Cambridge Advanced Learning Association (CALA) was founded in November, 2011 by a group of parents concerned at the Cambridge Public Schools’ then lack of any formal policy or program for students in need of advanced learning. CALA’s mission is to work together as a parent community and with Cambridge’s teachers and administrators, to support students of every race, ethnicity and socio-economic background in need of advanced learning, at the same time as we support the needs of all students. Our mission is outlined on the home page, and our long-term goals are outlined here.
Superintendant Jeff Young’s Innovation Agenda is bringing significant changes to the middle grades in our public schools, and although it brings a great deal of disruption, it also provides an opportunity for significant improvements. CALA members have been working with our administrators and teachers to develop specific, evidence-based policies and services for students in need of advanced learning in Cambridge, in the middle grades, and other grades as well.
We also want to acknowledge the work that members of our community have done for years around this issue. We are grateful to the parents, teachers, adminstrators, and school committee members who have continued to advocate on behalf of advanced learners in Cambridge. They have paved the way for CALA to do the work we are now doing.
CALA parents have taken on various roles, including:
- Contributing many resources and book recommendations for parents and teachers
- Developing CALA’s Yearly Action Plan, which is outlined in the meeting minutes archive
- Contributing to the development of the Cambridge Public Schools’ new Academic Challenge Policy and Academic Challenge Plan for the middle grades
- Working with the school district to create, fund, and hire a new Academic Challenge and Enrichment Support Program Manager to serve students in grades K-8
- Serving as CALA-Parent Advisory Council reps for schools throughout the district
- Serving as CALA parent contacts for schools throughout the district
- Arranging for expert visitors to CALA’s monthly meetings
- Blogging about advanced learning around the US and the world
- Tweeting as @cambridgeCALA about education for advanced learners and related topics
We welcome participation from the community. Feel free to contact us if you have questions or concerns, resources to share, or would like to take on a project. Also, you’re welcome to join our mailing list, and parents of advanced learners are welcome to join our private online discussion group.
- Freedom Baird, CPS parent and CALA founder