After the Pennsylvania Department of Education identified Pittsburgh Brashear High School as a priority school for improvement, the school’s educators began to rethink their approach to instruction. Teacher leaders wanted to identify promising practices that would improve engagement for the school’s 1,230 students, most of whom are African American or come from low-income families. They also were looking for ways to increase academic rigor and promote cross-curricular instruction to enable all students to achieve academic excellence. So what did they do?
Specifically, the educators wanted guidance on how best to nurture students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills and abilities to collaborate, communicate effectively, and direct their own learning—a set of skills collectively known as deeper learning competencies. So, in 2017, the leadership team from the school’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) Academy contacted the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) for direct technical assistance on implementing strategies that support deeper learning.
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