ReadWorks plans to train and support 45 teacher leaders, who work directly with a minimum of 630 local teachers to improve literacy-based instructional practices over the two-year grant. In year one of the Teacher Practice Networks grant, 18 teacher leaders (TLs) in Columbia County, Florida and New York City (NYC) are leading local teacher cohorts in instructional practices aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) using ReadWorks curricula. By year two of the grant, ReadWorks plans to scale its support to a total of 45 teacher leaders in the same two districts, who will continue to lead content area teachers through professional learning cycles of learning new literacy-based strategies, implementing in practice and reflecting on practice.
Strategies for Supporting Teacher Leaders to Advance Common Core
Network Support for Teacher Leaders
ReadWorks provides direct support to its TLs to increase confidence and capability with implementing the Common Core instructional shifts in their own practice and to effectively lead their peers in standards-based practice using curricula from ReadWorks’ library of content-rich, nonfiction materials.
Utilizing a combination of in-person, online, video, and phone engagements, TLs participate in ReadWorks training and learning sessions, while developing competency in Common Core-aligned instruction and increased knowledge of how these materials support improved reading comprehension for students. Through video or in-person observations, TLs are observed leading professional learning and provided feedback. TLs are also supported in their public speaking skills and encouraged to present at national and local conferences.
ReadWorks teacher leaders are active implementers of ReadWorks materials in their K–8 classrooms and are developed into becoming ambassadors of the research- and literacy-based pedagogy. Teacher leaders are vetted via phone or video interviews, and are selected for their commitment to this work. ReadWorks provides TLs with initial training on the Article-A-Day program, which serves as an entry-point to learning other literacy-based instructional strategies, and continues with ongoing support and feedback sessions with the TLs.
Teacher Leaders Working with Teachers
Teacher leaders in Columbia County each lead a district-based cohort of 20 teachers, while each NYC TL leads a school-site cohort of 10 teachers. Teacher leaders conduct a range of activities with their local teacher cohorts similar to that experienced in their own TL training. Teacher leaders facilitate in-person professional learning, modeling CCSS-aligned pedagogical approaches, sharing ReadWorks’ standards-aligned materials, and collaborating with teachers in designing new resources.
Partnerships with Local Education Agencies
ReadWorks has agreements with leaders in two districts — Columbia County School District in Florida and NYC DOE (participating schools only) — to ensure that TLs have flexibility in their teaching schedules to learn and lead professional development.
For the past few years, elementary teachers in Columbia County, FL have been teaching with ReadWorks tools and resources with high usage, and the district’s instructional leadership team has developed a relationship with ReadWorks. Columbia County School District is committed to supporting 13 teacher leaders initially, plus five more in year two.
ReadWorks also has a relationship with leaders of the Office of Curriculum, Instruction & Professional Learning in NYC, but will leverage its strong and longstanding relationships with selected principals and schools in NYC for this initiative. Five NYC teacher leaders will start in the first year, and 22 additional TLs will participate in the second year. All teacher leaders will come from schools implementing ReadWorks’ Article-A-Day.
68 Jay Street #426
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Katy Laird, Project Leader
2014 – 2015 Initiative of ReadWorks
Primary Grant Focus
To advance teacher knowledge of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) instructional shifts in literacy and effective research-based practices in reading comprehension, ReadWorks is developing comprehensive teacher training and guidance for integration with its curriculum offering and website. ReadWorks is also building a new technology platform in which teacher and student user/usage data and feedback are collected and utilized to prescribe specific curriculum and guidance to teachers.
Strategies for Supporting Common Core Success
ReadWorks is working closely with a literacy expert to develop a new reference tool for educators, Literacy How-to Handbook: Linking What We Know to What We Do. This handbook is intended to provide guidance in integrating research-based strategies that help teachers make CCSS-aligned shifts in their literacy instruction. Once complete, the open-access handbook can be accessed digitally and utilized by individual teachers, instructional leaders for professional development, and teacher teams for collaborative learning.
ReadWorks currently offers a searchable database of CCSS-aligned lessons, units, and text passages for grades K-12, and is building a new technology platform that will expand current online activities to support teacher learning of CCSS-aligned instructional practices. The new platform is intended to improve teacher knowledge of the instructional shifts and provide access to high-quality curriculum within a formal online network of teachers. Capturing and analyzing user and usage data will improve the site’s effectiveness in supporting teachers’ implementation of the CCSS.