Sustaining and Expanding a K–2 Reading Initiative: Campuswide Literacy Coaching and Collaboration—Iles Elementary School (magnet)

Area:
Reading

Campus/District:
Ella Iles Elementary School (Grades K–5)
Lubbock Independent School District

Overview:
Iles Elementary School (IES) serves a student population (total = 283) that is 63% African American, 33% Hispanic, 4% White, 91% economically disadvantaged, and 29% at risk.

The percentage of IES students, including the economically disadvantaged and at-risk student groups, passing reading TAKS was consistently above both state and peer campus averages (see Supporting Evidence for more information).

In this summary, find out how the campus:

  • Sustained and expanded its K–2 reading initiative schoolwide after funding ended to promote coherent literacy instruction through training, coaching, and collaborative teams
  • Retained staffing from the initiative to provide support at all grade levels
  • Implemented a 3-tiered reading model
  • Monitors progress of struggling or students
  • Supports home reading

Strategies that are aligned with research-based best practices in early reading and literacy instruction include (see Research Base for more information):

  • Integrating systematic instruction and progress monitoring of key literacy strategies, including phonics instruction, fluency, guided reading, vocabulary instruction, and writing practice
  • Screening students regularly for reading difficulty and monitoring those students “at risk” of developing reading difficulties
  • Implementing tiered interventions that provide differentiated in-class instruction for students at Tier I, frequent and systematic small group instruction and progress monitoring on foundation skills for students requiring Tier 2, and daily intensive supplemental support for students identified for Tier 3 interventions.
  • Providing professional development that helps teachers understand the course of literacy development
  • Use of specialists in providing interventions
  • Supporting independent reading in the home

Implementation

Context:  

  • IES has served as a fine arts magnet campus for Lubbock ISD since 1978. The campus serves students in its attendance zone, and based on space available, accepts applications for attendance through the magnet program. Staff reported that approximately 50% of enrolled students were from the neighborhood with 50% magnet applicants, many of whom attend from other Title I schools in the district. Once students are accepted to the magnet program, they are required to maintain a GPA of 3.2 and satisfactory or highly satisfactory performance on report cards. 
  • From 1998–99 to 2002–03, the campus participated in a five-year Literacy Collaborative initiative implemented in the district. The campus was identified for participation based on overall campus performance in reading on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) and reading performance of the African American student group in particular. The Literacy Collaborative model targets Grades K–2 (for details, see http://literacycollaborative.org), and the model is based on a three-block framework consisting of language and word study, reading workshop, and writing workshop (for details, see http://literacycollaborative.org/docs/framework.pdf). Implementation components included a provider-trained, campus-based “literacy coach” who trained teachers and provided ongoing support and professional development based on weekly classroom observations. Initial training was conducted twice per month after school for all K–2 teachers over one academic year. Training was focused on the reading process, strategies for managing small group work at centers, guided reading, shared reading, and differentiated instruction, as well as strategies to provide print-rich and motivating reading environments and promote home-school reading connections.
  • Reading Recovery, a short-term intervention providing one-on-one support for the lowest performing students in Grade 1 (for details, see http://www.readingrecovery.org/reading_recovery/facts/index.asp), was a recommended component of the Literacy Collaborative model and was also implemented at the campus as part of the district initiative. A reading interventionist at the campus provided reading support for identified first graders.
  • In 2009–10, the district received a Capacity Building and Demonstration Sites in Reading grant to expand Reading First (RF) programming that had been implemented at other elementary campuses in the district. The IES literacy coach participated in districtwide meetings to share strategies as part of that grant, but the campus was not required to implement RF strategies.
  • Grades K–2 and Grades 3–5 are taught in separate buildings on the IES campus.
  • The campus is a 2008–09 Title I Distinguished Performance School.

Demographics (2008-09) 
Demographics (2008-09) Grade levels served: K-5; Campus Enrollment: 283; Ethnic Distribution: African American 178, 62.9%; Hispanic 93, 32.9%; White 10, 3.5%; Economically Disadvantaged 256, 90.5%; At-Risk 83, 29.3%; Mobility (2007-08) 77, 29.1%.
Source: Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS)

Accountability Rating:
Exemplary (2009–10)

Implementation Highlights:

Iles Timeline

Strategies/Approaches:

Local funding of K–2 reading initiative components and staffing to build and sustain a campuswide model    

  • The literacy coach position created under the Literacy Collaborative initiative was continued with Title I funds to expand Literacy Collaborative strategies to all grade levels and to provide ongoing support for reading teachers schoolwide. The campus’ reading interventionist position created for the Reading Recovery position was also retained with salary support from Title I funds to provide expanded “strategic literacy” interventions to any student requiring Tier 3 reading support in any grade level (K–5) based on the campus’ 3-tier reading model (see below).
  • The literacy coach developed a year-long professional development program based on the K2 Literacy Collaborative framework that targeted teachers in Grades 35. The training was designed to help teachers align literacy instructional strategies campuswide and understand how to support struggling students who still needed to develop foundational reading skills. Rather than focusing solely on “reading to learn” strategies, the training provided a focus for Grade 35 teachers on understanding how students learn to read. Training was delivered by the literacy coach, two afternoons a month for two hours. Teachers were not paid for participation.
  • Reading instruction campuswide was modified to reflect an instructional framework that integrated dedicated reading time, writing time, and word study time into classroom instruction as well as small group and differentiated instruction.
  • The campus integrated an emphasis on phonics using Saxon Phonics as part of an additional district initiative. The literacy coach participated in a district-sponsored training in the use of the materials and redelivered it to campus teachers at literacy team meetings.
  • The literacy coach included all reading teachers in Grade K5 in a weekly observation schedule to provide feedback and to design ongoing professional development aligned with teacher needs. The coach also modeled instruction through team teaching when appropriate.  

Cross-grade level literacy teams

  • The campus established a Grade K–2 literacy team and a Grade 3–5 literacy team both of which met once per month after school for targeted professional development and data review. The K–2 team included all K–2 teachers. The Grade 3–5 team consisted of one reading teacher per grade level.
  • A joint K–5 literacy team also met every six weeks. The first assignment of the joint K–5 team was to work on vertical alignment of the curriculum. As the team became established, it shifted focus to schoolwide data collection and review and implementation of strategies to raise the level of literacy achievement for all students as well as to support struggling readers across grade levels. An initial focus in data review activities was on topics that affected teachers at all grade levels—for example, fluency scores, which were used to identify trends across grade levels and develop appropriate strategies for each grade level. As an example of a strategy to address fluency issues, the team developed a checklist of high frequency words appropriate for each grade level.

3-tier reading model using individualized student literacy assessment folders

  • The campus established an assessment schedule during the first six weeks of school and a set of procedures for identifying students for three tiers of reading interventions. For students who were not new to the campus, had previously been identified as “at-risk,” and did not perform well on initial assessments, interventions were implemented as early as the second week of school. For other students, teachers conducted a longer review and administered a variety of assessments (as appropriate to grade level), including the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI), the Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, Voyager Passport benchmarks, TAKS benchmarks, and common formative assessments based on student expectations in the TEKS. Teachers also reviewed student literacy folders and teacher recommendations. Based on this review, teachers targeted appropriate Tier 1 interventions for classroom instruction and identified 5-6 of their students for Tier 2 or Tier 3 support beginning at the start of the second six-week grading period. 
    • Tier 1 interventions consisted of in-class differentiated instructional strategies in reading, writing, and phonics designed by individual teachers using resources from the campus’ literacy library.
    • Tier 2 interventions involved in-class use of a district-required reading intervention called Voyager Passport. In addition, students were pulled from fine arts and physical education classes for 30 minutes of additional daily reading instruction. All teachers were trained in the use of Voyager Passport. Teachers also implemented small group Tier 2 interventions using the TPRI Intervention Activities Guide for their grade level (for details, see http://www.tpri.org) as appropriate during this dedicated intervention time. Staff emphasized that while the campus provided guidance on interventions, teachers had flexibility in supplementing Voyager Passport lessons.
    • Tier 3 interventions provided intensive student support from the campus’ strategic literacy interventionist for groups of two students with matched needs on a daily basis for 20-30 minutes usually during the time scheduled for fine arts and/or physical education. While Tier 3 interventions were provided as needed for students at any grade level, the campus focused on Grade 1, leaving more spots in the interventionist’s schedule for work with students at this grade level.  
  • Ongoing progress monitoring of students in Tiers 2 and 3 was conducted every two weeks using a variety of assessments associated with grade-level instruction that were identified by literacy teams. Examples included phonics assessments, high frequency word checklists, and fluency assessments. Student needs and placement in interventions were re-evaluated at the mid-year point, and recommendations to remove a student from an intervention were reviewed and approved by the literacy coach and the appropriate literacy team.
  • In addition, a “running record” was included in the folder for each student and was based on ongoing teacher assessments using a monthly “miscue” analysis given individually to each student. This analysis was part of the Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement in which all teachers were trained. These running record assessments were conducted on a monthly basis for all students and every two weeks for students identified as at-risk or in need of additional support. The running record helped teachers determine the appropriate instructional level for guided reading and conduct an in-depth analysis of student use of strategies for reading continuous text. 
  • Literacy folders that included a history of student performance and interventions were kept on all students in Grades K–2. The purpose of literacy folders was to provide a detailed history of performance and interventions on students up to Grade 3. Student literacy folders contained a full record of interventions, assessment data, and parental contacts. After Grade 2, literacy folders were maintained only for struggling students.

Ongoing, site-based professional development

  • The literacy coach’s responsibilities included the ongoing design and delivery of customized professional development targeting teacher needs. To develop targeted professional development, the coach conducted regular classroom observations, surveyed teachers annually about training needs and interests, conducted research on the professional literature for key topics and innovations in literacy instruction, and redelivered district and external trainings. Campus-based professional development for teachers was provided at monthly literacy team meetings by the literacy coach.
  • The campus supported the continuing professional growth of teachers by identifying one state or national professional conference for teachers to attend each year to provide a broader view and outside perspectives. The principal and literacy coach identified key meetings and conferences on an annual basis and selected teachers/teams to attend the trainings. Teachers shared information from conferences at subsequent vertical alignment and literacy team meetings. 

Literacy library and outreach to support home reading activities

  • Staff reported that a key strategy of the campus’ literacy initiative was the use of leveled texts. With Title I funds, the campus established and maintained a literacy library to provide access to a variety of leveled texts for Grades K–5 that students could use at school and at home. Students took home a book that they were reading in class every day. Staff emphasized that a commitment to keep the library restocked and up-to-date facilitated campus efforts to provide quality class and home reading material.
  • The library also contained instructional resources and professional literature for teachers supplemented by the literacy coach.
  • Additionally, the campus recently established a “bookbag” program through which each teacher (Grades K–5) selected a set of books (poetry and literature) for take-home reading, with some selections intended for student reading and some for parents to read to their children. Students were allowed to take home a bookbag for a week. Parents were asked to fill out evaluations of the books and report how they used them in the home, their preferences, and additional needs. Staff reported that they had received positive feedback from parents on the project.
  • The literacy coach also provided training to the campus’ parent liaison who delivered an annual training by grade level for parents on how to support their child’s literacy development. The coach also regularly sent letters home providing ideas for parent/child reading activities.

Training:

  • Site-based training for teachers in Grades 3–5 to include foundational reading skill instruction
  • Training in supplemental reading resources (Saxon Phonics, Voyager Passport Intervention program)
  • Training for teachers on the use of the Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement and other research-based reading assessments
  • Ongoing site-based training based on teacher needs
  • State and national conferences
  • Resources, Cost Components, and Sources of Funding:

    The campus supported the practice primarily through campus and Title I funds after district funding for the K–2 Literacy Collaborative and Reading Recovery initiatives ended. The creation of the literacy library was funded through a variety of grants over the years, most recently a 21st Century Community Learning Center (21CCLC) grant, with additional continuing support from campus funds and Title I. The bookbag program was initially funded as part of after-school and summer programs through a 21CCLC grant but was extended to the regular school program with campus and Title I funds.

    Cost components included the following:  

    • Salaries for the literacy coach and reading interventionist
    • Annual attendance at one professional conference per teacher
    • Resources for literacy library and bookbag program  

    Lessons Learned

    Strengths/Challenges:    

    • Staff emphasized that new strategies and structures were implemented slowly to avoid teacher resistance to forced initiatives on a tight timeline. Instead, the literacy coach encouraged teachers to try new approaches on a voluntary basis, allowing teachers and teacher teams to choose and experiment with new strategies.
    • Staff reported that the structures implemented at the campus were designed to be responsive to teacher and student needs. The literacy teams and data review processes ensured that instruction was based on ongoing collaborative professional conversations and data-driven decisionmaking. Teachers were provided guidance in designing interventions for students based on the 3-tier reading model but were also empowered to make instructional decisions on their own.
    • Staff emphasized that the campus’ approach to professional development was not prescriptive and ensured that the introduction of new strategies was provided in context and tailored to teacher and student need.
    • Because Grades K–2 and 3–5 were located in separate buildings on the campus, many of the initiatives (literacy team meetings, student portfolios) helped to increase collaboration across grade levels.
    • The literacy coach served an important function in the introduction of schoolwide data review. Staff reported that in some of the initial K–5 data review sessions, some lower grade teachers took personally remarks about student performance in Grades 3–5. The facilitator guided these discussions away from negative and personal feelings toward strategies emphasizing team efforts. By the second year of the K–5 meetings, staff reported that participants began to function as a team.
    • Staff reported that it took some time for teachers in Grades 3–5 to shift from whole-group instruction to more differentiated, small-group instruction as they were concerned about classroom management issues and pressures related to TAKS. 

    Supporting Evidence

    Evidence Type:
    Established Best Practice

    Overview of Evidence:
    Since 2004–05, the percentage of IES students (all students) passing reading TAKS was consistently above both state averages and those of a peer campus comparison group that included 25 campuses.1, 2  In 2004–05, 91% of IES students in Grades 3–5 passed reading TAKS, compared to the state average of 82% and the peer campus group average of 78%. In 2008–09, 93% of IES students passed reading TAKS, compared to the state average of 85% and the peer campus group average of 83%. Chart 1 shows trend data comparing the percentage of IES students passing reading TAKS in Grades 3–5 to the state and peer campus group averages from 2004–05 to 2008–09.

    The percentage of IES economically disadvantaged and at-risk students passing reading TAKS was also consistently higher than both state and peer campus group averages for similar student groups.3 In 2004–05, the percentage of IES economically disadvantaged students passing reading TAKS in Grades 3–5 was 90%, compared to the state average of 73% and the peer campus group average of 78%. In 2008–09, the percentage of IES economically disadvantaged students passing reading TAKS in Grades 3–5 was 93%, compared to the state average of 80% and the peer campus group average of 82%. For at-risk students, the percentage of IES students passing reading TAKS in 2004–05 was 82%, compared to the state average of 66% and the peer campus group average of 72%. In 2008–09, the percentage of IES at-risk students passing was 82%, compared to the state average of 74% and the peer campus group average of 77%. Chart 2 shows trend data comparing the percentage of IES students passing reading TAKS to the state and peer campus group averages by student group from 2004–05 to 2008–09.

    The BPC compared the IES student groups discussed above (all students, economically disadvantaged, and at-risk) to similar student groups in the state from 2004–05 to 2008–09. Each comparison for all students and the economically disadvantaged student group was statistically significant (p<.05) in each school year. For at-risk students, comparisons were statistically significant in 2004–05, 2005–06, and 2007–08. The BPC also compared the IES student groups discussed above (all students, economically disadvantaged, and at-risk) to similar student groups in the peer campus group from 2004–05 to 2008–09. Each comparison for all students and the economically disadvantaged student group was statistically significant (p<.05) in each school year. Comparisons with the at-risk student peer group were statistically significant for the 2004–05 and 2007–08 school years.  

    Iles Chart 1
    Source: TEA Student Assessment TAKS Aggregate Data System
    Note: Because the campus stopped serving Grade 6 after 2004–05, data presented are for Grades 3–5 only. 

    Chart 2: Percentage of IES Students Groups  Passing Reading TAKS Compared to State and Peer Campus Averages Across School Years (Grades 3-5). In 2004–05, 90% of the school's economically disadvantaged students passed Reading TAKS, compared to the peer campus average for economically disadvantaged students of 72% and the state average for economically disadvantaged students of 73%. In 2005–06, 93% of the school's economically disadvantaged students passed Reading TAKS, compared to the peer campus average for economically disadvantaged students of 75% and the state average for economically disadvantaged students of 77%. In 2006–07, 90% of the school's economically disadvantaged students passed Reading TAKS, compared to the peer campus average for economically disadvantaged students of 75% and the state average for economically disadvantaged students of 78%. In 2007–08, 89% of the school's economically disadvantaged students passed Reading TAKS, compared to the peer campus average for economically disadvantaged students of 74% and the state average for economically disadvantaged students of 78%. In 2008–09, 93% of the school's economically disadvantaged students passed Reading TAKS, compared to the peer campus average for economically disadvantaged students of 77% and the state average for economically disadvantaged students of 80%. In 2004–05, 82% of the school's at-risk students passed Reading TAKS, compared to the peer campus average for at-risk students of 78% and the state average for at-risk students of 66%. In 2005–06, 84% of the school's at-risk students passed Reading TAKS, compared to the peer campus average for at-risk students of 78% and the state average for at-risk students of 70%. In 2006–07, 76% of the school's at-risk students passed Reading TAKS, compared to the peer campus average for at-risk students of 80% and the state average for at-risk students of 72%. In 2007–08, 84% of the school's at-risk students passed Reading TAKS, compared to the peer campus average for at-risk students of 80% and the state average for at-risk students of 71%. In 2008–09, 82% of the school's at-risk students passed Reading TAKS, compared to the peer campus average for at-risk students of 82% and the state average for at-risk students of 74%.
    Source: TEA Student Assessment TAKS Aggregate Data System
    ED=Economically Disadvantaged
    Note: Because the campus stopped serving Grade 6 after 2004–05, data presented are for Grades 3–5 only.

    Research Base:

    • Gersten, R., Compton, D., Connor, C.M., Dimino, J., Santoro, L., Linan-Thompson, S., and Tilly, W.D. (2008). Assisting students struggling with reading: Response to Intervention and multi-tier intervention for reading in the primary grades. A practice guide. (NCEE 2009-4045). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/publications/practiceguides/
    • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Retrieved from http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/nrp/smallbook.cfm
    • See also the best practices identified through the Texas Reading Initiative at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/reading/practices/practices.html

    Contact Information 

    Ella Iles Elementary School
    Lubbock Independent School District
    2401 Date Avenue
    Lubbock, TX 79404
    (806) 766-1755 


    End Notes

    1Peer campuses were identified using the campus groups used in Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) reporting. For more information on how campus groups are identified, see the AEIS Glossary, http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/aeis/2009/glossary.html. The comparison group used for this analysis only included those 25 campuses from the identified peer group for which complete data were available for Grades 3–5 for all years analyzed.  
    2 All averages are weighted averages based on the grade level(s) targeted by the practice.
    3Note: When applicable and appropriate, the BPC typically analyzes data for the economically disadvantaged, Limited English Proficient (LEP), and at-risk student groups. The LEP student group was not included in this analysis due to small numbers. 

    Posted/Revised:
    2010