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A Service-Oriented Approach to Reinforce Literacy Skills in New Jersey

A Service-Oriented Approach to Reinforce Literacy Skills in New Jersey

At a recent Edmentum all-company meeting, we were fortunate to have a few guests join us. They had just wrapped up an inspiring two days at our Educator Summit. David Harrison, one of our inspiring educators from West Shore School District, joined us to share his perspective on some of his most common challenges. Of the many impactful themes he addressed, one centered around how we approach solving daily challenges. He said, “One of the best approaches for solving daily challenges is to root yourself in a student-centered and service-oriented approach.” It really resonated with me personally, and at Edmentum, we couldn’t agree more.

Our team of education consultants, including me, works to develop a custom plan aligned to your objectives, equips educators with professional learning and coaching, fosters adoption and progress toward outcomes, and employs the expertise we’ve developed as former educators and training professionals. To learn more about what this really means, I’d like to share an example of how we truly partner with schools and districts across the nation, committed to tackling any obstacle of opportunity that comes our way.

Union City School District, in Union City, New Jersey, was looking to build and reinforce literacy skills aligned to the five pillars of reading—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension—in an engaging way. In addition, the district wanted its staff to have readily available resources built into the program so that there was no wasted time in finding materials. This district has had Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress for quite some time but we wanted to focus on this particular program and build a strong action plan in order to create a successful experience. In addition, the goal was to be able to differentiate learning for each student. The district has a high ELL population, and a focus of its strategic plan is to help all limited English proficient students become proficient in English and reach high academic standards, at a minimum attaining proficiency or better in reading.

Our local team of former educators, called education consultants, partnered with all stakeholders in the district (Assistant Superintendent John Bennetti, literacy coaches from each elementary building, and the tech team). During this planning phase, we discussed the needs and goals of the district. We then presented Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress to the literacy coaches who would help reintroduce the program to teachers at their individual buildings. The literacy coaches were an extremely important component in planning what professional development was going to look like when we presented it to the teachers. Those literacy coaches partnered with each Edmentum implementation consultant at the individual buildings during the presentation to speak to specific best practices. Because the literacy coaches sat in on an initial training, they were able to assist in the much larger training with teachers.

The planning phase is just the first step. We made sure to identify the ideal cadence for check-ins. For the team, monthly drop-ins were a good fit to meet with administration and literacy coaches for about 60 to 90 minutes, the first one being at the end of November. This time will be dedicated to data/progress monitoring and identifying any questions that have come up. Following the admin meeting, I will visit elementary buildings to attend grade-level team meetings to discuss/review progress and next steps. In addition, I will attend admin team meetings and provide in-class demonstrations where needed.

I’m really looking forward to providing continued support to the teams, specifically in Reading Eggs but also in expanding to Study Island for the 2019–20 school year. At Edmentum, we’d like to take a similar approach with the Study Island implementation. So, stay tuned; Union City School District is just getting started!

Interested in learning more about how the team at Union City School District will use data to inform instruction with Reading Eggs? Check out this detailed blog post to dive into how to monitor program usage, pinpoint Lexile® levels, and track growth and more!

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