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Professional Learning Offerings: New Jersey Student Learning Standards for ELA

In response to the newly adopted New Jersey State English/Language Arts Standards, Schoolwide’s Professional Learning Team has created supportive PD opportunities that can be provided through on-site, virtual, or recorded offerings.

 

Get out NJSLS Professional Learning overview here

 

Our topic areas are closely aligned with the criteria that the state of New Jersey used to implement these changes, with flexible formats designed with the appropriate session length and depth in mind for each focus area. We look forward to delving into these important topics with you and your team.

 

Tell us more about your focus areas or opportunities for professional learning!

Literacy-Rich Environments: Understanding the Many Important Layers

Throughout this school year, we have embarked on some very inspiring journeys with our partner school districts, with many exciting things happening within our Partners for Progress Professional Learning framework. As a theme, we are noticing that many educational leaders are interested in understanding how to establish a long-lasting framework that supports teaching, learning, and student improvement. In many cases, this requires truly looking inward, assessing current practices and resources, analyzing data, and sometimes, reimagining things from the beginning (which we find to be incredibly brave and inspiring!). 

 

We have led curriculum and professional learning practices audits alongside partners, and we are filled with optimism because of their willingness to do all of the aforementioned in order to set themselves and their students up for success. One area that we have emphasized, in particular, is creating a Literacy-Rich Environment. You’ve likely heard this phrase, but have you considered the many layers, or types of environments, that work together to achieve a literacy-rich environment?

 

In this blog, we provide these different types, corresponding themes, and some key questions or observations that we suggest considering.

 

The Physical Environment: Moving Beyond Design & Layout…Towards Agency & Independence 

 

Quite often, when we imagine surrounding our students with positive learning experiences, we may think of the physical environment first. School and classroom setup and “spaces” likely come to mind, like desk configuration, the teacher area, gathering areas, collaborative areas, the classroom library, and stations and/or centers.

 

We may also think about how resources are made available, like the accessibility of tools, paper, and pencils, technology access, word walls, anchor charts, and other tools that honor different learning styles or work habits. 

 

Beyond “spaces”, when considering a physical school or classroom environment, here are some key areas to think about: 

 

    • Agency: Does the environment promote student agency, independence, and curiosity?
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    • Access: Do students have visual and physical access to learning supports that are relevant and reflect best practice?
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    • Inclusion: Does the environment promote an inclusive, accepting culture in which students see themselves and their own experiences reflected, and can connect with others? (reflective of Windows and Mirrors) 
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    • Responsiveness: Is the environment itself responsive to different student learning preferences/styles?
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    • Presentation of Student Work: Is there student work present and visible, and is it notated with focused and student-friendly feedback?

 

 

The Student-Centered Learning Environment: Focusing on Community

 

Going a layer deeper, it’s important to look at how we can create student-centered learning environments (phrases like social-emotional or responsive learning environments may come to mind). There are several considerations in this category, so we will provide a few that stand out to us – many of which demonstrate a focus on creating an environment that supports ALL learners.

 

    • A strong sense of community and connection
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    • Representation of cultures, family structures, and differently-abled students within the classroom library
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    • Co-created anchor charts that encourage students to participate in their construction
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    • A space where students feel comfortable asking questions and feel empowered to take risks
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    • Opportunities for students to work at their own pace and explore their own interests, while also having VOICE and CHOICE with regard to things like books they want to read and topics they want to write about
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    • Conversations occurring in a variety of settings (whole-class, turn-and-talk, share time, small group, partners)

 

 

The Literacy and Learning Environment: Supporting Feedback, Collaboration, & Celebration

 

When we consider an environment that is both student-centered and sets students up for success in developing as readers and writers, there are even more specific areas that are important to address. While, again, there are many considerations we recommend, here are a few to get you thinking:

 

    • Progressions of Learning: demonstrating exemplars of proficiency for students to access
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    • Assessment Tools such as Checklists, Rubrics, Reflection forms, etc…
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    • Lessons that are responsive, current and relevant: connecting the curriculum to students’ lives, state standards, and interests
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    • Conversational moves are modeled, posted, and practiced by the teacher and students (stems to facilitate talk, lessons on listening to one another, speaking one at a time, looking at one another, responding to and building on each other’s ideas)
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    • Students Recognized as Readers and Writers: It is important for students to be recognized by teachers as readers and writers, while being reminded that they are part of a reading and writing community. It is our responsibility as educators, to inspire young learners to see the readers, writers, and authors inside of them. In addition to referring to readers and writers, we may also help students discover their identities as readers and writers by allowing them to explore and share “I am a reader who….” or “I am a writer who….”, and even more impactful, is when teachers and school leaders also participate in this exercise and share their reading and writing identities as positive models. 
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    • Mentor Texts are Used Often and are Made Visible and Accessible: Authentic literature is at the center of effective literacy instruction and serves as mentor models for students to learn from and enjoy. These diverse and engaging resources invite students to experience stories while also building their content knowledge and gaining the reading, writing, listening, and communication skills that they need to become literate individuals. Because mentor texts play such a critical role in student learning, they should be visible and accessible, always, for students to also explore and experience in their time outside of whole-class instruction or interactive read-alouds. 
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    • Continuous Feedback and Opportunities for Reflection and Growth:  A strong literacy-learning environment includes opportunities for students to experience growth in ‘real time.’  This means that teachers will have protocols for giving feedback and will provide ample time for reflection.  One of the best ways to give feedback to students is through one-on-one conferring or providing time for peer conferences. 
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    • Interactive/Shared Reading and Writing Experiences  There’s nothing like sharing the pen, or inviting students to share their oral reading experiences with the teacher.  Ensuring that your Literacy and Learning environment reflects collaboration and ‘sharing’ is a critical component of your instructional decision-making and will help to enhance a strong sense of community. 
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    • Celebrations:  One of the best ways to enhance your learning community is through providing opportunities for celebrations. Hosting publishing parties, creating a protocol with an ‘author’s chair,’ gallery walks, and celebratory graffiti walls are all examples of celebrating the efforts of your students.

 

 

Our team of literacy experts has hosted many vibrant sessions on this topic. If you are interested in understanding the important layers of building a strong and lasting literacy-rich environment, please contact us by emailing ProfessionalLearning@schoolwide.com.

Grammar Fundamentals: Professional Learning Packages

We are excited to offer strategic and targeted professional learning opportunities, available to be purchased as 2-day/session packages with Schoolwide’s Grammar Fundamentals resources. 

 

These sessions are provided by one of our literacy experts and are designed to provide the foundation for implementing Grammar instruction in your classroom seamlessly and effectively.  All sessions include a follow-up live virtual Q&A with our expert.

 

Tell us more about your focus areas or opportunities for professional learning!

Schoolwide Releases the Next Generation of Grammar Fundamentals Available for the 24-25 School Year

The revised product, now available for Grades K-5, includes embedded multilingual supports and a strong emphasis on integrating grammar instruction with authentic reading and writing experiences.

Schoolwide is excited to announce that the next generation of our grammar resource, Grammar Fundamentals: Language Structures & Conventions, is now available for purchasing. Materials will be available to ship over the summer of 2024.

 

Standout features of the newly revised units include:

 

  • Intentional and accessible lesson design in color
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  • Embedded supports and scaffolds for multilingual learners and learners with diverse needs
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  • Appendices with Spanish cognates and tips for Total Physical Response (TPR)
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  • Authentic literature that creates opportunities for students to experience listening, reading, and thinking like a writer
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  • Additional foci on different sentence types, sentence formation, composition, structure, and sentence form
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  • Implementation models and suggestions that are flexible to different classroom needs
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  • And so much more! Learn more here. 

 

Download lesson samples for Grade K and Grade 4. 

 

Flexible Implementation

 

The units offer accessibly designed lesson formats that give teachers the flexibility to embed grammar learning directly in writing instruction, or create an effective and manageable integration of grammar skills into an already established literacy block. 

 

Grammar Fundamentals is uniquely designed to supplement core literacy resources in a way that embeds the skills and strategies within real reading and writing experiences. A variation of lessons and student practice opportunities can be used in a 2-3 day per week model, for a range of 15-30 minutes per day. This provides teachers with an intuitive, flexible plan for implementing grammar learning, even when limited time is available within the literacy block. 

 

Grammar Teaching and Learning for Multilingual Learners

 

Brand new to the revised edition of Grammar Fundamentals is the inclusion of Multilingual Learner supports and scaffolds created by experts in the field of bilingual and special education. The supports include linguistic and nonlinguistic strategies that guide and complement instruction, help to create differentiated learning tools, provide translations, and embed high-impact visual anchor charts within each lesson, as well as demonstration notebook models to support teachers. Schoolwide’s approach to Multilingual scaffolds was focused on two primary goals: creating instruction and content that is accessible and ensuring ample opportunities to support oral language development

 

Schoolwide is partnering with schools and districts in an early adoption program to gather insights on different classroom use cases for Grammar Fundamentals, and we look forward to sharing our findings. 

The revised Grammar Fundamentals Kits (with Mentor Texts) can now be purchased by any interested school or district. Learn more here, and please contact our Sales team for more details and samples. 

Schoolwide Launches New e-Reader Experience in Digital Teaching & Learning Platform, Fundamentals Unlimited

We're so excited to introduce our upgraded e-Reader experience in Fundamentals Unlimited!

Schoolwide’s new and improved e-Reader has launched in our digital teaching and learning platform, Fundamentals Unlimited. The e-Reader upgrade will offer educators and students a modern user interface – both on and offline – and a range of new tools and capabilities to make learning via the e-Reader more accessible to more students. 

 

Our e-Reader upgrade was focused particularly on creating a more interactive and immersive reading and learning experience, so that students can more actively engage with texts, and similarly, so teachers can enhance their instruction. It also promotes opportunities for both personalized and self-directed learning. With the new e-Reader now live, Schoolwide has also launched some instructional materials in the interface, including the Decodable Texts & Teaching Plans Teacher’s Guides and Guided Reading Plans. We are looking forward to exploring how we might bring other Fundamentals curricula and professional resources into the e-Reader experience. 

 

Some notable features of the new e-Reader include:

 

  • Bookmark pages, add notes, and highlight text
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  • Search within the text
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  • Share texts with annotated teaching points with your students
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  • Easily access teaching materials via the Resources tab (currently available in instructional materials and Read & Learn Along texts in the e-Reader) and through clickable “hot spots” – access teaching plans, assessments, and more!

 

You can view a short video tutorial of the new e-Reader experience below and access slides with a Step-by-Step guide: 

What else is new?

Now available in our e-Reader are 26 interactive Read And Learn Along texts, exclusively from Schoolwide. Read & Learn Along e-Books offer an exciting and interactive reading experience for students, featuring a unique dual narrative experience (read-aloud text with teaching points). The e-Books combine quality text and vibrant images with the strategic integration of research-based teaching points, prompts, and questions. With Read And Learn Alongs:

 

  • Strengthen students’ reading and language comprehension
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  • Build vocabulary and content knowledge
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  • Model critical thinking for students

 

Read And Learn Alongs also include embedded teaching materials, including Multiple-Choice Quizzes to check for reading comprehension, lists of Key Vocabulary, and a comprehensive overview of all narrated Teaching Points. Learn more in our Step-by-Step guide!

 

Schoolwide Launches the Schoolwide Shop with Foundational Footsteps Phonics Skill Builders

E-commerce launch brings a new line of products directly to teachers

 

Schoolwide is excited to share that we’ve officially launched the Schoolwide Shop, our e-commerce website designed to connect educators with a new line of supplemental literacy resources, all at a friendly price point. 

 

The Shop will create new opportunities for teachers, specialists, coaches, homeschool educators, and parents to have access to Schoolwide products to supplement and enrich their core instruction, provide important family literacy engagement connections, and create more responsive instruction for students who need specific opportunities for practice and skill reinforcement. 

 

Schoolwide’s first e-commerce offering is a new supplemental phonics resource, Phonics Skill Builders, part of the Foundational Footsteps line. Designed to strengthen K-3 phonics instruction, the Phonics Skill Builders series contains 6 different resources, each focused on a specific skill, including: Consonants & Short Vowels (CVC Words), Digraphs & Blends, Long Vowel Sounds, R-Controlled Vowels & Diphthongs, Multisyllabic Words – Syllable Types, and Multisyllabic Words – Prefixes & Suffixes. 

 

To celebrate our launch, all first-time customers can use the discount code FFLAUNCH15 to receive a 15% discount on your whole order!

 

 

Visit shop.schoolwide.com to learn more!

 

More About Foundational Footsteps Phonics Skill Builders

 

Foundational Footsteps Phonics Skill Builders are here! This new-to-market supplemental resource is made to enhance phonics instruction in K-3 classrooms (and at home!) by targeting specific skills that young readers must master on their path to learning how to read. 

 

🎯 Key Features and Benefits:

 

✅ Your Go-To Supplemental Phonics Resource: experience the ease of having comprehensive, skill-specific introductory lessons, assessments, cumulative reviews, decodable texts, engaging activities, and more in a single supplemental resource. A fantastic addition to your core instruction!

 

💰 Friendly Price Point: affordable for teachers, coaches, specialists, parents, and homeschool educators, making quality phonics instruction accessible to all.

 

📚 Connecting Skill Mastery to Reading: give students opportunities to practice specific phonics skills with engaging activities, decodable texts, and skill reviews.

 

🏫 Classroom or Home Use: perfect for classroom instruction or at-home learning, creating opportunities for family literacy engagement.

 

🔍 Suitable for Various Learning Styles: accommodate diverse learners with engaging activities that cater to different learning preferences.

 

📝 Easy-to-Follow Lessons: step-by-step, explicit introductory lessons that make teaching phonics more intuitive.

 

👉 Check out the link below to visit our shop and buy yours today!

 

Shop Foundational Footsteps > >

Inquiry-Based Learning & NCSS’ New Definition of ‘Social Studies’

Earlier in November, the National Council for Social Studies approved a new definition of social studies. You might be thinking, “Why is this important?” Well, it is for several reasons. 

 

Let’s start with the changes to the definition.

 

The prior definition, as interpreted by different states, led us to understand that social studies is intended to promote civic competence through the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities (NCSS, 2023). 

 

While the word “promote” was appropriate to use, the verbs have now changed in the newly revised version. Using phrases like “inquiry-based approach” and “examine vast human experiences,” the focus seems to have shifted to a more contemporary lens, depicting issues that impact all citizens, young and old. 

 

This new definition also reflects a more active role of the student, leading them to consider a myriad of perspectives when generating opinions about what has shaped our world. It has the potential to inspire students to question, think about what is just, and then find ways to resolve challenges for different groups of people. 

 

An emphasis on equity

 

It’s also worth noting the change in disciplines referenced as part of the new definition. While some remained, the newly crafted definition includes several areas that represent equity

 

The specific areas of study mentioned in the revised definition include history, geography, cultural geography, human geography, economics, government, citizenship, civics, psychology, sociology, political science, international relations, anthropology, archaeology, gender studies, LGBTQ+ studies, ethnic studies (African American studies, Asian American and Pacific Islander studies, Indigenous studies, and Latin American studies), human rights and social justice, including human rights education, social justice issues, international organizations, and genocide studies, financial literacy (different from economics), and finally, contemporary issues, including courses in current events and the study of one or more social studies topics in current contexts (NCSS, 2023). 

 

An inquiry-based approach

 

As previously stated, the primary purpose of social studies was to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world (NCSS, 2023). However, this updated version seems to lead educators and scholars to consider using an inquiry-based approach, one that “helps students examine vast human experiences through the generation of questions, collection, and analysis of evidence from credible sources, consideration of multiple perspectives, and the application of social studies knowledge and disciplinary skills” (NCSS, 2023).  

 

In asking students to examine the past while participating in the present and learning how to shape the future, the newly defined social studies will prepare learners for a lifelong practice of civil discourse and civic engagement in their communities. Social studies will now center on the knowledge of human rights and local, national, and global responsibilities so that we can work together to create a just world in which we want to live.

 

What we believe about inquiry-based learning

 

One of the things that we feel strongly about at Schoolwide is the importance of promoting active learning in the classroom. The role of discourse is crucial, which is why we strategically replace some of our direct instruction with questions that produce thoughtful conversations. This line of inquiry creates opportunities for students to learn more and develop deeper understandings because we incorporate a process that includes student thinking, reflecting, researching, conversing, affirming, and revising. 

 

Similar to science, true inquiry begins with a question that students explore as they learn. Through the use of a matrix, our Fundamentals units invite students to focus on an enduring understanding while exploring answers to essential questions and sub-questions.

 

Our goal in Schoolwide’s units is for students to assume the role of researcher. By using open-ended questions, students are not memorizing facts but instead are synthesizing information from multiple sources and determining what is important and relevant. 

 

Inquiry-based learning and its importance for the support of multilingual learners

 

When teachers use an inquiry approach, they are honoring the practice of using background knowledge as a launchpad for discussion and affirmation for multilingual learners. 

 

Inquiry also invites students to think, share, pose questions, and research in a safe climate while feeling supported by the modeling of their classroom teachers. By inviting students to activate and value their curiosity, exploration and discovery quickly follow. Content or interdisciplinary experiences provide natural scaffolds for students to learn through multiple genres, through discourse, and through activating their personal knowledge toolbox or schema. 

 

Because multilingual learners are learning new content and a new language simultaneously, how information and content are shared is critical (Jana Echevarria, 2022, “Reflections on Teaching Multilingual Learners”, Using Inquiry-Based Learning with Multilingual Learners). That’s why we provide objectives after an introductory exploratory activity. The exploration aspect is preserved, yet the purpose of the lesson and learning outcomes are clarified for students 

 

When thinking about content literacy, language and vocabulary become a focus. Our units provide the research, the practices, and the support (TPR, list-group-label, semantic gradients, visual representations of words, etc.). Provisions for linguistic and nonlinguistic representation of words are critical for students to develop a stronger understanding of unfamiliar words and phrases. 

 

How we are thinking about evolving our resources in the lens of inquiry 

 

So, what does this all mean for how we’re further developing our future resources? We know that we must create a renewed focus on knowledge attainment and inquiry:

 

  • We want to enhance the experience of building background knowledge 

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  • We want to design lessons with the intention for each student to become an expert in an aspect of the content being studied

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  • We want to create Inquiry lessons that resonate with students

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  • We want to continue to create lessons that include meaningful activities that integrate the lesson’s concepts with opportunities to practice and develop reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills

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  • We want to reinforce the notion that good researchers reflect on their outcomes and are open to affirm, revise, or learn from others

 

A final thought on inquiry and student-led learning 

 

Inquiry-based lessons that incorporate the use of primary sources, project-based learning, and a compelling question in every lesson will challenge and grow students’ critical thinking skills and abilities and prepare them for future roles in our society. 



 

 

 

 

Sources: 

 

National Council for the Social Studies:

 

Reflections on Teaching Multilingual Learners: Using Inquiry-Based Learning with Multilingual Learners

“Included, Invested, and Treated with Respect” – A View on Successful Professional Learning Partnerships

In an earlier article, Keys to Sustaining a Professional Learning Program that Sticks, we explored the opportunities, methods, and mindsets for building and district leaders to create long-term, sustained impact through professional learning. In a similar theme, we recently checked in with two of our professional learning consultants, Marina Moran and Bridget Nolen, about how to keep educators engaged, motivated, and….even excited (yes, excited!) about professional learning opportunities.

 

Read their thoughts below.

 

Marina Moran, Professional Learning Consultant for Schoolwide:

 

My best response to your question is that there is not a fixed formula or recipe for promoting adult learners’ engagement. In my experience, it has always been a process that requires a lot of listening and diagnosing on my part to meet learners halfway. Needs can be very diverse within a group due to age, length of experience, and talent, so maintaining flexibility and offering ideas in a variety of ways always helps.  

 

There are intellectuals who want to know the research behind practices and there are also pragmatics who want to walk away with an applicable strategy the second they leave the session. I strive to provide a balanced diet of both, the strategy (WHAT we do) and the rationale or research base (WHY we do it).  

 

Giving back the work is also usually effective to maintain engagement during portions of a session. I often find that educators like to put themselves in the role of the students and experience simulations to better understand the impact of some practices. They also like to spend time applying skills with guidance (not different from what we do with kids).

 

In all cases, being responsive to the needs, personalities, and moods of the participants at a given moment is what contributes to the efficacy of a session. And that can sometimes be a juggling act, but a worthwhile one!” 



Bridget Nolen, Professional Learning Consultant for Schoolwide:



“How do I keep educators engaged in professional learning? I think about it in the same way I’d think about keeping students engaged: by knowing how much information to include in a short amount of time and how to unpack the layers of knowledge they need to be successful. From my perspective, engagement happens when teachers feel motivated to make shifts. And that happens when teachers are included, invested, and treated with respect for the professionals they are.   

 

Building relationships and developing a culture of support is important at the beginning of a partnership. You build trust with teachers by asking what they need to be successful, and when you follow through and follow up on their questions and requests. Teachers have lots of demands on their time and attention, so empathizing with their circumstances while giving them manageable and efficient tips for delivering new curriculum is important.   

 

When it comes to getting educators excited about professional learning, I focus on appealing to their beliefs about student learning. If they believe students are capable and brilliant, then they naturally want to help them reach their highest potential. That’s the same with professional learning. It’s the teachers’ opportunity to reflect upon and improve their practice, which is time we all need and deserve. We can set ambitious goals together and then provide ongoing support to get there.”

 

 

The mission of the Schoolwide Professional Learning Team is to inspire educators to embrace best practices and deliver innovative and responsive literacy instruction, in collaborative, dynamic learning environments in which teaching and learning are authentic, engaging, and respectful of all learners. 

 

Meet our educators > > 

 

Learn more about our professional learning offering Partners for Progress > > 

 

Read more about our approach to professional learning in our 23-24 Literacy Sampler > >

 

Interested in speaking with our team? Send us a note any time!

Q&A: Collaborative Planning for Tier 2 Intervention

With this school year in full swing, we’ve been excited to see how Schoolwide’s new resources, including our recently released Decodable Texts Teaching Plans, are coming to life in literacy instruction. We are connecting with educators about how these resources support Tier 2 intervention, and providing strategic professional learning opportunities to educators involved in the process. 

 

We sat down with Eileen Hodrinsky, a former elementary classroom teacher, reading specialist, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, to discuss a critical, yet sometimes overlooked, component of an effective intervention program: collaboration. We hope to highlight opportunities for educators to partner together.

 

Our conversation with Eileen Hodrinksy follows:

 

Q: When it comes to Tier 2 intervention, and MTSS frameworks overall, we often talk about the data-driven components. But what about the “people-driven” components to effective implementation of Tier 2 intervention efforts?

 

Eileen: This is a great place to start this conversation. Yes, data analysis and access to literacy data are crucial components of successful intervention efforts. But in order to source that data, people need to work together effectively. When this happens, data can be more accurately sourced and shared, student progress can be more effectively tracked, and the experience for the students themselves will be far more positive. There should be a feeling of “we’re in this together!”

 

Q: What kind of collaboration is important for Tier 2 intervention?

 

Eileen: The ability to develop a plan alongside other key stakeholders is essential. Even if you’re set up with quality research-backed resources, if there aren’t strong lines of communication between the intervention teacher and other educators or influencers involved in the students’ learning, the efforts can easily become disjointed and ineffective. 

 

Just as the Tier 2 reading intervention resources should involve a systematic process, so should the planning. There needs to be a detailed, coordinated plan that clearly identifies the roles and responsibilities of the various parties who are supporting the student. And, intervention teachers should not only have the opportunity to develop the plan collaboratively with other stakeholders but also have time devoted to checking in on that plan’s progress. Rather than being an isolated effort, intervention should lead to progress in the classroom, and even at home!

 

Q: Who are the key stakeholders when it comes to collaborative planning and communication?

 

Eileen: It’s important for an intervention teacher or specialist to have opportunities to communicate regularly with the classroom teacher (Tier 1), as well as other support personnel, like speech and language teachers, special education teachers, and any third-party literacy consultants who may have exposure to the students. 

 

The classroom teacher will be able to share the focus of Tier 1 instruction and will have insight and observations about at-risk students’ attitudes and behaviors. They will know how the student is progressing and applying the strategies practiced during Tier 2 intervention. 

 

Administrators also have an important role to play, as they often look at literacy instruction holistically, as well as how intervention efforts fit into overall MTSS frameworks. 

 

Q: What about communication with parents or guardians?

 

Eileen: This is so important! While students spend a significant time in the classroom, they’re spending far more time at home with parents and guardians. Parents and guardians can help answer questions like: how are at-risk students reading at home? Are they exhibiting signs of disinterest or frustration? Are they attempting to independently problem-solve when they meet with challenging texts, or do they immediately ask for help? But, in order for parents and guardians to play an active, supportive role in students’ progress, they must be brought into the process from the beginning. This goes back to the earlier point about establishing a coordinated effort with all important stakeholders. 

 

As educators, we really need to give families the tools to be active and engaged participators in helping their children close learning gaps. That feeling of connected support in all environments is so important for young learners. 

 

Q: So, with all of the clear benefits in mind, what gets in the way of collaboration and communication?

 

Eileen: The reality is, all of these stakeholders have their own challenges and priorities. For example, intervention teachers often face barriers like limited access to quality materials for their instruction, or sometimes, limited instructional knowledge, which can leave them feeling unprepared to effectively support students. 

 

Administrators are often looking at their literacy instruction as a whole, including what portion of their students are meeting grade-level literacy expectations and state standards based on multiple assessment measures. They are looking for where there are gaps in the instructional programs. Administrators are also tasked with scheduling and staffing, and ensuring staff is appropriately prepared to lead intervention efforts. Time is often a common challenge shared by all. 

 

While these stakeholders have different perspectives, collaboration and communication can actually be the key to overcoming many of these challenges. If you feel a lack of connection in your school, my advice would be to proactively open those lines of communication. 

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