By David Hedges, CORE Senior Education Services Math Consultant

It is almost Trick or Treat time, and I am reminded of my classroom days working with struggling Algebra 1 students. Fractions issues were the usual suspect! I used to tell my students that I was going to dress up as a fraction on Halloween and scare them all. Their choral response was usually something like, “Mr. Hedges, you are so crazy!”

Most of the math my students struggled with was not about Algebra 1 topics. The student struggles were mostly around a lack of fluency or understanding with earlier skills they had been exposed to on their math road to Algebra 1. Check out a prior blog from February 2018 written by Mary Buck, Senior Educational Services Consultant for CORE, about fluency within the Common Core Standards, Number Sense and Fluency.

I always found math to be easy as a K-12 student and went on to complete a BS in Mathematics at the ‘real USC’, University of South Carolina. As successful as I was with math, it was during a math methods course taught by Dr. Randy Philipp at San Diego State University that I had a fraction epiphany – meaning a whole epiphany about fractions.


WEBINAR DATE & TIME: November 13 | 4:00 – 5:00pm ET


Understanding how word-level reading develops and why some students struggle are valuable starting points for planning reading instruction and interventions. Knowing this puts educators in a good position to determine what aspect(s) of the reading process may be creating difficulties for children. This in turn, enables educators to provide intervention that is highly effective to minimize or eliminate the reading difficulty.

Join Dr. David Kilpatrick, Author of Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties, for this free webinar to learn:

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from an expert in the field of reading assessment and intervention.

If you’re not able to join the live webinar, please go ahead and register. We will send you a recording to watch at your convenience.

Oceanside High School (OHS), 40 miles north of San Diego, is building college and career preparation into the learning experience so that every student, regardless of race, gender, income, or disability, graduates with the academic knowledge and social-emotional skills to be successful in whichever educational or career choices they pursue after high school.


Kareem WeaverBy Kareem Weaver, Member of Education Committee, NAACP, Oakland Branch

It turns out that we know exactly why Johnny can’t read. However, instead of using the brain science and overwhelming research consensus, we’re still using strategies that reflect our own biases and theories. Johnny is left to fend for himself, and the only time he may receive the support he needs is when he reaches the point of crisis.

In 2000, the federal government responded to the country’s reading confusion by producing the seminal work in the field. The National Reading Panel’s conclusions were clear: students need direct, explicit instruction that teaches phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Depending on your cultural flavor, one can call this Structured Literacy or the Marva Collins way, but it’s simply evidence-based practices which leverage research.


Most educators have heard that phonemic awareness (PA) is important for reading. However, it is often not clear why. Most readers were never taught PA, yet they are good readers. Some advocates of phonics instruction as well as advocates of balanced literacy downplay the importance of PA for reading instruction. Still other educators are puzzled by the concept of “advanced PA.”

In this free on-demand webinar, Dr. David Kilpatrick, author of Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties, will discuss how and why highly developed PA skills (i.e., “phonemic proficiency”) are a characteristic of skilled readers, whether a student is taught it or not. By contrast, struggling readers do not develop these skills without direct intervention.

Watch this webinar to learn the key factors that link phonological skills and word-level reading.


With just 38% of ACT-tested grads meeting at least 3 of 4 core College Readiness Benchmarks and only 11% of business leaders agreeing that college grads have skills their businesses need, high schools face an increasing challenge to prepare students for college, careers and life.

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and many others across the country, have adopted Linked Learning as a way to create real-world learning experiences that interest, challenge and inspire students, as well as prepare them for a range of options after high school, including 2- and 4-year colleges, apprenticeships and military service.

Watch this hour-long webinar with LAUSD, Linked Learning Alliance and Pivot Learning on October 2, 2019, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM PT, to learn about an innovative approach to education that research has shown leads to higher graduation rates and improved college- and career-readiness.

Click here to access the webinar.

Sources: The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2018, ACT. Higher Education’s Word Preparation Paradox, GALLUP, February 2014.

(STOCKTON, CA September 3, 2019) — Stockton Unified School District, with support from partners Pivot Learning, Pivot’s subsidiary CORE[1], and UnboundEd, has embarked on an ambitious plan to implement standards-aligned math and English Language Arts (ELA) curricula in every grade and provide every teacher and school leader with high-quality, multi-year professional learning in curriculum implementation and in addressing racial bias in the classroom.

Said Sonjhia Lowery, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at Stockton, “We are so excited about this partnership with Pivot and UnboundEd. This opportunity directly supports our commitment towards increasing graduation requirements and converting all 7th and 8th grade teachers from multiple subject credentialed to single subject credentialed. We are an organization that is obsessed with adult learning and this project will reap huge rewards with teaching and learning in Stockton.”


By Derrick Love Ed. D, Assistant Superintendent at Priority Charter Schools

Teachers join the profession to make a significant impact on the lives of students and the communities they serve. No teacher wakes up in the morning and says, “Today I want to be a bad teacher.” Their implied mindset is, “I want to be the best teacher ever! But sometimes I simply do not have the tools within my toolkit to make it happen.” The U.S. Department of Education concluded that student achievement could improve by 21 percentile points as a result of teachers’ participation in well-designed professional development programs. Intentional professional development is the key to building and sustaining high-quality teachers in the classroom.


Language Tree OnlineThe Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education (CORE) is excited to provide professional learning and coaching services to educators using Language Tree Online to help accelerate language proficiency for English learners. CORE will work with districts and schools to effectively implement Language Tree’s comprehensive online English Language Development program in K-12 schools. CORE will share with educators evidence-based practices for teaching reading and writing and model effective instructional practices across the curriculum.

Language Tree Online has served the education market for more than 15 years, offering self-paced digital language products to schools, libraries and homes across the country. The Language Tree approach to language acquisition includes in-depth assessments, standards-based individualized instruction, multi-sensory input, and acculturation and cultural knowledge. The video-based instructional models and curriculum are aligned to WIDA Prime V2 Correlation Criteria for English Language Learners, California ELD standards and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

CORE is pleased to partner with Language Tree Online to improve literacy for English learners by supporting the educators dedicated to helping these students adapt to a new culture and thrive in school and beyond.

Learn more about Language Tree Online.

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!