Cambridge Advanced Learning Association is a parent group in Cambridge, MA working to support students of every race, ethnicity and socio-economic background who are in need of advanced learning, at the same time as we support the needs of all students. We do this by by offering resources, advocacy, and community to parents of students in need of advanced learning, and by working with and supporting our teachers, specialists, and administrators.
We define students in need of advanced learning as students who are learning beyond grade level in one or more subjects at any given time, and whose academic needs in those subjects fall outside the needs of most of the students in their classroom. Shorthand for this is “advanced learner”, but this is not to suggest that a student is advanced in all of their learning all the time. We acknowledge and respect the flexible nature of learning, and understand that students may shift in and out of being advanced in their learning of one or more subjects over time. We value every student, no matter where they are academically.
In the Cambridge Public Schools students are grouped by age (logistically it would be very hard to do otherwise) so we end up with classrooms where students’ reading levels, or math ability, or ability in other subjects, are often more than 6 grades apart. To be successful and equitable in educating all our students, we must work with difference. Our district is notable in that we value, embrace and work with difference in areas of learning disability, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. As a district it is also our responsibility to value, embrace and work with difference in advanced academic ability.
CALA’s long-term goals are outlined here, and you can learn more about CALA here. Please let us know if you’d like to join our parents-only online discussion group. Also, we welcome your feedback, thoughts, corrections, and additions to the website. Our parent community intends that CALA be a collaborative, constructive organization, so your input is welcome.