Our most vulnerable students also require structured materials designed specifically to fill learning gaps

by Linda Diamond, President, CORE and author of the Teaching Reading Sourcebook and Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures

Back in September 2018 I wrote about the importance of selecting and fully implementing a great curriculum with excellent support and ongoing professional learning. This is a huge and important step in accelerating achievement for all students. But is that enough? The answer, unfortunately is “no.” A standards-aligned, high-quality curricula, while significantly improving outcomes for many students, will not be sufficient for those most at risk. Core curriculum is targeted at grade-level standards and will ensure all students have access to robust content, but it will not meet the needs of students who are significantly behind in their skills. Such students will still require a targeted or intensive intervention curricula that is well beyond what a standards-aligned core program can provide.

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Welcome to the spring 2019 edition of the CORE Academic Quarterly newsletter!

In this edition of the Academic Quarterly, we step back in time to Fall 2014 where we first published the following Reading Expert article. We believe the information is still very relevant in light of the current calls for standards-based curriculum and equity for all students. With that in mind, we resurface the article about the California ELA/ELD Framework. This article, written by those involved with developing the Framework, describes its unique features and design to support all students, especially English learners. With the high expectations of the Common Core State Standards and other state standards, it is important to revisit the notion that standards themselves are not a curriculum. The powerful statement in the introduction, “the absence of such efforts to move from the standards themselves to a coherent and sequenced curriculum will hamper many states and local district common core implementation efforts” reminds us again that we need to think beyond loosely designed Units of Study. Instead, we need to think about implementing effective curriculum that teachers do not have to create, but can use as a tool to provide high quality teaching.

The Marvelous Mathematician article focuses on incorporating explicit instructional techniques into both direct instruction math lessons and inquiry-based math lessons.

Finally, the Leadership Corner also steps back into time where we revisit the importance of an effective MTSS plan for secondary students who are struggling. Although an effective, standards-based Tier 1 curriculum is very important, it alone will not be enough for students who are struggling.

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By Linda Diamond, President of CORE

A shining light of education left us on February 15, 2019. Siegfried Engelmann, known as Zig to those of us who knew and adored him, was a genius. His expertise was figuring out and “engineering” instruction so that children learned to read and do math successfully and at advanced levels starting in kindergarten. Despite its critics, Zig and Direct Instruction (DI) did more for at-risk students than any other method of instruction.

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Welcome to the winter 2019 edition of the CORE Academic Quarterly newsletter!

In this edition, you’ll find the Reading Expert examining the role of Guided Reading in differentiated small group instruction while the Marvelous Mathematician completes his second article in a two-part series on students with disabilities. This article focuses on the types of materials and knowledge teachers need for teaching math to students with disabilities, particularly mathematical disabilities. Don’t miss the Leadership Corner where you’ll find links to download two recently updated IES practice guides from the What Works Clearinghouse.

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CORE is excited to now offer the schools and districts we work with digiCOACH, an advanced online coaching system that improves the effectiveness and efficiency of teacher coaching. As an official digiCOACH reseller, CORE will facilitate the implementation of digiCOACH and support school leaders in learning how to use the data they collect to inform and guide ongoing professional learning for their staff that leads to improved instruction.

Through the digiCOACH platform, CORE Educational Consultants will have access to the data collected from the classroom observations of the schools they work with which will help them identify gaps in knowledge and areas in which school leaders need additional guidance.

Learn more about digiCOACH.

Welcome to the Fall 2018 edition of the CORE Academic Quarterly newsletter!

October is dyslexia awareness month! You may recall that there have been two previous editions of the Academic Quarterly’s Reading Expert devoted to dyslexia. The Spring 2018 edition focused on Misconceptions about Dyslexia and the Winter 2018 edition focused on the difference between screening for reading difficulties and evaluating for dyslexia. To access these previous editions please click here. Also, last fall, CORE published a white paper on Dyslexia. This edition of the Reading Expert describes Structured Literacy and couches it within the context of High-Leverage Practices in Special Education. In this edition’s Marvelous Mathematician, we discuss the needs of students with disabilities learning math and how teachers can provide instruction to meet these needs. And in the Leadership Corner, we will introduce an advanced coaching tool for school leaders called digiCOACH.

We’re also excited to release the new online format for the Academic Quarterly. Rather than having to open and download a PDF to read the articles, they are now all posted online so you can quickly click and read. You still have the option to save each article as a PDF or to print them. The new format provides you with lots of options for reading and sharing the information. Enjoy!

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All teachers want their students’ achievement levels to increase. Small group instruction and cooperative learning have a significant impact on student achievement (Hattie, 2009) and are widely used in elementary classrooms. Many middle and high school teachers are increasingly using these structures in other content areas. However, prior to implementing small group instruction teachers often have questions to be answered.

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By Linda Diamond and Michelle Rodriguez

Numerous recent reports cite the difference in student learning that an effective curriculum can make. These reports include Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Studies, StandardsWork, Curriculum Research: What We Know and Where We Need to Go; Ashley Berner’s report in Thomas Fordham Institute’s Flypaper, August 2018; and Brookings report by Morgan Polikoff,, June 2018. After 25 years of working with school districts to help them select and implement high-quality curriculum, we agree. However, only a couple reports, the Economic Studies Brookings Report by Morgan Polikoff and Ashley Berner’s report, address a critical difficulty—ensuring teachers have sufficient content and curriculum knowledge to use and implement a standards-based curriculum with fidelity.

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Numbers are all around us. Let’s teach children to embrace rather than fear numbers.

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