This August over 40 elementary teachers from across the region joined us for the launch of this year’s workshop series, “Accelerating Students’ Literacy Growth”. This effort is a partnership of the BT PLIC literacy and special education specialists as well as Dr. Nicole Fenty of Binghamton University’s Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership. We are very excited to think together with this year’s incoming cohort of teachers who represent elementary core classroom instruction, literacy and special education in kindergarten through 8
grade classrooms from a total of 12 districts. Additionally, we are thrilled to welcome Erin Smith as an instructional coach to provide on-site support for teachers involved in this series. Erin has been a valued thinking partner in this work for several years, and comes to us from Maine Memorial Elementary School.
In this year’s summer launch we examined a variety of research regarding the brain’s processing of reading and profiles of students who struggle to develop necessary literacy skills. We discussed options for assessment tools for varied purposes, including quick literacy screeners and, most importantly, time-efficient diagnostic assessments. Teachers were introduced to some research-based assessment tools that yield useful data for targeting instruction. The outcome of the launch was an assessment toolkit that can be used in the first weeks of instruction to better identify needs of certain students. We look forward to coming back together with this group throughout the year to analyze data, decide on specific teaching points, plan instruction using evidence-based strategies, and share ideas based on what’s working in our classrooms.