White Paper

The most powerful way to raise student achievement is through professional learning. More than ever before, students need effective teaching if they are to develop the higher order thinking skills they will need to be career and college ready in the 21st century. At the same time the expectations for student achievement are being raised, the student population in schools is becoming increasingly diverse. This means the need for effective professional development for schools and teachers is critical. ...

English learners require instructional approaches that change as students develop greater proficiency and become independent learners. To properly implement selected practices, teachers, coaches and site administrators should be provided with adequate professional development, establish inter-rater reliability and a developed rubric for each practice....

Since the early 1990s, English language learners have increased over 70% in the United States, making them the fastest growing group of students. With 14 million new immigrants arriving in the United States in the last ten years, it is evident that teachers need to use effective practices to ensure their success in acquiring academic English and the rigor required for school success....

In a nation rife with anxiety about the growing income and opportunity gap, and renewed fear of our declining global competitiveness, it is easy to lose sight of the fact there is some good news on the education front - progress is being made. Over the past three decades, high school dropout rates have steadily declined among all races and economic groups, with the lowest quartile of students – in terms of income – making the most progress...

The old paradigm of balanced instruction focused on enabling children and teachers to achieve success at school. Today’s paradigm focuses on students achieving college and career readiness in life, beyond school. The old paradigm of balanced instruction focused on enabling children and teachers to succeed at school. Today, the focus is for students to achieve college and career readiness in life beyond school....

Experts have been debating the best way to teach reading for over fifty years. In reality, there is no single method that will teach all students to read and write successfully. Over the years, various approaches have come in and out of favor in an effort to raise achievement. These include: tighter curricula specifications, prescribing structures for literacy blocks, providing scripts for teaching and increasing accountability, all resulting in minimal impact on the learning outcomes for students (Boykin & Noguera, 2011)....

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) place an increasing emphasis on getting students to independently read the range and complexity of texts required to be college and career ready. The importance of increasing the complexity of texts that students read and the need for teachers to better understand what makes the texts challenging arose out of research that showed nearly half of the students graduating high school need some kind of remediation to cope with the reading required in college and during their careers. The research also showed that the clearest differentiator in reading between students who are and are not college ready is the ability to comprehend complex texts (ACT, 2006). ...

One of the greatest challenges facing middle and high schools is ensuring students have the comprehension strategies needed to cope in the increasingly complex world of print. The Literacy Common Core State Standards acknowledges this and has placed an increasing emphasis on getting students ready for the complexity of texts they will face in their careers and at college....

The current crisis in adolescent literacy is well documented. There is a significant disparity between the education our students receive and the demands of life in the 21st century. Traditionally, education aims to raise standards by any means, but we are coming to see that preparing students for tests and preparing them for life beyond school are very different goals....

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