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Adolescent Literacy: State Offers Schoolwide Professional Development in Adolescent Literacy Instruction

Assuring that professional development is offered schoolwide increases the likelihood that all teachers will become skilled in improving literacy.

Why does it matter?

  • Middle and high school teachers who have been in the classroom for a number of years might not have received preservice training on teaching reading and/or detecting precise reading-related problems.
  • Professional development provides new tools to address adolescent literacy.
  • Schoolwide professional development for teachers and principals allows a building-level focus on 1) analyzing student performance data to identify gaps; 2) matching instruction to student needs based on assessment data; 3) promoting collaboration among educators; and 4) assigning school personnel roles to support literacy improvement.
  • Training must be systemic and sustained, and it must be more than a one-time workshop.
    • Highlights:

    • Thirteen states have policies to offer schoolwide professional development in adolescent literacy instruction, and an additional state (Connecticut) does so through practice.
      • Note:
        "In practice" means an approach is not authorized or required by state policy, but appears to take place in practice.

        Methodology: The information was collected from state statutes, recently enacted legislation (session laws), and rules and regulations. Where necessary, statewide initiatives created outside of policy were collected from state agencies. The information will be updated as changes occur.

        Sources for all data points are available through this link.

        Last updated: June 2008

        Research was conducted by Melodye Bush. Please contact Bush at 303-299-3631 or mbush@ecs.org with comments or questions about this database.

        State offers schoolwide professional development in adolescent literacy instruction
        Arkansas Yes, the Literacy Lab Classroom Project is a two-year, 14-day professional development opportunity designed to help teachers create a reading workshop environment in their classrooms. The first year addresses the need for creating engaging literate classroom environments, instruction in fluency and comprehension strategies. The second year is designed to help teachers use assessment to inform instruction.

        Arkansas' Smart Step is a comprehensive initiative with the goal of having all students on grade level in reading by the end of the eighth grade. Smart Step's professional development is available to all teachers and principals.  The activities provide additional support to help teachers teach to the standards and to use assessments in a more effective way.
        California Yes, state statute provides for High School English Professional Development Institutes. Program is limited to: schools where students score below the 40th percentile on English language arts achievement tests; schools with high poverty levels; teams of teachers from various departments within a school; schools with a high number of beginning and noncredentialed teachers; and, schools that have adopted standards-based materials.
        Connecticut No policy is evident, but in practice it appears the state offers schoolwide professional development.
        Florida FLA. ANN. STAT. 1001.215 was enacted in 2006 and includes the creation of the Just Read, Florida! office in the state department of education to:  
        • Train reading coaches to help coordinate and support ongoing staff development in literacy programs.
        • Create multiple designations of effective reading instruction which encourage all teachers to integrate reading instruction into their content areas.
        • Train K-12 teachers and school principals on effective content area-specific reading strategies. These strategies must be developed for all content areas in the K-12 curriculum.
        • Provide parents with information and strategies for assisting their children in reading in the content area.
        Illinois Yes, the state's Continued Reading Improvement Block Grant Program funds are used by school districts to provide support to students in grades seven through 12 who are reading significantly below grade level. Professional development uses scientifically-based research and best practices and is delivered by providers approved by the state board of education.
        Kentucky Yes, the teachers' professional growth fund was created to provide teachers with high quality professional development in content knowledge in reading and language arts.
        Minnesota Yes, the required 125 clock hours of professional development must include the comprehensive, scientifically- based reading instruction that includes at least instruction in five areas of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension. 
        New Mexico Yes, under the middle and high school literacy initiative, professional development is to be ongoing and equal to that which is validated in supporting research.
        Ohio Yes, up to $5,000,000 in each fiscal year is to be used for educator training in literacy for classroom teachers, administrators and literacy specialists.
        Oklahoma Yes, the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation develops and administers professional development institutes to training school teachers in reading education.
        Rhode Island Yes, the Professional Development Investment Fund supports teachers in improving reading instruction and integrating reading throughout the curriculum.
        Tennessee Yes, the Education Reform Act of 2001 requires a high quality professional development system to support every teacher in developing student reading proficiency.
        Texas Yes, Teacher Reading Academies offer professional development for teachers at the sixth through eighth grade levels.
        Washington Yes, through the educational service districts.


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