At Acelero Learning, we have built a culture of data-driven decision-making and have designed the tools and technologies to inform those decisions. This focus influences every aspect of our work in Education, Family Services, and Program Design & Management.

Our Education Approach: 
curriculum / Coaching / Assessment

Nothing is more central to Acelero Learning's success than what goes on in our classrooms. We use structured, content-rich curriculum and focused assessments as key drivers of children's outcomes. We also focus on coaching and professional development, and are proud of our engaged, well-supported teaching staff and skilled educational coaches. Key tools in the Acelero Learning education toolkit include: 

  • The Center Director as Educational Leader Rubric
  • The Teacher Success Rubric
  • Coaching Success Criteria
  • Full-year Curriculum Plans, with 12 themes
  • School Readiness Goals, assessment templates, and alignments charts
  • The Manage by Outcomes (MBO) School Readiness Tracking Tool


To fully support our teaching staff, we created and use a thorough, comprehensive set of lesson plans and activity guides for our classrooms. We also developed innovative meeting materials to support curriculum collaboration. These resources help teachers discuss effective implementation of the curriculum with their peers and align each week's content to specific school-readiness goals and assessment objectives. These tools have a game-changing effect in our classrooms, giving teachers a robust support structure and the chance to focus their energies on differentiating instruction and making each lesson as effective as possible for each unique classroom environment. Our signature curriculum supports include:

  • Full week-by-week lesson guides, including alignment with school readiness goals and assessment objectives
  • In-class activities
  • Unit maps
  • Parent templates related to curriculum themes to keep families fully informed of their child's classroom experience
  • Robust curriculum guides and supporting materials
  • Curriculum collaboration meeting tools


Ongoing coaching is essential to our education staff and teachers' professional development. Our coaching model has two key elements:

  • The Teacher Success Rubric (TSR), which helps us assess teaching staff based on individualized criteria along a "beginning" to "mastering" continuum, and then zero-in on opportunities for improvement.
  • Reflective coaching, which allows our teachers, assistant teachers, and coaches to reflect and evaluate themselves on a regular basis to maintain professional development momentum throughout the year.

We use the following tools to ensure all staff are receiving the coaching and professional development they need and deserve:

  • Teacher Success Rubric for lead teachers
  • Coaching Success Criteria
  • Coaching Partnership Agreement
  • Assessment Work Group planning and reflection tool
  • Assessment Coaching Cycle Protocol
  • Coaching Teacher Reflection tool


Child assessment is a critical process that we have worked to master to better understand whether children are transitioning out of our program "school-ready." Our signature, focused assessment model allows us to streamline the assessment process and integrate it more fully into the classroom experience. Our child assessment tools include:

  • Assessment Coaching Cycle Protocol
  • Assessment Work Groups and Support
  • Assessment resources
  • Assessment Work Group planning and reflection tool
  • Direct Assessment tasks
  • Embedded Assessment Activities in writing, rhyming, alliteration, classification, pattern recognition and gross motor skills

Family Services Approach:
The Achievement Gap / family strengths and goals / professional development

The premise of our family engagement model is simple: well-informed, well-supported parents and families are essential partners in our work to close the Achievement Gap. With the help and active partnership of the families we serve, we can ensure that each child who completes our program will be well-prepared to succeed in school and life. At our centers, we focus on:

Our key Family Services-focused tools include our: 

  • Achievement Gap Brochure & Workshops
  • Family Strengths Assessment survey
  • Family Goal-Setting templates in English and Spanish to support multi-lingual families
  • Family and Community Partnerships Training Workshops
  • HS and EHS Family Handbooks
  • Parent-Child Activity calendars
  • ERSEA tools and resources
  • Health, nutrition, and other comprehensive services resources

The Achievement Gap

Whether you call it the Achievement Gap, the Opportunity Gap, or the Exposure Gap, the fact remains that low-income children consistently start school considerably less prepared than their middle-income peers. We believe that every child can succeed at the highest levels and that the key to making that happen is to ensure that parents and families are fully informed about this gap and how they can partner with us to close it. At Acelero Learning, we inform families about the basic research around the Achievement Gap and zero-in on four Family Life Practices that the best research tells us will help their children prepare and succeed. Our resources include:

  • Achievement Gap Brochure & Workshops
  • Family & Community Partnership Training Workshops to help us contract with parents to close the Achievement Gap
  • Achievement Gap booklets in English and Spanish to support multi-lingual families
  • Family Life Practices goal-setting tools

Family Strengths and Goals

Our comprehensive services model emphasizes unique support for each family that we serve. We focus on understanding each family’s strengths and needs with a well-structured and detailed Family Strengths Assessment and partner with families by setting goals around Family Life Practices that will be key to tipping the odds in their child’s favor. We have developed templates for over 60 common goals that families set on their family partnership agreements. Each goal has established benchmarks for attainment indicating what precisely constitutes major, moderate, some, or no progress. By providing a common framework for goal attainment, we have been able to help families clearly measure progress toward accomplishing their goals. We use the following tools to help:

  • Achievement Gap Brochure & Workshops
  • Full supporting materials to help our family services teams implement effective workshops on the Achievement Gap and family life practices
  • Family Self-Assessment survey
  • The Family Strengths Assessment, in English or Spanish, provides a comprehensive survey designed to be given in four parts to families as they enter our Head Start or Early Head Start programs
  • Family Life Practices goal-setting tools

Professional Development

Every day, our family engagement staff have the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of children and families through ongoing communication, by making referrals, and by building trusting relationships with families. These professionals are essential to our program's success, but structured professional development for family services staff is surprisingly rare in the Head Start world. We believe that our family service workers are simply too important to go without support. 
To that end, we have developed tools and resources to support the coaching of Family Advocates and other family service team members, along with tools to evaluate their performance over the course of the year with a detailed Family Advocate Success Rubric. We use the following tools to help evaluate our staff and design professional development opportunities to support their growth:

  • The Family Advocate Success Rubric
  • Family Partnerships Supervision & Monitoring Tool
  • Family Services Supervision Agenda

Our Program Design & Management Approach:
Data-Driven Decision Making / Organizational Design for Impact / Shine Insight

Data-Driven Decision Making

At Acelero Learning, we place a tremendous amount of importance on data – and an equal amount of focus on ensuring that data helps us to make informed decisions and contributes to our mission. In Head Start, data takes many forms – on a regular basis, our staff, leadership and families need to have access to reliable information on:

  • Program compliance – How well we are meeting our commitments as a Federally-funded Head Start program.
  • Program operations – A clear method of tracking our processes – how often we are coaching our teachers, meeting with our families, etc. help us understand how well we are meeting our own expectations for quality and execution. 
  • Child and family outcomes – Assessment and goal-related information helps us to understand how well we are serving our students and their families, and where we should focus to continue making progress.

We use several key reports to help us measure our success and proactively identify important trends, both in our program and in the communities that we serve. These include our compliance-focused MBI (Manage by Information) Report, our MBI+ Report for tracking operations and process indicators, and our outcomes-focused MBO (Manage by Outcomes) report, tracking our results in school readiness, family engagement and health.

Organizational Design for Impact

We have also designed a staffing model that allows us to manage these flows of information and reporting out to staff, families and other community stakeholders. Our Directors of Analysis and Directors of Monitoring and Compliance help us to ensure that our systems are not only implemented consistently and running smoothly across all of our locations, but that we are well-positioned to understand what the data is telling us – and act accordingly! 

Self-Assessment & Monitoring

At Acelero Learning, we have developed and implemented an ongoing self-assessment system for continuous improvement (SASCIE).  It’s a rubric-based tool that focused on gathering evidence to support both compliance and quality, and relies on internal and external validation. SASCIE is our take on a monitoring tool or review that takes into account not only compliance, but also process, quality, and outcomes. It helps us answer the questions- How well are our programs complying with Federal regulations and implementing Acelero Learning processes and practices? Are our programs on a path to achieving positive child and family outcomes? How can our programs improve systems and services to better serve children and families in our mission to close the achievement gap?

Shine Insight

In 2013, we launched Shine Insight as our program-wide data system, tracking child and family information, program compliance, comprehensive services and a wide variety of information related to family strengths and goals. The system was designed to help “push” and prioritize data for our staff, helping them identify and respond quickly to issues, challenges or areas of need – making sure that no child or family falls through the cracks, and that the right information is getting to the right people at the right time.

This system has been fully implemented across all of our Acelero Learning locations. You can learn more about Shine Insight here.