Howard-Suamico School District

Comprehensive Literacy Plan

2015-2020

Literacy Vision: We will become a global leader in implementing a lifelong, comprehensive literacy program that meets the academic, social, and emotional needs of the whole person.

Literacy Mission: We will provide a foundation of rigorous, relevant, and engaging literacy experiences for students and teachers that impact learning and enhance communication throughout our global community.

Literacy encompasses all forms of communication, both oral and written, and incorporates traditional formats of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, as well as newer, evolving formats using technology for accessing, using, and creating information.

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HOWARD-SUAMICO SCHOOL DISTRICT BELIEFS ABOUT LITERACY:

We believe: 

• Proficiency in literacy is critical to successful learning in school and in life

• The Howard-Suamico School District is the primary literacy leader in our community

• Schools in Howard-Suamico create a culture of literacy to foster and promote literacy development through the most current and effective instructional practices

• Continuity in literacy instruction appropriate to student strengths and needs must be maintained throughout the grades and in all curricular areas

• Appropriate intervention is critical for student literacy development

• Teachers are mentored and prepared to provide students with high quality literacy instruction that is explicit, purposeful, integrated, and evidenced-based.

• Administrators actively support the comprehensive literacy plan and are critical to its successful implementation

• Families and communities play an integral role as key partners in literacy development

“Teachers must be leaders and principals must know literacy.” -Regie Routman

Educational Philosophy and Core Values

In spring of 2014, State Superintendent Tony Evers commissioned a task force of Wisconsin educators to identify classroom‑centered best practices that can address Wisconsin’s achievement gaps. To help close achievement gaps in the state, the group examined and recommended proactive instructional strategies, resources for educators, and local school board policy changes. Details of the plan are available in the Department of Public Instruction report: Promoting Excellence for All. The work of this task force is directly connected to Agenda 2017, Evers’ vision for all of Wisconsin’s students to graduate college and career ready. To ensure this vision is realized, the Howard-Suamico School District must first understand the unique and significant challenges we face.  As we began work on this plan, these are the concerns we considered:

• How can we prepare our students to be critical and creative thinkers, adaptable collaborators, informed and active citizens and excellent communicators?

• How can we prepare our students who collectively speak over 20 native languages to be literate citizens in our democracy?

• How can we prepare our professional staff to meet the needs of such a diverse population while ensuring a rigorous, relevant, standards-based instructional program?

• How can we design an instructional program that instructs and supports children while we challenge and enrich them?

These concerns compel us to guarantee that our school system supports our teachers and ensures that each of our students become lifelong readers and writers. In September of 2014, the Howard-Suamico School District developed a task force of its own to work on addressing the aforementioned challenges and closing the achievement gap. The task force was known as the Literacy Focus Team.  The objective of the Literacy Focus Team was to to articulate a unified comprehensive literacy plan that is aligned to Common Core State Standards and engages each learner in rigorous, relevant, 21st Century English language arts curriculum so that they are prepared for careers, college, and citizenship.

The literacy plan contained herein defines a clear and principled approach to instructional practices from Kindergarten through twelfth grade. In order to support the comprehensive approach, the Literacy Focus Team advocated for an organizational structure that supports professional learning. This structure for professional learning helps provide an effective and coherent approach to teaching and learning for all our students. Together, we will build teacher capacity to develop and refine teaching practices and use new and existing classroom materials in conjunction with technology to close the achievement gap and make this comprehensive approach to literacy learning a reality.

In Howard-Suamico, we recognize that literacy encompasses all forms of communication, both oral and written, and incorporates traditional formats of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, as well as newer, evolving formats using technology for accessing, using, and creating information. As we refer to literacy throughout this document, we are referring to both traditional and evolving formats, giving equal weight to the importance of acquiring proficient skills in all formats.

Baseline Data and Supporting Research

2013-2014 WKCE results indicated that 52.1% of our students were reading at a proficient or advanced level. More concerning was that only 11.7% of our students with disabilities scored proficient or advanced.  This revealed a significant achievement gap between students without disabilities and students with disabilities, which was the impetus in launching a combined effort between the Pupil Services Department and the Teaching and Learning Department to improve overall literacy achievement, with a focus on closing the gap.

Due to the dynamic state of assessment in Wisconsin, our baseline data for monitoring the literacy plan consists of NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) results. MAP results in 2014-2015 indicated that approximately 72% of our students were meeting or exceeding grade level achievement standards for reading, however, 39% of our second graders and of 33% of our third graders were not meeting grade level expectations.  This data supports our focus on early intervention and reveals a need for an emphasis on improvement of universal literacy instruction. The chart below illustrates the reading proficiency levels of students with disabilities and students without disabilities as indicated by 2014-2015 MAP.           

Grade Level

# of Student Tested

% Not Meeting Grade Level Expectations

% Meeting or Exceeding Grade Level Expectations

Gr. 2

406

39%

61%

Gr. 3

402

33%

67%

Gr. 4

387

28%

72%

Gr. 5

405

23%

77%

Gr. 6

437

26%

74%

Gr. 7

404

23%

77%

Gr. 8

408

24%

76%

Overall District

2849

28%

72%

“Our goal by spring of 2020 is to see a 10% increase in students meeting or exceeding grade level expectations

in reading on the MAP reading assessment. By spring of 2019, 82% of our students will meet or exceed grade level expectations

as evidenced by MAP reading assessment results.”

A Culture of Literacy

Creating a classroom that is rich in literacy is the first step to setting the stage for an optimal learning experience. Enduring achievement gains require that learning is occurring in a healthy, thriving culture. Principals, teachers, specialists, and district superintendents—are all key players in creating such an environment. Literacy expert, Regie Routman, suggests that the quality of a school's culture is equally important as knowing how to teach well when it comes to impacting overall school achievement.  Trust, collaboration, and authenticity are essential. When assessing school culture, it's important to ask several questions:

“Joy in learning is essential to a healthy and productive school culture; fear and joy cannot coexist. Here are a few proven ways in which effective principals and school leaders can ensure, sustain, and support a culture of achievement: Trust is paramount. In fact, the quality of relationships in a school is a crucial factor in whether students and teachers have sufficient opportunity to learn and contribute their ideas without fear of retribution. Without trust within and across the school community—which includes the principal, teachers, students, and families—learning will be stalled. People who are anxious with worry, concerned for their safety, or treated disrespectfully do not take risks or work well with others, nor do they perform their best work. Successful principals and other education leaders deliberately model and take trust-building steps with and for their school communities every day.”

-Regie Routman, Read, Write, Lead

In Howard-Suamico, a culture of literacy is evident in the following ways:

Wisconsin Academic Standards

The Howard-Suamico School District, in accordance with the State of Wisconsin, uses the English Language Arts Standards and Literacy in All Subject Areas to guide teaching and learning.  The Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects represent the next generation of K–12 standards designed to prepare all students for success in college, career, and life by the time they graduate from high school.

In addition to The Standards, the Howard-Suamico School District, has adopted beliefs about teaching and learning.  The work of this plan is rooted in these beliefs and our instructional framework is based these principles:

  1. Every student has the right to learn
  2. Instruction must be rigorous and relevant
  3. Purposeful assessment drives instruction and affects learning
  4. Learning is a personal and collaborative responsibility
  5. Students bring strengths and experiences to learning
  6. Responsive and safe environments engage learners

K-12 Comprehensive Instructional Framework

This Comprehensive Instructional Framework promotes a balanced literacy approach and the Gradual Release of Responsibility model.  It is based on theory and practice that underpins all effective instruction, and is heavily dependent upon decision-making that is responsive to students’ needs. Therefore, this is the framework that guides literacy instruction in the Howard-Suamico School District. The basic foundations, along with the essential components, provide a range of support based on assessed student needs and learning styles, and are enacted in all K-12 core classrooms to meet the following goals:

  1. Students will gain literacy skills through high quality literacy instruction that includes the consistent use of balanced literacy components

  1. Students will set strategic goals and engage in critical self-assessment of their literacy learning experiences

  1. Students will have rigorous, relevant, and flexible literacy learning experiences

  1. Students will apply literacy learning independently in a variety of content areas


Basic Foundations                                                                Essential Components

Literacy teachers in grades K-12 will use a developmentally appropriate Balanced Literacy approach every day.

Literacy teachers in grades K-12 will use the Gradual Release of Responsibility framework for lesson delivery.

  • Focused Instruction
  • Guided Instruction
  • Scaffolded Conversations
  • Collaborative learning
  • Independent learning
  • Student self-assessment

Literacy teachers in grades K-12 will promote personalized learning through the use of the Universal Design for Learning framework for lesson/unit design.

Literacy teachers in grades K-6 will integrate content with literacy skills that students need to demonstrate learning in the discipline.

  • ELA reading skills and strategies are practiced weekly in content area(s)
  • ELA writing skills are assessed in content area(s)

“Modeling by people we love is what changes us.” -Don Holdaway

“Focus on the writer first and the writing second.” - Regie Routman


Personnel to Support the Literacy Plan

Literacy learning is a comprehensive process that involves the collaboration of highly qualified personnel to impact student growth and achievement.  The following roles and responsibilities have been identified to ensure successful implementation of the comprehensive literacy plan.

TEACHING AND LEARNING COORDINATOR FOR LITERACY ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

• Advocate for the district literacy mission and vision in the interest of advancing the skills of faculty, staff, and students

• Monitor the district-wide literacy program, including student data  

• Collaborate to plan and provide professional learning opportunities for district and building literacy leaders

• collaborate with the Professional Learning Coordinator and New Teacher Mentor to train new teachers

• Participate on District Instructional Leadership Council

• Monitor literacy budget

• Oversee Title I program

• Serve as a community liaison for literacy

• Support and monitor summer school programming in the area of literacy

• Participate in District Literacy Professional Learning Community

• Participate independently and collaboratively in ongoing, professional learning opportunities in support of district-wide literacy initiatives

• Conduct instructional walks, along with school administrators and literacy coaches, focusing on the basic foundations and essential components of literacy instruction

LITERACY COACHING SPECIALIST ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES (317 license) 

• Advocate for the district literacy mission and vision in the interest of advancing the skills of faculty, staff, and students

• Collaborate with school administrators to collect, interpret, and analyze school-wide literacy data

• Provide peer coaching and professional learning for all teachers of literacy at the building and district level during the summer and throughout the school year

• Participate on district teams that focus on closing the achievement gap in the district

• Participate in principal meetings and bridge calls to ensure consistency in communication of literacy expectations throughout the district

• Facilitate grade level data study teams at assigned building(s)

• Participate on Child Study Teams at assigned building(s)

• Participate in District Literacy Professional Learning Community

• Attend/facilitate district meetings focused on literacy and literacy development

• Participate independently and collaboratively in ongoing, professional learning opportunities in support of district-wide literacy initiatives

• Conduct instructional walks, along with district and school administrators, focusing on the basic foundations and essential components of literacy instruction for the purpose of understanding the culture of literacy in the district

LITERACY INTERVENTION SPECIALIST ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES (316 license)

• Advocate for the district literacy mission and vision in the interest of advancing the skills of faculty, staff, and students

• Collaborate with building teachers to collect, interpret, and analyze student literacy data

• Provide intensive intervention and support for striving readers and writers administered with fidelity in small group settings as well as in the classroom setting

• Manage reading and writing intervention programs

• Progress-monitor students receiving intervention to analyze the effectiveness of the intervention

• Create, maintain, and implement personalized intervention plans for students and provide quarterly reports on progress to parents, faculty, and instructional leaders

• Participate on district teams that focus on closing the achievement gap as needed during non-student contact times, such as after school or during early release

• Participate on Child Study Teams at assigned building(s) as needed

• Participate in Professional Learning Communities at assigned building(s)

• Travel as needed to meet the intervention needs of the district

• Participate independently and collaboratively in ongoing, professional learning opportunities in support of district-wide literacy initiatives

TITLE I READING SPECIALIST ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

• Advocate for the district literacy mission and vision in the interest of advancing the skills of faculty, staff, and students

• Collaborate with building teachers to collect, interpret, and analyze student literacy data

• Provide intensive intervention and support for students who qualify for Title I programming

• Progress-monitor students receiving intervention to analyze the effectiveness of the intervention

• Create, maintain, and implement personalized intervention plans for students and provide quarterly reports on progress to parents, faculty, and instructional leaders

• Participate on district teams that focus on closing the achievement gap in the district

• Participate on Student Response Teams and Child Study Teams at assigned building(s) as needed

• Participate in Professional Learning Communities at assigned building(s)

• Participate independently and collaboratively in ongoing, professional learning opportunities in support of district-wide literacy initiatives

SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

• Advocate for the district literacy mission and vision in the interest of advancing the skills of faculty, staff, and students

• Collaborate with literacy specialists to collect, interpret, analyze, and share school-wide literacy data

• Support professional learning opportunities for faculty and staff focused on closing the reading achievement gap

• Participate on district and school teams that focus on closing the reading achievement gap

• Facilitate school-wide RtI PLC, focused on closing the reading achievement gap

• Participate independently and collaboratively in ongoing, professional learning opportunities in support of district-wide literacy initiatives

• Review lesson plans to ensure alignment with basic foundations of the comprehensive literacy plan

• Conduct instructional walks, along with the Teaching and Learning Coordinator and the Literacy Coaches, focusing on the basic foundations and essential components of literacy instruction, with the purpose of understanding the culture of literacy in the district

CLASSROOM TEACHER ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

• Advocate for the district literacy mission and vision in the interest of advancing the skills of colleagues and students

• Collaborate with coaches, specialists, administrators, and other teachers to collect, interpret, and analyze student literacy data

• Differentiate universal literacy instruction in a classroom setting, using whole group, small group, and individualized instruction

• Provide intervention for students within the classroom setting

• Progress-monitor students receiving intervention to analyze the effectiveness of the intervention

• Process learning targets with students and engage them in strategic goal-setting and self-assessment related to their literacy learning

• Model expectations for students in reading, writing, speaking, listening, language, and use of technology

• Write lesson plans that align with the basic foundations and essential components of the comprehensive literacy plan

• Participate on district and building literacy teams as needed

• Participate on Student Response Teams and Child Study Teams at assigned building(s) as needed

• Participate in Professional Learning Communities at assigned building(s)

• Participate independently and collaboratively in ongoing, professional learning opportunities in support of district-wide literacy initiatives

Evaluation of Literacy Plan 

The Howard-Suamico School District 21st Century Literacy Plan will be collaboratively evaluated by the Teaching and Learning Center, Pupil Services, Information Services, School Administrators, and Specialists to ensure that it is comprehensive and accurate, in accordance with the district’s mission, vision, and beliefs, and promotes the flexibility to be responsive to students’ needs.  Overall evaluation of the plan will be based on the following components:  

August 2015