The mission of our English Language Arts Department is for staff, families, and community members to work in partnership to ensure that all students have adequate and equitable access to high-quality literacy instructional experiences that will prepare them to graduate ready to transform their communities and beyond. As part of our theory of action, we believe that if we support teachers in developing and delivering aligned, rigorous, and engaging literacy instruction (including targeted professional development for reading instruction), and if we use varied, intentional, and common literacy assessment data coupled with individualized student learning, then we will achieve equitable outcomes in which every student thrives, and every school is high performing.
Our district was already engaged in a professional development program for literacy in grades K-3 when we learned about a new offering that had been created specifically for adolescent reading instruction. We were instantly interested, knowing that we had interrupted and unfinished teaching and learning, especially in grades 4 through 8 as a result of the global pandemic.
The fact is, too many of our students had advanced to middle and high school without being able to read at grade level yet. We had intervention programs in place: Some students were enrolled in Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS), and others were receiving additional specialized instruction related to literacy and reading.