Educators acknowledge the right of all students to receive equal access to high quality educational programs and instruction. At times, students’ performance in academic content areas can be hampered by challenges they experience in reading and writing. As put forth by the International Literacy Association (ILA), “The ability to READ, WRITE, and COMMUNICATE connects people and empowers them to achieve things they never thought possible”. Reading specialists and classroom teachers make a strong instructional team combining their knowledge of pedagogy, resources, instructional interventions, and technology to meet the specific needs of each student. At CH Lopez Educational Consulting this is an expectation of high priority. We design and facilitate comprehensive reading programs to maximize your school’s mission.
As the CEO of CH Lopez Educational Consulting, my training, expertise and experiences support the belief that effective instruction in reading and writing can have a tremendous impact on student achievement. My vision would be to work with you to develop literacy services programming which illustrates common themes, needs, and resources while continuing to support the unique flavor of each classroom. This would begin with the development and expansion of a K12 scope and sequence for integrating literacy instruction into content areas, a cohesive foundation designed to unify the classrooms at your school in order to support students at all levels from emerging readers to high school researchers.
To minimize the loss of instructional time, I would work with you to develop a literacy support program which allows classroom teachers to provide the necessary supports that students need within the classroom for Tier 1 and Tier 2 students. This would serve to maximize content area instruction. Additionally, a companion Tier 3 intervention program could provide intensive interventions as a transition for new students and those who are experiencing challenges to their academic performance due to their deficits in literacy skills. This would begin with the development of a comprehensive professional development program which would function as whole group, small group, coaching model. Common techniques would be presented at a traditional professional development which would be expanded to small group professional learning communities and, finally, to one-on-one coaching for teachers. An integrated literacy program would align to all district and school curricula to prepare 21st Century learners for college and careers by exploring ways to acquire and transfer skills and techniques into content area instruction.
As a school leader, I have supervised and evaluated teachers, guided administrators, and designed instructional spaces. I have designed programs at every level – curriculum, instruction, assessment and performance, professional development, resources, technology, communication, and leadership. I believe that I have the ability to “bridge the gap” and align intervention supports to classroom instruction. My range of qualifications gives me a unique perspective to fully appreciate the mandates, needs and concerns of administrators, the efforts and best practices of teachers, and the needs of students. I possess certifications as a principal, supervisor, school business administrator, teacher, and librarian/media specialist. Additionally, in response to my initiatives through CH Lopez Educational Consulting and my newly formed non-profit, Project Exceed, I have pursed certifications as a reading specialist, Orton Gillingham interventionist, and, currently, as a learning disabilities teacher consultant (LDTC). I believe each of these gives me a firm understanding of the needs of all stakeholders.
1. Curriculum: Overall, I will seek to align the reading intervention needs of the students with the content area instruction of the classroom teachers as evidenced by student achievement, best practices of the International Literacy Association (ILA), and curriculum of the Thomas Edison Energy Smart Charter School. I would analyze the progression of the curricula to determine how the process of instructing and supporting literacy skills has been defined by the school and how this aligns with best practice. The final product would be a plan to develop a K12 scope and sequence literacy program which is designed to be integrated into all content areas.
2. Instruction: The role of the reading specialist within the school. As put forth by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), “We should not overlook the obvious benefits of integrating literacy skills in the content areas. This approach produces stronger readers who possess a greater understanding of content knowledge. The benefits are found throughout the K-12 curriculum.”
I would analyze the instruction in each classroom with a goal of creating common reading foundational skills which can be differentiated and modified to meet the needs of each content area by examining the following questions – What specific skills do these students need in order to read effectively in a particular content area? What strategies are best used for each student to assist him/her to become a more effective reader and independent learner? How is the intervention support aligned to the curriculum and classroom instruction? How does the reading specialist collaborate with the classroom teacher to design and develop lessons? Is there access before school, after school and/or on Saturdays? What access do parents have to the literacy resources?
3. Assessment and Performance: I would analyze the quantitative (standardized test scores) and qualitative (school benchmarks, grades and teacher anecdotal records) data for struggling students. I will focus on areas of need and possibilities for growth in making recommendations for intervention and instructional strategies and/providing explicit instruction in those areas. Additionally, I would recommend that assessments for reading proficiency in the areas of comprehension and decoding.
4. Professional Development: I would explore how the professional development needs of the teachers and the intervention needs of the students align: What type of professional development do the teachers need? What is the link between teachers’ and students’ needs? What role does the reading specialist play with the teachers and students, particularly regarding professional development for literacy and intervention skills?
5. Technology: I would look to see what technology is utilized within the school with regard to literacy skills development and how it is accessed by students, teachers, and parents. I would also look to see how technology is integrated throughout the building, what options for access are present, and what form of virtual presence exists.
6. Communication: Without a collaborative connection to transfer skills, even the most optimum reading intervention program will not maximize student potential. I would analyze current student levels of performance in the classroom and on standardized test. I would assess struggling students to determine current levels of reading performance. From this, I would create individual student intervention plans to identify the area of student need and provide teachers with strategies to support the student in the classroom. This can also be used for teachers working at intervention programs outside of the school day.
The evaluation of the above areas would involve a comprehensive data analysis utilizing both qualitative student data. It could also include conversations, interviews and focus groups as well as quantitative data from teacher, administrator, and/or parent surveys. This could be determined at the time of the acceptance of the contract.