Wednesday, April 11, 2018
I am today featuring a blog by my good friend and collaboration partner Dr. Bobby Moore founder of Epic Impact, who brings tremendous expertise in school leadership. Bobby served as a high performing principal and then superintendent in a system where he successfully was able to “turn around” both school culture and student achievement. He now provides coaching and leadership work across the country to districts and state departments of education to build capacity for coherent, sustain improvement in teaching and learning. Our collaboration is rooted in our diverse expertise (Bobby brings leadership expertise and I literacy) but joint commitment to design professional learning systems to support continuous improvement and providing, together, professional development to create "literacy leaders". Bobby's blog describes the role of the school administrator in a way that Michael Fullan refers to as the “lead learner”, a critical lever for creating a school or district wide culture of literacy.
All administrators need to be literacy leaders. That doesn’t mean a principal, for examples, has all the knowledge and skills in place to go in an teach literacy across all grades. What it means is that they need to know how to build organization capacity to:
- Identify and appropriately use consultants and partners (e.g. what tasks are consultants best suited for and how do you contract with them to build a continuous improvement process);
- Create shared agreement system wide about what good instruction looks like and how it is assessed;
- Design professional learning systems that create a coherent, year-long, job embedded process and lead to focused attention on one or two initiatives
- Support the creation of culture of literacy that creates highly motivated and engaged learning (reminder that motivation and engagement are clear leading indicators for subseqent gains in student achievement).
- Use and gather data to support ongoing inquiry, accountability, and growth by and for teachers;
- Create student ownership for their own learning journey
- Build community and family engagement and support for literacy
Bobby references in his blog a framework for balanced literacy that identifies the kind of knowledge students need to learn to be successful readers: “learning about reading; learning through reading; learning about reading” As a whole, our curriculum should build expertise, both within the ELA block and across the content areas, to use reading in the kind of multi-disciplinary ways that are needed to both effectively learn as well as fully participate in literacy. Read Bobby’s blog here. Let us know if we can support you in your journey to become a literacy leader through onsite work in your school or through participation in a series of literacy leader workshops.
PS: As a side note, if you want to read further about the framework Bobby shares, look at the work by Kathy Short, former NCTE president and leading literacy expert.
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