Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reading Street Memo from Cliff Seybert

May 6, 2011



Dear Teachers,



We are approaching our final two Reading Street in service dates for the 2010-2011 school year on May 24th at MacDonald Middle School from 4:15-5:15 p.m. Followed by a voluntary June 13th in service (paid at the curriculum rate) at the same location for those that can attend, from 8:30 a.m. –3:30 p.m. We will also begin to disperse more of the Reading Street materials to buildings and classrooms as the pace picks up for remaining PD this year and as we look forward into the summer and fall. The logistics of disbursing materials to schools is complicated by current staffing considerations. As many of you know staffing patterns for the 2011-2012 school year may look a little different than they do today. This will require building principals and building teams to shift materials as staffing changes take place. We are keeping a tight inventory of what is being shipped to buildings in order to make changes down the road.



Your ELA elementary chairs continue to press forward with professional development considerations and recognize feedback from you as being an important part of their planning. We are working on the design of your PD and hope to provide engaging experiences that provide a model of implementation for Reading Street for a typical classroom day/week. While questions certainly remain, the non –negotiables for each grade level are defined in the attached document. Here are a few others thoughts:




  • Classrooms will engage students in the full breadth of resources and of the parameters described in the non-negotiables for each grade level: Get Ready to Read, Small Group Time, Progress Monitoring, Enrichment for Advanced Students, Focused Center Time in conjunction with small group time, and Assessment components shall provide the basis for instruction within the 90 min. block.

  • Teachers shall use a five - day plan as outlined in the Reading Street program within 90-minute blocks of time for your students. For shortened weeks due to vacation periods, half days such as PTC days, etc. teachers will follow an appropriate three or four-day plan set by Reading Street for such abbreviated weeks.

  • We will continue with our current Sitton Spelling program and the Calkins Units of Study writer’s workshop. The 90 min. block is designed for reading instruction from Reading Street, and therefore does not include Sitton Spelling or the Units of Study. With your input ELA chairs will evaluate the efficacy of the Sitton Spelling program and the Calkins Units of Study next year to determine future direction.

  • Social Studies and Science curriculums tied to GLCEs will continue until we know more about the CCSS for these subject areas. The 90 min. reading block will not negate time for these subject areas within the current parameters of our instructional day, though you may support topics on other subjects through the use of Leveled Based Readers from Reading Street. We will have to make some adaptations to insure we are teaching the essential elements of social studies and science as we move forward.

  • The core reading program will be implemented by all classrooms on September 19th, 2011 with follow up by principals as they begin monitoring full implementation. Given this start date for all classrooms, teachers will have the necessary time to establish their classroom routines, behavior management systems, and relationships with students. For resource classrooms using My Sidewalks, the accompaniment to Reading Street for use as a tier 3-intervention program, the start date will be determined by the implementation of interventions for individual students and or groups of students not successful in the core-reading program (Reading Street). A likely start date for the use of My Sidewalks will be in October of 2011.

  • Continued professional development will be key to supporting your work. Melissa Yip will be providing on site support designed to respond to teacher instructional needs tied to the use of the core program, improve teaching pedagogy as needed, and set in motion an understanding of assessment practices embedded in Reading Street that will be used and entered into our student data base Pearson Inform.


There is much to work out yet in terms of implementation. We all know that good teachers know that new programs take time to implement and they require a collaborative effort on the part of everyone. Your support of one another will be important. PD will be built around common grade level time for conversation, planning, and implementation strategies. We anticipate that grade level meeting time will begin as part of the June 13th voluntary PD and perhaps on into the summer should teachers choose to meet on their own time as teachers often do.



So, the journey with Reading Street has just begun as part of the district’s RtI / literacy initiative and alignment with CCSS. Insuring that we have a strong core reading program as part of our tier one work with students supports our ability to intervene early and often with students as we build great readers of many genres. Our current genre units will be reviewed and kept in your classroom for now. As the district makes a transition over the course of the 2011-2012 school year to the new Common Core State Standards a determination will be made as to what portions of the genre units may be applicable. Conducting a gap analysis between what we are currently doing and the new CCSS will be an important undertaking next year. For now we are still teaching to the current GLCEs, but are informed by the new CCSS as we take the cross walk between the two sets of standards. Reading Street addresses genre and provides support and access for current GLCEs, as well as the CCSS.



When visiting schools that have implemented Reading Street, teachers have observed some very good methods of both organization of materials, and their instructional day/week. This information can also be shared with grade level teachers as we move forward. Buildings will have to determine how best to organize material for their use and then appropriate building funds and space to support the organization of materials.



We’ll see you on Tuesday, May 24th for our Reading Street PD and again, if your schedule allows, at the June 13th full day voluntary PD before heading into the summer months. Please anticipate that the remaining sets of building and classroom materials will be arriving at your schools shortly. We will identify which materials you should bring to the remaining PDs. See you soon.


Cliff