FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.    What growth should I expect to see on my campus?

Principals, teachers and students have reported that after the first cycle of professional study (approximately 3 weeks) they can see evidence of increased:

  • Independence
  • Engagement
  • Volume of reading and writing

Often, students report to us that they understand the process of writing for the first time. 

Language development should be another area of growth. Workshop teaching is designed for collaboration. Teachers are coached to facilitate rather than dictate conversation so that readers and writers learn how to engage in authentic discussions around their literacy.

2.    What accountability structures are in place?

We measure the performance of your children to improve your staff and to increase accountability.   Objective measurements of before and after student performance will be reported at the end of each cycle.

As part of our day on site, we reserve time to debrief, reflect and create systems of support for the leadership team to implement between visits so that professional study continues even when we are not present on site.  

Our staff developer will spend part of her time with the principal on site during each lab day.  This time is often spent walking through classrooms where the staff developer helps to point out expectations the principal should have and evidence of teacher growth based on our work.

Teachers will also learn effective ways to independently assess and monitor student progress so that student performance monitoring becomes a permanent part of your school.

3.    How much time will teachers spend out of their classroom to participate in this PD?

90 minutes. 

These 90 minutes are utilized effectively so that teachers are able to return to their classrooms the same day and implement at least one aspect of the professional study. 

We also plan for individual coaching days within our cycles of 3 weeks or more.  On an individual coaching day there are no subs hired.  The staff developer spends approximately 20-30 minutes of differentiated time with each teacher and their students working on a pre-determined area of professional study.  This way, teachers receive help in a specific area with their own s

tudents. 

To further minimize time out of the classroom we offer after school think tanks, that occur on Saturdays or during teacher institutes. 

4.    What if my campus is legally mandated to use a particular literacy curriculum such as Houghton Mifflin or Treasures, etc.?

We can and have effectively integrated many California mandated curriculums.  We have this flexibility because Balanced Literacy is an approach, or a method of teaching rather than a program.

Our methodology trains teachers how to use their knowledge and experience as a resource to use within the framework of a reading or writing workshop.  Many of our current schools have created yearlong calendars of teaching around units of study in reading and writing workshop.  Our staff trains them to use the skills and strategies of specific programs as possible teaching points in whole class mini lessons.  We also teach how to transfer various skills and strategies into the differentiated portion of workshop or in the components work at various times of the day (word work, etc.).