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Creating a Sustainable Reading Culture

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  1. Creating a Sustainable Reading Culture Sharon Walpole University of Delaware Michael C. McKenna University of Virginia

  2. Goals for these two days • Engage you in reflection about your current level of GARF implementation • Share what we know about upcoming budget cuts • Guide you to reflect on your data • Demonstrate differentiated lessons so that you can better observe them

  3. Georgia Reading First: Reality Check √ • We have one more year of guaranteed full funding • We have one additional year of extension funding -- but only at 40% • The state must make decisions about how to use that funding • This may be your final chance to use RF resources to institutionalize critical aspects of RF

  4. What are the critical aspects of GARF? Intensive intervention Differentiated small-group instruction High-quality whole-group instruction

  5. What do researchers identify as barriers to such a plan? • Problems in translating policy into practice • Inadequate professional development • Failure to achieve a supportive culture

  6. Federal RF Policy What actually happens in schools and classrooms

  7. Federal RF Policy What actually happens in schools and classrooms

  8. Federal RF Policy Policy must be interpreted by those who implement it. Policy is rarely specific enough to leave no room for flexibility and adaptation at the local levels (Tabak, 2007). What actually happens in schools and classrooms

  9. Federal RF Policy In Reading First, there is enough guidance in policy to enable us to implement our projects to meet the intent of the legislation. At the same time, the policy is broad enough to enable us to tailor our projects to local contexts. What actually happens in schools and classrooms

  10. Federal RF Policy If a policy is too vague, it invites so much variation that a program has no distinct identity. That is not the case in Reading First. We believe that the policy permits just the right amount of leeway to ensure both faithful implementation and reasonable adaptations. What actually happens in schools and classrooms

  11. Federal RF Policy The policy for Reading First is specific enough, however, that attempts to subvert it are often in clear violation of the legislative intent. What actually happens in schools and classrooms

  12. Kersten and Pardo (2007) approvingly describe a teacher named “Celina,” who taught from the core program only on Mondays and did as she pleased the rest of the week.

  13. “During this study, Celina demonstrated that she was adept at finessing her teaching. She determined she would give a nod to the mandated basal series and the required 120 minutes of instruction; yet she also maintained a focus on integrated language arts and writing workshop. She drew from her four years of experience in a fairly stable context to teach in a way that she was not only comfortable with but also that she felt would best serve her students.” (p. 151)

  14. We believe that in Georgia teachers like “Celina” are rare. The fact is, Reading First expects teachers to make reasonable adaptations appropriate for their contexts. This policy is in accord with research. Klingner et al. (1999) found that teachers value practices that permit some modification and that are not overly rigid.

  15. The Too-Tight, Too-Loose Dilemma Limited Press for Change Tight Control Temporary Improvement Loose Control – Adapted from Fullan (2006)

  16. The Too-Tight, Too-Loose Dilemma Limited Press for Change Tight Control Temporary Improvement Loose Control – Adapted from Fullan (2006)

  17. “In general terms, the solution to motivating people is to establish the right blend of tightness and looseness.” (Fullan, 2006, p. 37) Michael Fullan

  18. Federal RF Policy Translating the policy of Reading First into effective classroom practice is the goal of professional development. What actually happens in schools and classrooms

  19. Facilitators PD Program Teachers Context Borko (2004) suggests that in order for a PD program to influence teacher knowledge, certain individuals must facilitate the program, mindful of school and classroom contexts. Hilda Borko

  20. Facilitators PD Program Teachers Context In Reading First, there are many facilitators: coaches, principals, Academy trainers, program reps, and even PD architects.

  21. Facilitators PD Program Teachers Context Over time, teachers themselves become facilitators as they learn together and build a professional community focused on reading.

  22. Facilitators PD Program Teachers Context The contexts in which they learn are their own classrooms, which become laboratories where they can try out new approaches and judge the results for themselves.

  23. What does a good Reading First school look like? Reading First has many dimensions, and they are all important. Under the direction of Carolyn Vincent, RMC has recently provided a checklist to examine these dimensions. As we proceed, ask yourself how your own project stacks up.

  24. Leadership Common purpose Curriculum Instruction Assessment Use of time Professional Development Coaching/Support Use of recurring resources District support RMC Implementation Checklist

  25. Leadership Common purpose Curriculum Instruction Assessment Use of time Professional Development Coaching/Support Use of recurring resources District support RMC Implementation Checklist

  26. Leadership Job descriptions, supervision, evaluation of leaders’ support for reading improvement.

  27. Leadership Leadership is distributed among staff and across instructional areas & roles.

  28. Leadership Turnover of key staff is managed by planned succession- & reading-based hiring practices.

  29. Klingner et al. (1999) found that when principals consistently supported what was presented in professional development, teachers implemented and maintained the practices. Janette Klingner

  30. Leadership • District staff actively support scientifically research based reading improvement practices.

  31. Leadership Common purpose Curriculum Instruction Assessment Use of time Professional Development Coaching/Support Use of recurring resources District support RMC Implementation Checklist

  32. Common purpose • Leaders communicate regularly w/staff to sustain vision, beliefs, expectations, goals & commitments for reading success.

  33. Common purpose • Leaders develop & nurture a culture of doing things in ways consistent with scientifically research based reading practices. • Leaders acknowledge staff efforts that help make a difference in student performance.

  34. Common purpose • Leaders organize school structures (e.g., committees, schedules) & resources (budget, staffing) in alignment with effective reading practices.

  35. Common purpose Leaders assure that all staff understand & act upon the variables which impact student learning.

  36. Common purpose • Leaders provide supervision and support to strengthen reading instruction.

  37. Common purpose • Leaders assure that all instructional areas collaborate to create a coordinated reading program.

  38. Common purpose Instructional planning occurs within and across grade levels to assure consistency & seamlessness.