Literacy for ME: Maine's Comprehensive State Literacy Plan
VI: State-level Recommendations
In order to realize the goals outlined in Literacy for ME, specific actions must happen at the State level. This section outlines the recommendations for steps the Maine Department of Education needs to take to support full implementation of this plan. These recommendations are organized by the same essential components necessary for comprehensive literacy plans described previously. Many of the recommendations directly support local development and implementation of comprehensive literacy plans, while others offer specific steps for the Maine DOE to take to strengthen its ongoing work related to literacy education across the birth-adult span. The recommendations are also organized across a continuum of planning, implementation, and sustainability phases.
VI-A: Strong Leadership
Beginning to Plan:
- Convene a State Literacy Team that engages stakeholders and policy makers in a collaborative process to build a knowledge base about the research and issues related to literacy across the birth-adult span, including roles that must be played by state, district, practitioners, and higher education (Team formed 12/2010).
- Establish dedicated staff within and across state agencies to focus on language- and literacy-related policies and programming across the birth-adult span.
- Develop a process for examining state-level language and literacy data at regular intervals, and use this data to set clear goals for language and literacy achievement.
- Shift the Maine DOE's literacy-related consultant responsibilities to emphasizing provision of technical assistance and professional development, rather than ensuring compliance, to support local learning community ability to implement comprehensive literacy plans.
Beginning to Implement:
- Work with the State Board of Education and other State agencies to set priorities for integrating language and literacy components as part of school and community improvement and accountability efforts, including a call to action for local comprehensive literacy plan development and implementation.
- Develop a comprehensive literacy web link on the Maine Department of Educations website that consolidates literacy-related resources and makes them readily accessible to the public.
- In collaboration with the State Literacy Team, develop a framework and toolkit to guide local communities as they create and implement comprehensive literacy plans (Underway).
- Develop and disseminate a timeline for local comprehensive literacy plan development and implementation.
- Implement a process for examining state-level language and literacy data at regular intervals and utilizing these data to set clear goals for language and literacy achievement.
- Communicate the importance of high-quality early childhood experiences as well as post-secondary and career readiness for language and literacy achievement.
- In collaboration with the State Literacy Team, build public awareness, urgency, and advocacy for literacy as a cultural imperative, rather than a cultural elective.
- Support local communities (schools, districts, early childhood) in establishing and utilizing Literacy Leadership Teams that advocate and lead comprehensive literacy plan development and implementation in their communities by:
- Identifying and providing professional development specific to literacy leaders (e.g. school change processes, clear definitions of literacy and its components, successful research-based literacy practices across the K-12 span, use of walkthroughs and observations, providing feedback to educators, digital literacy, etc.) and
- Identifying and disseminating literacy leadership tools and strategies that utilize technology.
- Develop accountability and oversight mechanisms to ensure that language and literacy related programs are implemented effectively and result in improving children's literacy skills.
Sustaining the Plan:
- Support local learning communities (schools, districts, early childhood) in ongoing use of Literacy Leadership Teams to advocate and lead language and literacy efforts in their communities by using data to guide continuous improvement efforts at local and state levels.
- Utilize ongoing data examination to inform literacy-related policy and program decision making that supports increasing literacy achievement in Maine.
VI-B: System-wide Commitment and Partnerships
Beginning To Plan:
- Investigate State policies and related initiatives that could impact the implementation of a statewide literacy plan as well as comprehensive local level literacy plans.
- Audit current funding sources to identify potential partners to support implementation of the comprehensive literacy plan.
- Identify key state and community leaders who can deliver political, financial, and social capital to support implementation of the comprehensive literacy plan.
- Identify barriers to parental and community engagement in components of the comprehensive literacy plan.
- Develop a resource guide that identifies existing partnerships, programs and initiatives related to literacy across Maine.
- Locate and develop resources to assist communities to develop a shared vision for comprehensive literacy planning.
Beginning to Implement:
- Provide resources to assist communities to develop a shared vision.
- Establish partnerships between State agencies and stakeholders (community organizations, businesses, etc.) that support implementation of the state literacy plan.
- Engage parents in partnerships with school and community resources through educational opportunities that build awareness and expectations for parents to be partners with local community organizations/ schools to support language and literacy development across the birth-adult span.
- Coordinate school and community resources by:
- Convening stakeholders/participants to strengthen and grow resources in place already (encourage public libraries, Adult Education, home visit programs to work cooperatively);
- Building connections between school systems and community based language and literacy organizations/providers (ex. Head Start and transitions) to create shared responsibility for language and literacy development;
- Supporting and planning for transitions across language and literacy learning organizations;
- Identifying and utilizing adult education resources to bolster language and literacy learning, such as family literacy and career pathways; and
- Scaling up successful local or state literacy initiatives that demonstrate system-wide partnerships.
- Increase home visits to build readiness in the home before formal education entrance and require literacy qualifications for trained personnel providing home visits.
- Connect language and literacy education to the larger business community.
- Develop partnerships among practitioners, administrators, and higher education to create coherent and well-defined language and literacy learning plans and tools.
- Link together community resources on behalf of language and literacy learning (early childhood, school, libraries, health organizations, etc.) by using qualified personnel to deliver services and coordinate connections with and between parents.
- Identify successful literacy initiatives that demonstrate system-wide partnerships, and disseminate information about the characteristics of these initiatives to local literacy learning communities.
- Investigate licensure of childcare facilities and make recommendations about how to include language and literacy requirements.
Sustaining the Plan
- Demonstrate how to build language and literacy related partnerships across communities.
- Connect language and literacy requirements to licensure requirements.
- Promote expansion of successful literacy initiatives that demonstrate system-wide partnerships.
VI-C: Standards and Curriculum
Beginning to Plan
- Using the learning standards and guidelines that inform language and literacy achievement in Maine (e.g. Early Learning Guidelines, Common Core State Standards), develop a continuum of language and literacy targets that demonstrate development across the birth to adult span.
- Develop resources to support interpretation and implementation of Maine's literacy learning standards.
- Research and develop professional learning resources to inform educator understanding of language and literacy development across the birth-adult span.
- Research exemplars of language and literacy curricula aligned to Maine's literacy learning standards.
- Identify a scope and sequence of language and literacy skills from birth to adult (including English language learners) that educators should know.
- Plan for a cross systems/cross age span literacy conference focused on literacy standards and aligned curriculum.
Beginning to Implement
- Develop and disseminate resources for aligning and articulating standards and curriculum horizontally and vertically within and across learning communities (e.g. schools, districts, early childhood programs) to provide fluid transitions.
- Develop and disseminate resources for assisting learning communities with the alignment of standards and curriculum to instructional materials, learning environments, age/grade-level expectations, assessments, and learner needs.
- Provide technical assistance for developing explicit and systematic language and literacy curricula across the birth-adult span.
Implement a cross systems/cross age span literacy conference around literacy standards and aligned curriculum.
- Develop and disseminate resources to support parents with interpretation of language and literacy standards and provide ideas for how parents can support achievement of these standards.
- Develop and disseminate resources for assisting with interpretation of literacy standards across content areas.
- Develop and disseminate resources for aligning curriculum and instructional practices to literacy standards across content areas.
- Examine and articulate workplace literacy skills across all content areas.
- Develop and provide technical assistance to support collaboration and coordination across transition points along the birth-adult learning continuum (e.g. early childhood to primary grades; high school to post-secondary and career)
Sustaining the Plan
- Continue to provide professional learning targeted to language and literacy standards and aligned curriculum as determined through data examination.
VI-D: Instruction and Intervention
Beginning to Plan
- Identify needs related to language and literacy instruction and intervention across the birth-adult span. (RN at early childhood and adult more than K-12)
- Develop and provide tools related to data identified needs and for coordinating instruction and intervention in language and literacy from birth-adult, including tools for:
- Auditing current instruction and intervention practices, materials, and structures in relation to aligned curriculum and identified student needs to determine instruction and intervention alignment and gaps;
- Creating engaging, motivating, and culturally sensitive learning environments that effectively utilize resources such as time, materials, space;
- Determining if instructional practices are evidence-based;
- Promoting understanding of how technology is redefining language and literacy across the birth-adult span, in conjunction with MLTI; and
- Building partnerships with parents and community resources for language and literacy instruction.
Beginning to Implement
- Continue to provide literacy learning communities with tools and technical assistance for coordinating instruction and intervention in language and literacy from across the birth-adult span.
- Equip learning communities with tools to implement tiered literacy instruction and interventions for all students. These resources may include:
- Clear models for systematic and explicit Tier 1 instructional practices (documents, videos, digital technology, etc) and
- Examples of evidence-based intervention practices (Tier 2 and Tier 3) across the birth-12 span.
- Share the principles of universal design for learning (UDL) and model how the principles fit with tiered instruction.
- Equip teachers with skills and strategies to work with students who are learning English and to understand its impact on their language and literacy development at all ages.
- Develop and disseminate guidance for selecting and incorporating high-interest, age-and topic-appropriate texts that include a wide variety of cultural, linguistic, and demographic groups into the curriculum.
- Develop materials to build parental understanding of appropriate interventions and instruction to support children's language and literacy growth using a variety of resources including technology.
- Provide technical assistance and tools to assist learning communities in making data-based instruction and intervention decisions, including collaborative data examination meetings that connect assessment to instructional decision making.
- Provide technical assistance and tools for intentional, explicit literacy instruction across content areas.
- Provide technical assistance and tools for improving instructional practices through coaching and routine observations of instruction with feedback.
- Provide technical assistance related to strengthening parent and community partnerships for literacy learning.
Sustaining the Plan
- Provide technical assistance related to expanding real world applications of literacy skills.
- Provide technical assistance related to extended learning opportunities (before school, after school, weekends, etc.) to increase instructional time.
Beginning To Plan
- Provide a clear definition of literacy assessment to guide local comprehensive literacy plan development.
- Identify needs for professional development around assessment, including:
- Purposes of assessment
- Methods of literacy assessment
- Use of assessment data
- The role of technology as it relates to assessment
Beginning To Implement
- Develop and disseminate guidance about selection and use of reliable and valid assessments for language and literacy development across the birth-20 span, including English language learners and students with special needs.
- Develop and disseminate guidance about use of technology in assessment.
- Build capacity for progress monitoring (purposes, tools, and transitions) in local communities across the birth-adult span so that progress data are shared continuously.
- Develop guidance and training for use of data from universal screening, formative progress monitoring, diagnostic, and adaptive assessments in order to set appropriate learning targets, identify and respond to the instructional needs of learners, and evaluate the quality of implementation and impact.
- Develop and disseminate guidance for data team meeting structures.
- Examine certification requirements related to assessment knowledge, and make recommendations about modifications to certifications that insure adequate assessment knowledge.
- Advocate for pre-service and in-service teacher education programs to include adequate assessment knowledge and skills relevant to language and literacy.
- Provide technical assistance for development of literacy assessment reporting tools for sharing information with families and communities.
Sustaining the Plan
- Continue to provide technical assistance to support language and literacy assessment.
VI-F: Professional Learning
Beginning to Plan:
- Locate resources to assist communities in developing a survey of learning needs.
- Identify barriers to implementing professional learning.
- Develop guidance and examples for developing community wide professional learning action plans.
- Identify available professional learning resources (human, media, literature) related to language and literacy.
- Audit current funding sources for professional learning.
- Examine how state policies on teacher pre-preparation, professional development, and certification ensure that educators have adequate language and literacy teaching skills, and make recommendations about modifications to these policies.
Beginning to Implement
- Highlight strengths and gaps in statewide professional learning using data.
- Assist communities in utilizing tools for surveying learning needs of all educators.
- Establish policies around teacher professionalism and professional learning that support instructional improvement and define clear expectations for effective instructional literacy practices grounded in research.
- Examine the current certification requirements for language and literacy in the early childhood, K-8, 9-12, special education, English language learner, special educator, literacy specialist, curriculum coordinator, and administrator endorsements, and make recommendations for strengthening the language and literacy requirements of these endorsements.
- Ensure that teacher preparation programs and professional learning for educators across the birth-adult span are aligned to standards and competencies for evidence based language and literacy instruction.
- Expand the continuum of educators that should engage in professional learning to include all adults who impact language and literacy development in children, including school personnel and parents.
- Build and maintain a statewide collaborative system of regional professional learning in research based literacy practices to promote learners achievement of 21st Century Literacy skills, including use of web-based resources and expansion of successful Literacy networking models.
- Explore models for measuring professional learning.
Expanding the Emphasis
- Adopt recommendations to strengthen the certification requirements for language and literacy in the early childhood, K-8, 9-12, special education, English language learner, special educator, literacy specialist, curriculum coordinator, and administrator endorsements.
- Investigate methods/structures for engaging in professional learning opportunities during the work day.
- Institute literacy coaching models for schools and promote ongoing job-embedded professional learning for educators.
- Explore the development of a separate literacy coaching certificate to promote job-embedded professional learning related to language and literacy.
- Explore the development of an early literacy and/or early ELL literacy specialist certificate.
- Create opportunities for professional learning practitioners to share practices and resources related to language and literacy.
- Use data to measure the effects of professional learning.
Sustaining the Plan
- Consider instituting an annual literacy institute model to support professional learning across the birth-adult span.
- Develop and disseminate professional development that targets data-identified educator learning needs related to language and literacy.