The nation’s most underserved students deserve an opportunity for accelerated learning with a high-quality teacher. The Sontag Prize matches teachers at the top of the field with a group of 12 of the district’s lowest-performing students during weeklong school breaks. Our Acceleration Academies close the achievement gap by providing students the equivalent of an extra month of focused seat hours taught by excellent teachers.

From New Profit’s research on the Acceleration Academies in Lawrence, MA:

"Visitors to the Acceleration Academies invariably see what’s on offer: a genuine celebration of teaching and learning. It would be easy to dismiss this value as icing on the cake of a well-designed week of deep instruction, but we came away feeling that celebration and appreciation are key enabling conditions that are absolutely essential to the success of the Academies. Students are celebrated for their hard work and earnest desire to better themselves by using their vacation time to improve their learning outcomes. Teachers are celebrated for their talent, creativity, and willingness to give up their vacation week to teach students in greatest need. Learning is celebrated as the key to a positive and hopeful future, and as a joyful pursuit."

I think we live in a time of compliance-driven joylessness. What we’re trying to do is make education fun and exciting.
— Jeffrey Riley

Personalizing the Learning

Who We Serve

Our school and district partners are located in the cities of Chelsea and Lawrence. All gateway cities in Massachusetts, each offer a unique opportunity to maximize impact for the state’s most underserved students. Shuttle transportation will be provided for non-local teachers to and from the school sites and the hotel. Local teachers are responsible for their own transportation.

Selected teachers will receive data about their group of students prior to the Acceleration Academy and are encouraged to design a week-long curriculum that exemplifies their best work and fits the needs of their students. Classroom supplies are provided by the placement schools.