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ARC Planning Grant Produces Opportunities for PALS at Scale With Four Schools of Education

In October 2022, ASSET was awarded an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) POWER Planning Grant, to investigate more deeply, test, envision, and strategize about the expansion of the Partnerships for the Advancement of Learning (PALS) initiative in Pennsylvania. Grant implementation over the course of 12 months consisted of three phases:

 
Phase 1: Initial Planning - formation of four regional teams (anchored by partners in Higher Education) 
to engage in strategic planning to implement their collective vision for tutoring in their individual 
ecosystems.


Phase 2: Team Planning and Support - nurturing these four sites, identifying their stakeholders, partners, 
and resources while finding collaborative opportunities to invest in a larger system across the region (or 
the Commonwealth).


Phase 3: Finalization of Plans - a synthesis of the newly formed ecosystem - its structure, cost, outcomes, 
and impact - while ensuring both the uniqueness and collaborative potential of all four regional teams.


During the ARC Planning grant, ASSET assessed the need, level of commitment, personnel, budget, and impact across four Higher Education Institutions (HEI) - both existing and new potential partners. All were engaged in four key exercises:

 

  1. Understanding ASSET’s PALS model - its goals, outcomes, and impact.

  2. Understanding the role each HEI plays in developing the next cadre of teachers and how to do that innovatively. Each HEI defined their unique value proposition and individual ecosystem, while building upon ideas of others to find commonalities for growth.

  3. Applying the PALS model to their own ecosystems to develop a strategic model for short-, mid-, and long-term partnership and predicted outcomes. The direction was to use best practices from PALS and adapt, mold, and align to the School of Education parameters and resources at their own institution. 

  4. Providing feedback, ideating, collaborative learning, and operational elements of each other’s implementation of PALS, creating a community of practice and deepening their role as professionals who raise a new generation of educators in Pennsylvania - together.


Over time both the unique value each program brings and the growth of ASSET as a supporting organization were clear. Collective impact was possible, achievable, and recommended to enable an innovative next phase of growth.

 

Without exception, Carlow University, Waynesburg University, Westminster College, and the University of Pittsburgh - Johnstown (Pitt Johnstown) agreed that, provided the financial resources, they could leverage ASSET and its PALS program to prepare the next generation of educators better for the 21st Century classroom by implementing work across all four years of their degree programs. 

With all four partners committed to the work of expanding Partnerships for the Advancement of Learning (PALS) integrated fully into their pre-service teaching models, alongside a customized logic model, faculty and out-of-school time partners, ASSET and its coalition are primed for Phase II of the work - at scale.

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