and mindsets of children and young adults contributes to strong, vibrant communities—outcomes that benefit all of us.

About EL Education: Our mission is to create classrooms where teachers can fulfill their highest aspirations and students achieve more than they think possible, becoming active contributors to building a better world.

About The Forum for Youth Investment: The Forum for Youth Investment provides products and services to help leaders improve partnerships, policies, and practices to change the odds so all young people are ready for college, work, and life.

About The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University: Committed to producing top-quality educators and world-class scholarly research, ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College brings people and ideas together to increase the capabilities of individual educators and the performance of education systems.

About Transcend: Transcend supports communities to create and spread extraordinary, equitable learning environments.

About Turnaround for Children: Turnaround for Children distills scientific knowledge about how children develop and learn into integrated tools, resources, and strategies for educators, school leaders, and school systems—all designed to establish the conditions and adult practices that drive learning and growth.

About Dezudio: Dezudio is an interaction and information design consultancy that creates products, services, and systems that are delightful and easy to use.

Susan McPherson


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SOURCE Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools