Published by National Association of School Superintendents

Monica NgMonica Ng, Pivot Learning’s* Director, Education Programs, recently shared details of Pivot Learning’s collaboration with Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (Monterey, CA),  Lancaster School District (Lancaster, CA) to pilot an innovative peer-to-peer learning model. Leadership teams from these two districts were provided the opportunity to learn strategies for leveraging multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) models to address the needs of at-risk student populations from educators in Sanger Unified School District (Sanger. CA), a national leader in the use of MTSS.

In many cases, school districts look to outside providers to offer support for the implementation of new initiatives. Through a generous grant from the Stuart Foundation, Pivot Learning was able to work with two California districts, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (Monterey) and Lancaster School District (Lancaster), to pilot an innovative peer-to-peer learning model. 


Webinar Date & Time: Thursday, Feb. 13 | 4:00 – 5:00p.m. ET


Universal screening for reading problems is the best way to identify and address reading difficulties. While there are a range of reading problems that can affect students, an estimated 5-7% of school-age children have dyslexia*. Most students with reading difficulties, including those with dyslexia, can be taught how to be strong readers. But before research-based instruction and intervention can take place, educators must identify which students are struggling and why.

During this hour-long free webinar, Dr. Michelle Hosp, whose research focuses on reading and data-based decision making within MTSS, will provide insights into assessment for reading difficulties. You will learn:

Don’t miss this opportunity to deepen your understanding of the role of assessment in supporting students struggling to read.

If you’re not able to attend the live event, go ahead and register. Following the live webinar, we will email you a recording of the webinar to watch at your convenience.

*Pediatrics in Review, May 2003

Comparing Reading Research to Program DesignStudent Achievement Partners has released a report that offers a deep dive into Teachers College Reading & Writing Project’s Units of Study English language arts instructional program. Seven literacy experts evaluated the program to determine its adherence to research-based practices that should be evident in literacy programs and in use in classrooms, particularly to accelerate students who are not reading at grade level.

Dr. Claude Goldenberg, a CORE Advisory Board member, is one of the experts who reviewed Units of Study. The focus of his review was the adequacy of supports for English learners present in the program.

This is the first in a series of reviews that Student Achievement Partners will be doing, each will focus on one of four common categories of elementary ELA instructional programs reviewed against the relevant research base. Because Units of Study is a widely used balanced literacy/workshop program, it was selected as the program for analysis in that category.

The report is available for download from Student Achievement Partners.

Download the Report


Dr. Dale WebsterRecently, there have been many responses to Lucy Calkins’ essay ”No One Gets to Own the Term, Science of Reading.” Many have responded with strong disagreement to her point of view. Two of the responses are very informative and can be found here and here. More disputes to her essay can be found here. Interestingly, none of the responses that I have seen to date address Calkins’ inaccurate attack on the Reading First initiative, which was the academic cornerstone of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). While there are criticisms of the NCLB Act, in fact, many educators and those directly involved with Reading First have argued that the Reading First Initiative was one of the strongest components of NCLB.

Calkins makes the following statements about Reading First.

Instead, the experiment involved tens of millions of kids. It was called Reading First, the reading instructional program for K-3 mandated in schools funded by No Child Left Behind….involved a set of top-down mandates for intensive phonics instruction that resembled what the science of reading people today are supporting. The mandates included not only intensive systematic phonics based on “the science of reading” but also an unbalanced reliance on highly decodable texts, to the exclusion of trade books…The results of Reading First were not good…the problem with Reading First was not that it taught phonics, but that phonics was largely all it taught.

Calkins makes several factual errors in her statements above which are largely based on anecdotal musings from many who didn’t like Reading First.


March 16-18, 2020

APS Berna Facio Professional Development Center
Room 100 (auditorium)
3315 Louisiana Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM
8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. each day

Join the CORE team in Albuquerque this spring for a deep dive into the academic side of Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). This workshop is designed for school leadership teams involved in the design and implementation of MTSS.


In the coming months, we’ll be at several conferences sharing evidence-based instructional strategies you can put to work immediately to improve academic outcomes for your students. We hope to see you at one or more of these events.

Plain Talk About Literacy

Jan. 29 – 31, New Orleans, LA

Targeting Fluency for Struggling Adolescent Readers
Linda Diamond, President, CORE & Author of the Teaching Reading Sourcebook
Jan. 29, 1:15 – 2:35 p.m.


Webinar Date & Time: Wednesday, January 29 | 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.


Strong reading skills are the foundation of all academic success, yet African American students as a group score lower on most standardized tests than white students. In spite of the 2000 National Reading Panel’s conclusions that students need direct, explicit instruction that teaches phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, educational institutions are failing to implement the Reading Panel’s findings. University training has been inadequate, forcing K-12 systems to fill classrooms with under-prepared teachers who then receive little support, training, or aligned materials.

African American students suffer disproportionately when not taught to read using evidence-based practices that leverage research. During this provocative hour-long webinar, Kareem Weaver, Member of the NAACP Oakland Branch’s Education Committee, will discuss how:

It is critical that schools provide African American children the same opportunities to achieve academic success as other children. This webinar will provide insights into how to address the persistent issues that create the achievement gap, particularly the lack of quality, evidence-based reading instruction.

Can’t make the live webinar? No problem! Go ahead and register and we’ll send you an email the day after the webinar with a link to the recording.

Enhance your practice with CORE’s 2019-20 free professional learning webinars. From evidence-based practices to help ELs succeed to deep dives into assessing dyslexia and teaching math, it’s a convenient and free way to build your skills. Please share these webinars with your team. Everyone is welcome!


Dean BallardBy Dean Ballard, Director of Mathematics, CORE

Implementing a new curriculum is a daunting task. Often the organization, layout, and even the instructional approach can be drastically different than the previously used curriculum. Change takes time, especially if that change includes learning new instructional approaches. Therefore, the first year or two of implementing a new curriculum may be focused on changing instructional practices and deepening the knowledge base of teachers and instructional leaders. Taguma and Barrera (2019) cite teacher commitment, beliefs, and content and pedagogical understanding of the new curriculum as key factors that either facilitate or impede successful curriculum implementation. For example, if teachers do not know some of the new pedagogy that is embedded within the new curriculum, they will need more professional learning and support.


The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently named Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education (CORE) as one of the approved providers for research-based effective literacy instructional professional learning. CORE will partner with Michigan educators to facilitate significant improvement in educator effectiveness through job-embedded professional learning based on the science of reading.

CORE’s Elementary Reading Academy, based on the nationally recognized Teaching Reading Sourcebook, coupled with coaching covers the content identified in Michigan’s Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy, K3. CORE’s professional learning also incorporates brain research, linguistics and dyslexia information, and Structured Literacy Practices. Working with CORE, educators will gain the knowledge and instructional skills to help all students, even English learners and those with dyslexia, become strong readers.

As a provider of research‐based effective literacy professional learning for more than 26 years, CORE is excited to expand their work in Michigan to more schools and districts.