Happy March is Reading Month! Choice Schools is an organization dedicated to furthering student academic achievement, and our work starts with our commitment to literacy. The newly redeveloped Choice Schools Literacy Plan articulates a clear and ambitious roadmap for the students’ continued growth in literacy.
Carrie Paddock, our Director of Literacy, alongside an Early Literacy Team, has developed a thorough, structured plan that is aimed toward guiding achievement in literacy across our schools. This plan includes diligent collaboration with literacy coaches and teachers throughout the network, with a focus structured on four priorities. The priorities focus on Preschool, Foundational Skills, Data Driven Instruction and Systems and Structures.
As Carries has shared, “We hope that this strategy will be what takes us to our desired state and beyond.”
1) Creating a Foundational Focus for Early Education – Preschool is the foundation of our elementary schools. Preschool provides opportunities for children to build positive interactions for education. Our plan is to strengthen our partnerships with preschool programs to ensure kindergarten readiness. This means we are currently focusing on oral language specialties and teaching strategies on phonological awareness.
2) Strengthening Students’ Foundational Skills – One of the most important responsibilities of an early-grade teacher is to support students as they unlock the code of reading using phonics. An abundance of research points to the fact that systematic, explicit foundational skills instruction is a critical part of early childhood instruction and crucial for students as they learn to read. Much of the foundational skills work is focused on equipping the literacy coaches and teachers with resources to seek and implement plans into their teaching. Teachers will be able to use the curriculum with fidelity and confidence, as evidenced by lesson planning, observations, and academic results.
3) Focusing on Data-Driven Instruction – Analyzing data from assessments will help our teams to understand where the gaps are and create a plan to support all learners. We work within Acadiance to build strong tier-one support. We recognize areas of improvement in every classroom, however, we place strong emphasis on the K-1 areas to build off foundational skills. We place a strong focus on progress monitoring to ensure our instructional plans are meeting targets.
4) Refining Systems and Structures – Systems and Structures will be refined to develop a framework that ensures all students achieve academic success. We will establish grade level data collaboration to create a smooth transition from one grade level to the next. This transition includes accountability to implement Tier 1 literacy curriculum with fidelity.
The purpose of all we do is rooted in literacy competence. We strive to provide all our students with the tools they need to open endless doors of opportunity in their future. In a rapidly changing world, it is vital to expand our knowledge and learn new skills to keep up with the pace of change, and it all starts with reading.
As Carrie notes, “The establishment of a strategic reading plan can create clarity of outcome-oriented goals, accountability systems, and a shared purpose that does not waiver in the light of change. We want to ensure we are all headed in the same direction, with our resources focused on kids reading.”
A special thank you to our literacy team throughout Choice Schools who work tirelessly to carry out the mission of this goal. Your work is appreciated and we are grateful to have you on our team!