Initiative Overview

EL Learning is partnering with Colorado and New York districts to pilot a teacher leadership model that will build capacity to support the use of its nationally recognized literacy curriculum. The model is built on teacher-to-teacher learning that deepens teacher practice in using EL’s open-source literacy curriculum—which teachers use widely, but often unaccompanied by any professional learning support—to help students meet the high bar of achievement set by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Strategies for Advancing Common Core

Teacher Leaders

Coaches who are experienced with EL’s instructional materials and pedagogical strategies are training up to 400 teacher leaders on the literacy curriculum and CCSS-aligned strategies they can use with their peers at their respective sites. Teacher leaders are trained to coach and to hone their skills on providing in-person constructive feedback to colleagues. Teacher leaders collaborate with EL coaches to create and pilot new program tools—such as facilitator agendas for training sessions, a coaching handbook, resources for teaching English learners, and district-relevant scope and sequences—for scaling this work in other districts and states.

Teacher Leadership Capacity

To build capacity within districts, teacher leaders participate in in-person trainings on leadership practices (e.g., goal setting, “learning walks”); attend institutes on instructional strategies; access EL’s suite of professional learning packages on an array of topics (e.g., coaching, instructional modules, data use); and participate in online communities of practice with other in-state teacher leaders.

EL will introduce the online Learning Management System, which will provide teacher leaders with self-paced, online courses aimed at providing continued in-depth learning and track their progress in leadership activities and professional growth.


EL has existing partnerships with districts in Denver, Colorado and Jamestown and Brockport, New York and is deepening its district-level work in those locations to develop teacher leadership capacity for improving CCSS-aligned instructional practices in literacy.

General Information

EL Learning
247 W. 35th Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Eadie Wilson-Beeler, Director of Development
(212) 239-4455

2013 – 2015 Initiative of EL Learning

Primary Grant Focus

EL Education’s two primary goals for this BMGF initiative are to deepen teacher understanding of the instructional shifts required by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by:

  • Using a blended approach of online and face-to-face learning opportunities to engage EL teachers.
  • Field-testing and refining a model of CCSS virtual support that can be scaled up to reach teachers nationwide.

Strategies for Supporting Common Core Success

EL Education has launched several web-based strategies that have been critical to developing teacher capacity for improving student achievement.

  • EL has leveraged its high-quality curriculum modules (developed two years ago for New York State’s grades 3-8 teachers under a different contract) by expanding access to the modules beyond the New York and New Jersey area. EL has combined these teacher-created modules with online professional support, enabling a broader reach to schools and districts across the nation. There have been more than 2.1 million downloads of these open-source modules from the Engage NY website. They are rated as exemplary for their alignment to the Common Core based on Achieve’s EQuIP rubric, which is used to evaluate the quality and CCSS alignment of lessons and units.
  • Capitalizing on its extensive experience creating and supporting face-to-face communities of practice, EL has launched Common Ground, its first online community of practice. This virtual opportunity enables K-12 educators who participate in EL’s live, multi-day professional development institutes to stay connected to one another and extend learning during and after the institute. This blended learning model aims to deepen teacher engagement in CCSS implementation, promote dialogue, and give teachers focused and ongoing ways to continue learning.
  • EL also offers a new online resource, Professional Learning Packs, which are a collection of digital resources designed to complement EL workshops and institutes and deepen teacher learning. Designed by teachers to foster communities of practice, each pack combines texts, videos, relevant research, and discussion questions for teachers to use in self-study or in small- or large-group professional development.  They are designed to be dynamic to meet changing needs.
  • EL offers K-12 educators online Common Ground opportunities to learn together by joining an online book club. Using Ning as the online platform, the virtual book club engages teachers in “live” opening and closing sessions with talks by EL book authors and invites teachers to engage with one another in an asynchronous discussion for several weeks. EL has recently launched its second online book club focused on the organization’s second book, Transformational Literacy: Making the Common Core Shift with Work that Matters.