Kingston College Learning Acceleration Initiative
Learning acceleration is an ongoing instructional process by which educators engage in formative practices to improve student access to and mastery of grade-level standards. This process involves examining and improving every component of the instructional cycle. Fortis & Friends has partnered with schools to actualize learning acceleration by supporting them in developing a long-term, comprehensive framework that anchors the school’s academic, social, and behavioral interventions to promote global competitiveness for all students. Our support varies and is based on the specific needs of individual schools. Currently, we are partnering with selected schools to conduct academic evaluations and readiness assessments to determine students' learning needs and identify appropriate interventions, services, and supports.
Professional Development for Educators
During the 2023-2024 academic year, Fortis & Friends Foundation (F3), in partnership with Inclusive Schools Caribbean (ISC), is offering participating schools access to an asynchronous online learning module on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) - Core Ideas. UDL is an evidence-based educational framework that promotes inclusive and effective teaching practices. It recognizes that each student has unique learning needs and provides educators with the tools to create flexible and accessible learning environments that support the diverse range of students in their classrooms. By offering this online module, F3 and Inclusive Schools Caribbean are equipping schools with a evidence-backed approach that has the potential to positively impact the educational experience of all students, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds.
To ensure the successful implementation of UDL principles, F3 will go a step further by facilitating a workshop and establishing a community of practice among participating schools. These professional learning opportunities are designed to foster reflective practice and collaboration among teachers and schools. Reflective practice is invaluable for educators, as it encourages critical self-assessment and the continuous improvement of teaching methods. Through the community of practice, teachers will have the opportunity to share their experiences, insights, and challenges, ultimately learning from their colleagues and collectively enhancing their teaching practices. This collaborative approach not only strengthens the skills of individual educators but also cultivates a supportive network of professionals committed to inclusive and equitable education, fostering a positive and lasting impact on the students they serve.
Furthermore, as part of our commitment to equipping educators for equitable classrooms, participating schools will be granted access to ISC's self-paced e-learning modules, as they are developed. Our approach, compromising accessible e-learning opportunities, professional development workshops, and community of practices (CoP), advances our mission to improve the quality of education for all students.
Fortis & Friends offers specialized technical assistance service to a limited number of partner - schools. Our mission is to enhance student academic achievement by providing tailored support in the form of thought partnership, coaching, and strategic planning. This service aims to identify evidence-based programs and strategies that bolster teacher capacity, improve student learning outcomes, and encourage student and parent involvement. We prioritize sustainable improvements by working closely with partner-schools, providing system-wide support, and quarterly capacity-building sessions. Engaging in this partnership requires a commitment from both administrative and school levels. For more details, please contact us.
Primary School Tablet Initiative
Fortis & Friends is dedicated to making a difference in the educational landscape of our primary schools. As part of our comprehensive program, we have integrated Learnit Solution, a supplemental learning application program designed to help students develop their foundational skills. The Learnit Solution, developed by Caribbean eBook Ltd, gives students access to over "190 educational applications with a Caribbean focus." LearnIt's proven system has been implemented in 28 schools in Jamaica by the Union of Jamaica Alumni Association (UJAA) and is now being adopted and implemented by the education ministries in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, empowering students and transforming their learning outcomes. Through the LearnIt Solution, students can engage in a hands-on learning experience where they can Touch, Listen, Do, and Learnit. One of the remarkable features of this program is that students can access the tablet and its applications even without internet access.
Currently, we are in the installation stage of implementing the LearnIt tablet within primary schools. In this stage, samples of the tablets have been distributed to selected classrooms in Jamaica to assess fit and feasibility; selected teachers will undergo training and will test the tablets in their classrooms. This testing phase is essential to ensure the tablets effectively meet the needs of both teachers and students in the primary school environment. Our goal is to have a class set of tablets purchased and in use by students this school year, ensuring a seamless integration of this supplemental resource.
"For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right."
- Kofi Annan