Teaching and Learning Report

To: Michael Green

From: Asha Riley

Date: December 10, 2019

Re: Teaching & Learning

 

RWT-BEI Mini-Grant:

I am pleased to share that we received award notice for a $10,000 mini-grant to explore the implementation of the Recruiting Washington Teachers program. These funds will be used to help develop the pathway from our high school Early Childhood Education CTE program towards teacher certification by collaborating with LCC’s new Bachelor of Education program. 

The overarching goal of the Recruiting Washington Teachers (RWT) program is to “grow our own” diverse group of future teachers who more closely reflect the population of today’s children and youth. RWT is a high school Washington teacher academy program, founded in equity pedagogy, which helps students to explore cultural identity and educational opportunities through the lens of the teaching profession.

By supporting participants as they complete high school, apply to and attend college, the RWT program strengthens the pathway from high school to teaching, with the goal that students will become not only certified teachers, but also education leaders who make a difference in their communities.

LETRS Survey Results: 

Survey results from our teachers regarding our LETRS training and curriculum show that the majority of K-4 teachers are extremely comfortable building foundational skills lesson with the template and strategies given in the workshop. 

There were also suggestions of critical next steps to take, which include working with grade-level teams to make plans on how to embed these best practices from the training, to develop systematic phonics instruction, and align lessons to make sure all are teaching the same skills to students. 

I am working with building coaches to develop a plan to continue conversations of best practices and embed within our current curriculum. Thus far, I have seen a significant increase in the use of these practices across our primary classrooms.  I believe this training is one of the best investments we’ve recently made to improve reaching achievement in our district.

Dyslexia Conference: 

Last month, along with several other staff members, I attended the International Dyslexia Conference. 

It was one of the best professional development experiences I’ve participated in! Researchers and practitioners from around the world attended to share key findings, new developments, and reliable practices. 

Dr. Jan Hasbrouck, a brilliant researcher and practitioner, shared her recent study that affirmed 20+ years of research. In summary, research shows that effective primary classroom teachers can reduce the percentage of children who do not perform on grade level to 5% of the population. Evidence shows that with appropriate intensive instruction, all but the most severe reading disabilities can be ameliorated in the early grades and students can get on track to academic success.

She also reiterated that the measure of Oral Reading Fluency is the most effective indicator that intervention is needed. Characteristics of an effective Oral Reading Fluency assessment are that they must measure students' automaticity (ability to effortlessly recognize and read with expression with accuracy), be norm-referenced, and criterion-based. These types of assessments are the most accurate tools for determining whether or not a reader is lagging behind as a result of dyslexia or other causes. I am pleased our new Acadience tool is this kind of assessment.

During the conference, other notable leaders in the field of reading instruction, like Anita Archer, highlighted the research and best practices we have been studying in our LETRS workshops with teachers. It was very affirming to know our efforts to advance reading instruction in our primary classrooms are on target. As I reflect on the conference as a whole, the speakers reminded us that diagnosing dyslexia is not the goal. The goal is to recognize lagging reading skills and intervene early with effective instructional practices that are good for all readers. In Woodland, I am pleased we are implementing the right tools and training our staff with the right strategies and best practices. Therefore, it is my hope we can truly achieve the goal of all students reading at grade level by third grade.