This post is adapted from an email originally shared on June 25, 2021. If you would like to receive future emails, you can sign up here.

This week we conclude our tour of content examples of how to support unfinished learning by looking at literacy comprehension.

We separated our literacy examples into two parts, because the way students learn foundational skills is quite different from the way students advance comprehension. This is not a grade-band division — students in K–2 need to learn foundational skills and comprehension (chiefly through oral reading) and students in grades 3+ may continue to need…


This post is adapted from an email originally shared on June 11, 2021. If you would like to receive future emails, you can sign up here.

We’ve been touring examples of how to support unfinished learning in different content areas. We looked at addition and subtraction of whole numbers in fourth-grade math and elk population dynamics in middle school science. …


This post was originally shared in an email on June 4, 2021. If you would like to receive my next email update, you can sign up here.

Recently I’ve focused these emails on content-specific insights about unfinished learning. Today’s email is an off-theme bonus, because education leaders are in American Rescue Plan (ARP)/ESSER III planning mode and I am seeing some patterns about how leadership teams are approaching the task that may be useful to those engaged in the act.

A few months ago I shared some reflections from Race to the Top and implications for this moment. As I…


This post was originally shared in an email on May 27, 2021. If you would like to receive my next email update, you can sign up here.

In the past few emails, I’ve shared that supporting unfinished learning requires complex work that lives in the details of daily instructional decisions. I’ve argued that we risk harm when we try to oversimplify or treat all subjects the same way, and I’ve invited you to brave the weeds on a tour of content-specific examples. Last week we looked at fourth-grade math; this week let’s dig into middle school science.

How did you…


This post was originally shared in an email on May 14, 2021. If you would like to receive my next email update, you can sign up here.

In my last email, I shared that supporting unfinished learning requires complex and unsexy work and that we risk harm when we try to oversimplify the task.

This week, we start a tour of real examples from different disciplines about what it takes to support unfinished learning well. We’ll start with math.

Too often math is treated like a linear sequence of learning or a checklist of skills. What I learned from conversations…


This post was originally shared in an email on April 30, 2021. If you would like to receive my next email update, you can sign up here.

In the last few weeks, several journalists have asked me whether I can connect them with districts doing “acceleration” and whether I think it is the right approach.

My stomach churns every time I get the question or read an article about “the acceleration movement” or “the remediation vs. acceleration debate” (different discussions on this approach here, here, and here). I have that here-we-go-again déjà vu — new camps and a new buzzword.


This post was originally shared in an email on April 16, 2021. If you would like to receive my next email update, you can sign up here.

This has been another hard week for humanity in a hard year in a hard history. First and foremost, I send my wishes for your health and safety and my prayer that we, as a people, find a way to uphold the dignity of every human being.

Last week I shared the lessons I learned from Race to the Top. Thank you to those who reached out with reactions and to share your…


This post was originally shared in an email on April 2, 2021. If you would like to receive my next email update, you can sign up here.

I have been thinking a lot about the early years of Race to the Top recently.

I moved to Nashville in 2011 to work at the Tennessee Department of Education. Tennessee had won one of the first two Race to the Top grants with bipartisan legislation and an ambitious plan, and the state had $500M to invest in innovative support to advance student learning.

Never in my life did I think I would…


This post was originally shared in an email on March 12, 2021. If you would like to receive my next email update, you can sign up here.

This week we close the Rethinking Intervention series with our final takeaway video: The way teachers support students mirrors the way leaders support teachers. Here is an accompanying PLC reflection and discussion guide.

Learning new things requires a leap of faith — to learn to do something new, you have to try doing something you do not know how to do yet. You can read the feelings of risk on students’ faces as…


This post was originally shared in an email on March 5, 2021. If you would like to receive my next email update, you can sign up here.

Last week I shared the fourth video from the Rethinking Intervention series, built around the big takeaway that moving forward into new content with support will advance learning more than stopping and going back.

This week, I’m excited to deliver Takeaway 5: Even a great plan will not work for all students; continuously monitoring, understanding, and meeting needs will. Here is a reflection and discussion guide.

When you invite researchers and practitioners to…

Emily Freitag

Instruction Partners CEO, former AssistCommish for TDOE, library lover, Sunday afternoon chef and head of the Jan, Owen and Liam fan club.

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