P.A.L.M. Skills Academy

Extensive Curriculum Support Readily Available With Launch of P.A.L.M. Skills Academy
Posted on 08/18/2020
Woman working on a laptop.

On August 24, the School District of Palm Beach County’s department of Teaching and Learning will unveil P.A.L.M. Skills Academy, a valuable resource created out of the desire to support students during distance learning. It will offer instructional videos and material to help students master the essential skills necessary to ensure academic success.

“The District wanted to provide a just-in-time resource for students and families that is directly reflective of the curriculum,” said Dr. Diana Snider, the executive manager in Teaching and Learning. “These resources provide support in several ways; pre- and post-instruction, preparation for local, state, and national assessments, and for parents assisting their student.”

“During distance learning, it became apparent that families needed additional support that was accessible at any time of day,” said Dr. Eva Cwynar, manager of K-12 mathematics, science and STEM. “With multiple students in a household having to juggle different online schedules or students completing offline assignments and getting stuck on a particular skill or process, the Division of Teaching and Learning felt that this was an important tool that could assist students in their learning.”

P.A.L.M. stands for practice, achieve, learn, master. The website, which will be accessed through the student portal, is a repository of test-preparation materials, with videos created and curated by Teaching and Learning, available in multiple languages. P.A.L.M. Skills is modeled after Khan Academy, another free online platform where students can learn and practice many different subjects.

Superintendent Donald E. Fennoy II mentioned a Khan Academy-like concept to Diana Fedderman, assistant superintendent of Teaching and Learning, as a way that the District could support students and families during this time of distance learning. Fedderman pondered the idea and brainstormed with her colleagues. As a result, P.A.L.M. Skills Academy was born.

When using P.A.L.M, students can select the grade level and/or subject area that is relevant to them. Content will be added on a continuing basis, with an awareness of the main subject areas most often sought out by students for assistance.

“During distance learning, the need for on-demand support in core subject areas, such as mathematics, became apparent,” Dr. Snider said. “In order to meet this need, the Division of Teaching and Learning is creating videos to support students.”

The material will help students establish strong foundations in specific skills, strategies, and concepts that they will encounter throughout the school year.

“I hope that students gain a better understanding of the content that they are learning, feel confident in their skill mastery and content acquisition, and that families feel supported by having access to resources that help prepare them for local, state, and national assessments,” Dr. Cwynar said.

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