Free Back-to-School Theme and Curriculum

Featuring the Commemorative Air Force RISE ABOVE Program

With the pandemic interrupting normal school and business operations, several organizations came together to create and offer an inspirational back-to-school toolkit for educators with accompanying health and wellness resources. Our goal is to ease the burden on educators and to help students, parents, and school staff overcome the social-emotional trauma resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. These resources are being provided at no cost to the school district.

This campaign provides a compelling curriculum and ready-to-use resources within a timely back-to-school theme. The campaign is built to reflect the Six Guiding Principles© of the Tuskegee Airmen and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), who broke barriers for minorities and women and helped win WWII. These principles are: Be Ready to Go, Aim High, Believe in Yourself, Use Your Brain, Never Quit, and Expect to Win. Students will learn how these guiding principles can help them succeed in the face of adversity. Links to digital resources and tools will guide leaders and teachers to keep their school year campaign “in flight”—whether that be virtually or in the classroom—by focusing on one of the Six Guiding Principles every two months. Every effort has been made to ensure these free educational resources are aligned with curriculum standards and that they are designed to motivate students and teachers with messages of perseverance, teamwork, and hope. 

CAF RISE ABOVE® Back-to-School Campaign Program Introduction featuring video interviews with Lt. Col. Harold H. Brown, USAF, Ret., Tuskegee Airman

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Resources for Administrators

A school toolkit gives principals a free implementation process guide and implementation ideas with supporting resources. School leaders can use inspiring short introductory videos about WWII Tuskegee Airmen and WASP to help educators and students kick off the new year (virtually or live) and “rise above” crisis challenges.

Resources for Teachers

A user-friendly teacher toolkit contains ready-to-use resources with actionable plans for teachers to make history come alive. PreK, primary, elementary, middle, and high school teachers can access free digital school kickoff resources by grade level. “Flight plans” are provided to help students set personal goals for the year, and downloadable posters, awards, digital badges, and stickers will help all educators to focus on and recognize the Six Guiding Principles in action.

Resources for Educators and Community Members

Schools also receive free social-emotional and health literacy videos, tools, and support for students, teachers, and families that can be used by counselors, school nurses, and health and wellness teachers. These health resources are provided by Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Georgia.

The all-volunteer project is led by the Institute for Performance Improvement. The Institute, located in Georgia, trains and certifies school improvement facilitators nationally. Collaborators include the Schlechty Center, SREB, Mercer University School of Medicine, Hale & Associates, Iberian Consulting, Redwood Educational Technologies/Student News Net, the Law Office of Joseph C. Sumner Jr., and Wagner Specialty Services, and the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) RISE ABOVE.

Program Sponsor

The Institute for Performance Improvement (TIFPI)  A woman-owned business founded in 2012, TIFPI is a performance improvement specialist dedicated to developing, certifying, and supporting school improvement facilitators at state and  local education agencies and at school levels  Our programs and services support meeting ESSA requirements for school improvement with an emphasis on leadership, developing high-impact professional learning, and planning and evaluating school improvement interventions.The Institute is in Georgia and trains and certifies school improvement facilitators nationally.  

Program Collaborators

Mercer University Medical School
Mercer University School of Medicine educates physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and healthcare needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. The school’s rigorous, engaging and collaborative academic environment fosters the development of community responsive health care leaders.  Mercer University School of Medicine and Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center have joined together to bring you Mercer Medical Minute. Designed for children and young adults, this series of videos feature medical students who introduce basic health tips and guidelines needed to lead a healthy and active life.  

Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center
The Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center was established by the state at Mercer University School of Medicine to empower rural communities to improve access and effectiveness of health care. The Center accomplishes this mission by offering research, collaboration, and training opportunities.  

Redwood Educational Technologies

Redwood Educational Technologies produces original content for K-12 education with a focus on connecting the dots between nonfiction literature and current events, aligned with national and state standards, to foster meaningful learning. Its Student News Net current events website supports student literacy with an online Writing Practice application. The company offers compelling content through original articles, graphic novels, Reader’s Guides and workbooks in print and digital formats.

Quigg Associates

Quigg Associates specializes in education consulting for state and regional education agencies, PK-12 school systems and schools, and educators across the nation, with a focus on school improvement. Performance-based training and coaching in the facilitation and implementation of consistent and sustainable school improvement processes that will improve student achievement are provided. For more information contact Jean Quigg.

Hale Associates

Specializing in performance improvement focusing on evidence-based certification and credentialing, performance-based curriculum, measurement and evaluation, and sustaining initiatives, Hale Associates consults with corporations and credentialing agencies on the design and validation of programs and standards used to qualify people and learning products.  Hale’s processes are documented and recognized for being comprehensive and practical.

Iberian Consulting
Iberian Consulting is business consulting organization specializing in strategy development, collaborative product and program development and got to market execution.  Using agile marketing and project management methodologies, Iberian Consulting provides business, education and non-profits with capabilities to launch key initiatives in compressed timeframes. For more information contact Chris Madrid.

Schlechty Center

The Schlechty Center is a private, non-profit organization committed to partnering with education leaders who are interested in nurturing a culture of engagement in their organizations, with the ultimate goal of increasing profound learning for students.

Southern Regional Education Board

A nonprofit, nonpartisan interstate compact, SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislators who recognized the link between education and economic vitality. SREB states are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.