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March 20, 2015

posted Mar 21, 2015, 4:50 AM by jmarcotte@sau4.org   [ updated Mar 21, 2015, 4:50 AM ]

Literacy Consultant

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This week, both NHCS and DES had the opportunity for our literacy consultant, Dr. Carol Tolman, to come into our schools and help our staff improve our instruction and increase student achievement.

Our goals included:

  • Continue to learn strategies to implement into our instruction to help improve our Title 1 students’ achievement
  •  Continue to develop ways to look at our RTI blocks and reading groups with a focus on student improvement through our instruction, intensity and group dynamics
  •  Have collegial conversations around student data (focus on Title 1 students), our instructional practices and school system
  •  Analyze and interpret data (DIBELS, Spelling Inventory, Writing Prompts, other assessments) to understand Title 1 students’ strengths and challenges and reflect on whether or not our system and instruction meet his/her needs
  •  Have all classroom teachers meet with Dr. Tolman for a half-hour to speak about student data, instructional practices and ask questions
  •  Have Dr. Tolman read with some of our Title 1 students (with the classroom teacher or Title 1 staff present) and provide feedback, strategies, suggestions, and ideas to our interventionists and classroom teachers

The days were packed and the conversations were insightful. We took this opportunity to gain more knowledge, synthesize the data with another “set of eyes”, reflect on our instruction and look at our school system of providing Title 1 and RTI intervention blocks. Having come into education through the field of physical education and having a history of my own reading/writing difficulties, I always gain knowledge and insight into the skill of learning to read. In our debriefing meetings, I am pleased by how willing and thoughtful our staff members are about sharing their thoughts, wonders and concerns.

After spending some time in reflection, our leadership teams will meet, starting next week, to discuss the “big take a-ways” from our time with Dr. Tolman. We will immediately address the items that can be easily fixed, problem-solve and develop a plan for the more challenging items and create a plan for more of the long-range elements such as professional development and training. As Douglass B. Reeves states, “Professional learning does not advance… through the inexorable confirmation of previous certainties, but through a systematic challenge to our present conceptions.”


It was a great week of learning! By partaking in these opportunities, it allows us to celebrate our successes and take another look at ways we can continue to grow.

Have a great weekend!