G.O.I.S.D. Proposes
Literacy Improvement Program

On Tuesday February 17, 2009, Jean Massie, from the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District addressed the Wakefield-Marenisco School Board on the proposed Literacy Program. The night before addressing Wakefield-Marenisco Jean was in Ironwood describing the same program to the IASD Board.
The proposal is the expansion of a literacy program that has been in use at the Watersmeet School School District in grades K-6 since 2005. The results of that program have been very successful. Only six of the original 13 students remain in the program.

The proposal is that there will be three reading coaches implanted within the school districts. Ironwood would have one on site coaches. The remaining two coaches would be shared by the other schools in the program.

The basis for the coaches is that together with the school's teachers will be skillful collaborators in the elementary setting. That the collaborators will interret and use assessment to inform instruction. Together the coaches and teachers will develop and implement skillful instructional strategies to improve academic literacy in specific content areas.

Massie defines a Literacy Coach as one who helps teachers recognize what they know and can do, and assists teachers as they strengthen their ability to make more effective use of what they know and do, and will support teachers as they learn more and do more.

What will be different if the plan is implemented? One shot workshops will be replaced with site-based, job-embedded professional development.

Professional development will take place through collaborative networks.

Key elements of the program are composed of;

Reflection and Inquiry: Question why we are engaging in certain practices.
Feedback: Ask for and receive feedback on classroom practice.
Theory and Knowledge: integration of theory into practice.

Ms. Massie went on to state that the Literacy Coach is not the solver of another's problems. The Coach understands the concept of building on teacher strengths vs. using a deficit model (i.e. What's wrong here). The coach maintains faith in people's ability to grow and believes in their own capacity to serve s a coach.
It is proposed that the program be implemented in a three year cycle.
Grades K-3 would be implemented in the first year, followed by Grade 4 in the second year and grades 5 and 6 in year three.


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