Partnerships to Advance Learning in STEM (PALS)
By leveraging existing resources within the educational non-profit community, harnessing the power of collaboration amongst community members and stakeholders, and encouraging the use of human-centered design principles, ASSET’s Partnerships to Advance Learning in STEM (PALS) initiative is an organic, responsive program to address complex education challenges. This pre-service educator program serves to support teacher candidates working within a virtual learning environment as they endeavor to provide tutoring for students.
Transforming the Culture of Learning
PALS simultaneously targets two learner groups -- pre-service educators, and K-12 students -- both of whom experienced dismaying learning loss due to the pandemic and shifting priorities within education. Today, the pathway to becoming a professional educator is a complicated process of meshing research, coursework, and actual practice. The realities of today’s classroom - the context, the ecosystems comprised of diverse learners with varied needs - are complex. PALS aligns professional learning to practice so that Next Generation Educators are experiencing the conditions for effective teaching as soon as their freshman year of college. With PALS, ASSET aims to change the model of engagement for pre-service educators to include a series of hands-on, minds-on residencies which engage them in responsive, meaningful, one-on-one interactions with learners. There is no better time than the present to establish a new, vibrant, experiential modality of training for the next generation of educators.
Theoretical Framework of PALS
Measuring the Impact and Setting Benchmarks
PALS outcomes are structured to provide for near and long-term evaluation benchmarks and include:
- Create a cadre of Next Generation Educators, whose pathway to teaching reflects actual time spent working directly with students toward higher achievement. These educators will embrace real-world experience, coaching, and diversity in their students as a way to set a foundation for professional growth.
- Prepare Next Generation Educators to embrace and employ knowledge of pedagogy, instruction, content, and digital savvy to effectively move student outcomes forward via digital and in-person instruction.
- Foster self-advocacy, independent learning skills, confidence, curiosity, and social-emotional wellness in students who are being tutored.
- Diminish the impact of COVID-19 on learning loss, particularly in communities which have been disproportionately affected, such as communities of color and where socioeconomic stress is prevalent. Closing gaps in mathematics and reading is of critical importance.
- Increase the number of Next Generation Educators entering the field across Pennsylvania who intend to stay in the classroom for at least five years.