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.


by Dr. Dale Webster, Chief Academic Officer, CORE

Nowadays the ability to answer text-dependent questions is essential to do well on standardized tests of all types.  Students often have a difficult time using information from the text to answer comprehension questions, particularly inferential questions which require them to cross reference text and dig out answers that are not plainly stated.  Question-Answer Relationships (QAR) is an instructional technique designed to teach students to use metacognitive thinking to determine what they need to do in order to answer questions commonly found on high-stakes, summative assessments.


Ann LeonCongratulations to Ann Leon, a member of CORE’s Educational Services Team, for being awarded the California Reading & Literature Project: John Shefelbine Award for Leadership in Literacy. Ann is a 2019 CSU Sacramento Region recipient along with Johanna Kirkman, co-director of the California Reading & Literature Project.

In addition to 20 years as an elementary teacher, Ann has spent 19 years in the roles of intervention teacher, reading specialist, instructional coach, BTSA (beginning teacher) support provider, assistant principal, and literacy consultant. Ann had the privilege to learn from and work closely with the late John Shefelbine, lead author of SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, & Sight Words, © 2001, 2007, 2014) from 2000 to 2016. Her own growth and dedication evolved into supporting principals and teachers in professional learning – making instructional shifts toward powerful reading instruction by identifying and using Scientifically-Based Reading Research methods and programs, deepening teacher knowledge in their current practice, and utilizing a lesson study approach in working with students to support teachers.

We are proud of the work Ann does with educators across the country as a CORE Educational Services Consultant and are thrilled that she has achieved this honor.