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Optimizing School & District Variables for a Successful Reading First Implementation ORF Leadership Session October 20-21, 2005 Dr. Stan Paine, Interim Director Center on Teaching & Learning University of Oregon Today’s focus Leadership roles in Reading First schools Leadership notebook

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Optimizing School & District Variables for a Successful Reading First Implementation

ORF Leadership Session

October 20-21, 2005

Dr. Stan Paine, Interim Director

Center on Teaching & Learning

University of Oregon

(C) 2005 by the Oregon Reading First Center Center on Teaching and Learning

Today’s focus

  • Leadership roles in Reading First schools

  • Leadership notebook

  • Implementation checklists

  • Supporting your school’s implementation

  • Data-based leadership model

  • Leadership roles revisited


Leadership roles in RF

  • Who are (or can be) the leaders in your school’s Reading First implementation?

  • What main things do each of these leaders do to support Reading First in your school?

  • One thing I could do in my role to more strongly support the RF project is.....

  • One thing that would be helpful for other RF leaders to do in support of RF is .....


Continued Improvement

Great leaders are never satisfied with current levels of performance. They are restlessly driven by possibilities and potential achievements. --Donna Harrison

Excellence is not a point you reach.

It is a commitment you make to keep improving.

The Context

We need to remember:

what it’s all about.....

what’s possible.....

what’s most essential.....

what’s most productive.....

what’s most important....

how it all fits together.....

We call this:



focus (goals)




Premise: This is work with a powerful purpose.

We know enough to be successful at it.



“Explaining failure.....”

  • dysfunctional families

  • negative peer influence

  • negative effects of media

    • television, movies

    • video games,music

  • drugs

  • poverty

  • violence


School & district variables

  • The role of the principal

  • The role of the reading coach

  • The support of district staff

  • Collaboration among all stakeholders

  • The insightful use of curriculum


School & district variables (cont.)

  • Use of time

  • Use of data

  • Use of other resources

    • money (funding)

    • people (staffing)

  • Professional development

  • Culture of success


The role of the principal

The successful RF principal:

  • communicates high expectations for reading to all

  • is visibly connected to all aspects of reading

  • is involved in reading meetings & training activities

  • assures that data are used to improve reading

  • communicates regularly with coach, staff and district leaders about reading program & results

When the principal leads, the school succeeds


The role of the principal (cont.)

The successful RF principal:

  • provides differential supervision

    and support around reading

  • develops a reading culture

  • manages resources for reading

  • participates in PD on reading

    (e.g., instruction, leadership)

  • seeks support, TA as needed


The role of the coach

The successful RF coach:

  • Leverages time to boost reading

  • Spends much time in classrooms

  • Differentiates support across teachers,

    based on data and staff needs

  • Provides support for both teachers & assistants

  • Provides support for use of data in instructional planning

  • Serves as a catalyst, spark, bridge for improved reading practices


District support

Successful RF district leaders:

  • maintain communication w/building staff, regional coordinator about the RF program

  • attend district RF team meetings

  • attend ORF leadership sessions with team

  • maintain visibility in the building in support of the RF implementation

  • consider support needed for reading district-wide when allocating staffing, funds, etc.

  • Ask how district policy, procedure can support reading

  • Assign & supervise staff to support reading outcomes



Successful collaboration in RF:

  • District and building staff work together to promote increased achievement for all students

  • Principal & coach assure coordination of reading across classroom, RF, Title 1, ELL & special ed. staff

  • Instructional planning occurs within & across grade levels to assure consistency & seamlessness for students

No one has all the pieces, but together we can complete the picture.



Effective use of curriculum in RF:

  • Adoption process considers research base for reading

  • Adequate funds provide sufficient materials

  • Programs are aligned w/SBRR

  • Programs are differentiated by student need

  • Programs are implemented with fidelity

  • Implementation is on track

    • curriculum maps

    • pacing guides

  • Staff are trained & supervised on programs they teach


Optimizing use of time (district)(using days/hours/minutes well)

Effective district use of time in RF includes:

  • length of school day, year promote achievement

  • strong attendance policies and follow-up assure that kids are in school

  • district minimizes demands for principal time out of the building to allow for more leadership and supervision time

  • district supports adequate time for professional development and collaborative planning time.

We allocate our time according to our priorities.


Optimizing use of time (building)(using days/hours/minutes well)

Effective school use of time in RF includes:

  • scheduled time (reading first!) (90’+)

  • orchestrating time (making it work)

  • assuring time (fidelity to schedule)

  • principal/coach supervise for:

    • time within instructional tasks

      (engaged, on-level, opportunity to respond)

    • time between instructional tasks (transition times)

  • students are motivated to read at home daily

Those who succeed and those who do notall have the same amount of time in which to do so.



Use of data

Effective use of data in RF includes:

  • Data: collecting, inputting, accessing, interpreting, and discussing (training/supervision for all steps, all people involved; fidelity of procedures, accuracy, timeliness)

  • Goals: knowing & going for benchmarks & standards

  • Use of data in effective teams for instructional purposes

    (district, principal-coach, grade level, school level teams)

  • Meetings that make a difference

    (options, agreement, implement, follow-up, monitor, adjust, criteria)

  • Sharing data w/staff, district, parents

All who journey need mid-course corrections to reach their destinations.



Maximizing other resources

Effective use of resources includes:

  • Identifying new resources

  • Making the most of existing resources

    • fundingmaterials

    • staffingtraining

  • Involving other people in the school who can be trained to lead instructional groups (e.g. specialists)

Making the most of what we have makes it seem like we have more.



Efficient use of funds includes:

  • Pooling resources--combining district allocations, Title funds, ELL, special education & RF funds to support reading

  • Tapping other potential sources:

    • other grants (e.g. after school, summer school funds)

    • community support (e.g. United Way)

    • foundation funding (local education foundations)

    • community partnerships (e.g public library)

    • high school and college partnerships

    • committed parent and senior citizen volunteers



RF compatible staffing practices include:

  • Adequate staff allocation by the district

  • Assigning staff to their strengths

  • Making the most of the staffing you have

  • Using reading-based criteria to hire new staff

It’s the people who make the program.


Professional Development

Effective PD practices for RF include:

  • providing training that is:

    • focused, high quality, on-going

  • providing training for all (teachers, specialists)

    • principal,coach, district, assistants, parents

  • providing training follow-up (coaching and supervision) that is differentiated & empowering

The best leaders bring out the best in the people around them.


Operationalizing what works: Creating a culture of success

A culture of success in RF includes:

  • belief in the possibility

  • commitment to priorities &results

  • awareness of urgency

  • visibility of the focus

  • culture of collaboration

  • tone of empowerment

It’s not about getting the money. It’s about getting the results.


Owning outcomes: “No blame, no excuses”

Owning outcomes in RF means:

  • being willing to stop explaining failure in terms of variables outside the control of the school

  • identifying variables over which schools have control

  • focusing on alterable variables at the school, class, instructional group & individual student levels

  • making a commitment to optimize those variables in order to yield greater success

It’s not about explaining failure.It’s about taking responsibility for success.


Accountability exists nowhere if it does not exist at the level of the district, the school, the classroom and the individual student. It is at these levels that the battle for literacy is won or lost.


Contact information:

Dr. Stan Paine, Interim Director

& Principal-in-Residence

Center on Teaching & Learning

5292 University of Oregon

1600 Mill Race Drive

Eugene, OR 97403-5292

ph: (541) 346-1644

fx: (541) 346-4349


Thank you to Katie Tate for technical support

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