Leadership of Literacy Instruction Online
The course, Leadership of Literacy Instruction, aims to guide strategically positioned practitioners in transforming literacy practices in the school in which they work. Participants learn and apply principles and procedures for selecting teams of competent professionals to direct a school’s literacy and academic program; for conditioning the school environment so the necessary supports are available for literacy improvement; for establishing a core set of beliefs on which schools can build a vision of successful literacy education; for establishing a sustainable professional development system to undergird and support a school’s programs; for building and sustaining a comprehensive, data-based literacy instructional and assessment system; for monitoring, assessing and advocating for improvements in program delivery.
Successful schools set out to creating literacy-focused climates in which improved literacy outcomes, toward which all parties work, are perceived as prerequisites for attaining academic improvement goals in general (Murphy, 2004; 2007). Moreover, schools experiencing sustained student literacy improvement and continuous academic growth typically feature key attributes that work to foster such outcomes. Attributes include a system of shared, supportive leadership surrounding literacy teaching and learning; shared visions, missions, policies and goals regarding what literacy instruction should look like and what key student outcomes should be; sustained continuous inquiry into practice to determine teaching-learning strengths and needs; an unwavering focus on student learning; context-embedded, collective professional learning and application of learning targeted at those who must deliver literacy instruction; supportive social, political and technical conditions (Fullan, 1991; Kruse, Seashore Louis & Byrk, 1994; Hord, 1998; Senge, 2000; Joyce & Showers, 2002; AISR, 2003; Vogt & Shearer, 2003; Berliner-Gustafson, 2004; Cobb, 2005; Gabriel, 2005; Alberta In Praxis Group, 2006; Talbert 2010).
The course addresses Standards 5 and 6 of the International Reading Association’s (2010) Standards for Reading Professionals which covers supervision and professional learning, as well as elements under other standards that address the leadership role of the literacy professional. Course goals are outlined below and are followed by specific Module outcomes. Much of the content in this course draws on the body of knowledge in literacy as well as current research in school leadership and professional development.
By the end of the course, participants would have demonstrated understanding of:
- Principles of shared leadership, indicating how these connect with the functioning of school as communities of practice.
- Principles of adult learning and organizational change pertaining to the transformation of school cultures and school professionals, showing how such principles connect with the leadership and mentoring role of school-based literacy leaders.
- Instructional coaching models built on principles of adult learning and research-based professional development principles.
- Lead a team in developing a collective conceptions of what literacy is, what effective literacy education entails, and what the school must do to ensure it does offer the necessary literacy support to help teachers lead students toward academic success.
- Mobilize key stakeholder efforts in collectively developing commitment statements aimed at fostering a culture of literacy within which continuous literacy growth and overall academic success can be realized.
- While drawing upon school-wide data related to learning outcomes in a specific school, determine key literacy learning strengths and needs, instructional priorities, and research-based solutions on which a coherent strategic action plan can be based.
- Using data revealing gaps in student learning, in teacher professional knowledge/expertise, and in classroom instruction, devise a deliverable professional development plan geared at fortifying staff competence at delivering literacy instruction within a specific school.
- Support classroom teachers and paraprofessional in the selection and utilization of a wide range of research-based curriculum materials, evidence-based instructional practices, and assessment tools to meet the needs of all students.
- Outline procedures for developing, monitoring and evaluating a research-based, tiered reading program and assessment system that integrates the core elements of literacy.
- Evaluate a school’s literacy program with appropriate attention to all aspects of the total literacy system.
- Advocate for improvement in program offerings based on the results of context-embedded, practitioner-led inquiry.
Participants should, in addition, be able to:
Curriculum Design & Time Requirements
This is a 60-hour, three-credit graduate level course aims to equip participants with the leadership knowledge, skills and sensitivities needed to effectively guide schools toward sustained literacy improvement and enhanced academic performance. Training will focus on five main areas linked to the literacy leadership research:
- Implementing a shared leadership approach to instructional change.
- Establishing a literacy-focused school culture.
- Designing, implementing and evaluating an evidence-based literacy program.
- Fostering continuous inquiry into teaching and learning.
- Providing peer coaching to guide colleagues toward continuous instructional improvement.
Hardware & Computer Skill RequirementsStudents may use either a Macintosh computer or a PC with Windows 2000 or higher. Students should possess basic word processing skills and have internet access with an active e-mail account. Students also are expected to have a basic knowledge of how to use a Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox etc.
The required textbook for this course is Vogt, M.E., & Shearer, B.A. (2011). Reading Specialists and Literacy Coaches in the Real World. (3rd Ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
The text mirrors the research-driven structure used in the course and in addition provides exemplars for documents and protocols participants must produce for their own contexts.
The course comprises 10 learning Modules to be delivered over a 13-week period. Pacing varies according to Module content and will be indicated on the course schedule.
Module OutlineModule 1: Orientation - Who are Literacy Leaders?
- Who are literacy leaders?
- What roles have they typically played in school improvement?
- What leadership styles do they typically assume?
- What is your leadership style?
Module 2: Shared Leadership and Instructional Change
- Defining Leadership
- Characteristics of Effective Leadership
- Leadership and Teacher Change
- Shared Leadership
Module 3: The Literacy Leadership Team (LLT)
- Guidelines for Developing the Team
- Members of the Team
- Team Actions and RolesTeam
- Processes and Protocols
Module 4: Setting the Context for Literacy Leadership: Visions, Missions and Literacy Policies
- Creating Literacy-Focused Schools
- Statements of Commitment
- Policies, Visions and Missions
- Procedures for Developing and Publicizing Commitment Statements
Module 5: Fostering Continuous Learning Improvement: Needs Assessment
- Needs Assessment and the Assessment System
- Choosing Appropriate Forms of Data
- The Teaching Capacity Survey
- Managing the Data Retreat
Module 6: Fostering Continuous Learning Improvement: Strategic Planning
- Goal Setting – SMART Goals
- Action Planning and Cycles of Inquiry
- Elements of the Strategic Action Plan
- Attending to School Conditions in Planning
Module 7: Building and Sustaining a Comprehensive Literacy Program
- What is a Core Literacy Program?
- Elements of a Comprehensive Literacy Program
- Selecting Proven Core Program Models: The Research
- Choosing Supplemental and Intensive Instructional Frameworks
- Developing a Complementary Assessment System
- Reviewing and Selecting Supplementary Materials and Resources
- Planning Home-School-Community Initiatives
- Developing a One-Year Comprehensive Partnerships Plan
- Key Components of Partnership Policy
Module 8: Principles of Adult Learning and the Professional Development Plan
- Components of a Multi-Level Professional Development Plan
- Professional Development Planning and the Continuum of Teacher Change
- Planning for Differentiated Professional Learning Opportunities
Module 9: Assessment Contents:
- Implementing the Shared Conception of Effective Teaching and Learning
- Evidence-Based Workshop Models
- Evidence-Based Models of Peer Coaching
- The Coaching Toolkit
Module 10: Literacy Program Evaluation, Research and Advocacy
- What is Action Research?
- Action Research as an Instrument of Program Evaluation
- Using Action Research to Inform Grant Writing
- Elements of Effective Grant Proposals
- Evaluate Literacy Grant Proposals
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|1.||Participation: Actively participate in all activities.|
|2.||Assignments: Complete all readings and reflection assignments.|
|3.||Portfolio: Students will be required be required to construct a portfolio during the course that will serve as a toolkit of specific ideas and protocols for their future work and as a part of their final project. The portfolio is due by the end of Module 10.|