by Dean Ballard, Director of Mathematics, CORE Learning

Dean Ballard

The problem with having students work in groups is getting students to work in groups. Educators have done a great job of overcoming many group-work challenges over the last couple of decades. For example, providing seating arrangements more conducive to collaboration, asking deeper-level questions focused on the why not just the what, and assigning more engaging and investigative tasks. Math curriculum has also evolved to include deeper-level prompts as a standard part of lessons and many exploratory tasks to better develop student reasoning skills. Despite these improvements, often we still are not getting effective student discourse and collaboration in small-group work. Why not?


Welcome to the Spring 2022 edition of the CORE Academic Quarterly newsletter!

In this edition of the Academic Quarterly, the Reading Expert resurfaces an important topic related to the language comprehension portion of Scarborough’s Reading Rope—language structures, or syntax.

The Marvelous Mathematician explores how developing teachers as self-directed learners can help organizations make the necessary changes in teaching approaches to support the increased emphasis on exploration and investigation through equitable and engaging school experiences outlined in many of the new math frameworks and standards that are being adopted.

In the Leadership Corner, you’ll find resources to help navigate next steps in hiring, training, and retaining teachers and other school staff in a time of higher-than-usual vacancies.


To receive future editions of this newsletter via email, add your name to the mailing list.

SIPPS storybookProfessional learning and job-embedded coaching on how to deliver explicit reading instruction are essential to improving literacy outcomes for all students. But just as critical is the use of high-quality, evidence-based reading curricula, particularly when supporting striving readers at all grade levels. In a time when one in three K–3 students require major and systemic reading intervention, CORE is proud to partner with the Center for the Collaborative Classroom to provide professional learning for their literacy programs, including SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words) which a recent study found significantly boosts elementary school reading skills. (more…)

by Dr. Claude Goldenberg, Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Education, emeritus, Stanford University

Dr. Claude Goldenberg

The newest front in the never-ending wars and squabbles over how to teach reading involves English language learners (EL), students learning to read (and write) in English while simultaneously learning to speak and understand it.

In the wake of renewed prominence of research supporting an early focus on phonics and decoding (aka the “science of reading”), EL advocates around the country have been sounding alarms. (more…)

Mary Buck, Mary Buck, M.S., CORE Educational Services Consultant — Math

Over the last few years, I’ve worked to support elementary teachers across several states with the teaching and learning of mathematics. Many times, the most meaningful activities I model in classrooms are those that build fluency and number sense. Almost everyone believes that learning how to read and being able to read fluently with comprehension are extremely important. Although I am not an expert on the teaching of reading, I do know that to be able to read, I must know the letters of the alphabet and how they are put together to form words that have meaning. Fluency with numbers and having number sense are every bit as important as reading fluency and comprehension. In fact, research shows that early academic skills in reading and math are significant predictors of future academic success (Torgesen & Burgess, 1998; Watts et al., 2014). Students who struggle with math coming out of the primary grades continue to struggle with math the rest of their school careers. (more…)

Welcome to the Winter 2022 edition of the CORE Academic Quarterly newsletter!

In this edition of the Academic Quarterly, the Reading Expert provides recommendations for Tier 2 reading interventions in a time when universal screening data show that upwards of 80 percent of first- and second-grade students are performing below grade level on foundational literacy skills.

The Marvelous Mathematician shares an excerpt from Kyndall Brown and Pamela Seda’s book, Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Math Classroom.

In the Leadership Corner, you’ll find an overview of the academic and behavior instructional resources available from Vanderbilt University’s IRIS Center.


To receive future editions of this newsletter via email, add your name to the mailing list.

100 AK educators will have the opportunity to strengthen their science of reading instructional practices 

Portland, Ore., Oakland, Calif., Juneau, Alaska – February 3, 2022NWEA, CORE® and Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN),  in partnership with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), announced today a new learning, collaboration, and coaching program that will empower 100 literacy specialists, instructional coaches, and teachers to enhance their instructional practices, ultimately driving better outcomes for Alaska’s elementary students. The program will utilize federal funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act, Title II and feature CORE’s Online Elementary Reading Academy (OERA), as well as individualized coaching sessions for each participating teacher. (more…)

By Cyndia Acker-Ramirez and Katie Laskasky

Teacher Practice Teams (TPTs) engage in collaborative inquiry to advance students’ sense of belonging and achievement in mathematics through professional learning routines that embrace teacher creativity and ownership of instructional decisions.

Imagine a thriving team of math teachers, impassioned about growing students’ belonging in their math classroom communities and empowered to take ownership of their instructional decisions. Not only is the team doing the work of understanding and relating to individual students, with regard to both learning mathematics and their growth as human beings, but the team also feels that its instructional decisions have purpose and that it has autonomy in moving students through math learning obstacles. Team members make complex instructional decisions shaped by the dynamic classroom environments in which they teach.

Wouldn’t it be great if a team of teachers could engage in professional learning that provided them with regular and specific feedback on how their actions are affecting their students? Wouldn’t it also be great if these learning experiences were embedded in the teachers’ school day, providing a process for quickly gathering evidence that they trust and can use to inform the complex decision-making that occurs in their classrooms on a daily basis? What if we centered teachers’ professional learning experiences around opportunities to creatively think about instruction and use curricular resources to grow the math classroom communities they are seeking? (more…)

Welcome to the Fall 2021 edition of the CORE Academic Quarterly newsletter!

In this edition of the Academic Quarterly, the Reading Expert explores what has changed in our knowledge base since the International Dyslexia Association adopted a definition of dyslexia in 2003, and how a new definition can help move the needle toward more accurate ways to diagnose and intervene.

The Marvelous Mathematician has a conversation with Dr. Ben Clarke, Associate Professor at the University of Oregon, about the importance of elementary math assessment, look-fors when selecting math assessments, and what actions to take when assessment data reveal gaps in learning.

In the Leadership Corner you’ll find resources to help determine how well your current elementary reading/ELA curriculum, or one you’re considering adopting, aligns with the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy.


To receive future editions of this newsletter via email, add your name to the mailing list.

Free Half-Day Event: Tuesday, October 19 | 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PT

Join us for The California Reading Coalition’s First Annual Virtual Gathering. CORE, Pivot Learning and literacy leaders across California will share the opportunities and challenges to improve reading instruction and outcomes for all our students.

The Annual Gathering is designed to be interactive and collaborative, providing an opportunity to share successes, brainstorm with fellow educators, and chart a course to ensure California’s children thrive.

Pivot Learning’s CEO Arun Ramanathan will lead the breakout session Connecting with Teachers — the Shift from Balanced Literacy. The closing panel discussion, moderated by CORE’s president Robert Sheffield, will be about the future and direction of reading instruction in California.