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Number 10
Implementation Strategies to Find Success
By Rachel Schlechter
Follow
Number 10
Implementation Strategies to Find Success
By Rachel Schlechter
W

hen I became the Director of Literacy in Valley View School District, there were several goals I had to be successful.  I wanted students to grow at an accelerated level to increase the amount of students reading on grade level; I wanted to have universal resources in the classroom to provide equity and consistency across the district, and I wanted a way to confidentially measure the progress of our students towards mastery of reading skills

In order to achieve these goals, I knew I was going to have to support educators with strong resources and tools.

In Valley View, like so many districts across the country, we saw students struggling to read at grade level. The state assessments continued to label our students as underperforming or not meeting benchmarks. To correct this, it was critical to begin to look for resources and tools to help meet the needs of every student, every day.

As a former ELA teacher, I knew the real challenges educators face trying to meet the needs of every student in one class period with one educator. Educators strive to differentiate for their students, but time and resources are always a struggle.

Six years ago, two of my building principals introduced me to the resource Achieve3000 Literacy. At the time, I was skeptical. It almost seemed too good to be true. Could this resource really have engaging age-appropriate content? Could it be a resource with texts differentiated at 12 different Lexile Levels, with embedded formative assessment and data that is used to monitor and adjust automatically for students? We decided to learn more, visit schools using the resource, and try it ourselves. We were amazed by the resource and our results. I learned it is all real and it is not too good to be true, but I also learned the resource alone will not ensure that students grow.

Woman on computer, writing, with headphones
To see successes, it is critical that there is a strong implementation plan supported by educators and building leaders. It is also critically important that their plan includes clear expectations for students and that all students can experience these successes.

Through collaboration of an awesome instructional team, building leaders, and educators, we have had a strong implementation, great usage of the resource, and incredible results. Each year we have seen our students grow more than the year before and each year there are more successes to celebrate.

My goal as a leader was to provide consistency across classrooms with strong resources, accelerate growth and be able to monitor student progress. Achieve Literacy helped me accomplish those goals and has benefited our students greatly. It provides the tools and resources to do the work educators have always strived to do and allows educators to spend time supporting students and not searching for resources to meet the needs of their learners.

Every district can have these same successes and same results by following these 10 key strategies for success:

Top 10 Implementation Strategies for Achieve3000 Literacy
  1. Ensure a Clear Understanding of the Achieve3000 Literacy Resource
    • Achieve3000 Literacy begins with an assessment to correctly place students with their “just right” reading level. This literacy resource is used to help accelerate students’ reading by having them access grade-level content at their Lexile Level.
    • This literacy resource has engaging content that includes embedded formative assessments to monitor a student’s progress, and automatically adjust a student’s reading level monthly.
  2. Create Clear, Consistent Expectations for All Users
    • For students to demonstrate growth, they need to complete 1-2 formative assessments a week at a 75 percent proficiency or higher on the first try.
    • Educators must be aware of what classes are using the resource and what the expectations are for those classes.
    • Educators need to use this student data to drive instructional moves.
  3. Determine What Success Looks Like and Clearly Communicate It
    • Set clear, measurable, realistic goals that are shared and visible.
    • Clearly define success for all stakeholders.
  4. Monitor Goals and Update Regularly
    • Assign team members the task of pulling monthly data.
    • Use data strategically to have a laser focus on students that need support in making progress and create plans for those students.
    • Update staff and students and visibly post the most updated data.
  5. Focus on Strong Instructional Practices
    • Use the content as a strong literacy resource.
    • Encourage students to collaborate around topics, have discussions, and experience regular opportunities to write.
    • Pair the informational text topics with the literature being read.
To see successes, it is critical that there is a strong implementation plan supported by educators and building leaders. It is also critically important that their plan includes clear expectations for students and that all students can experience these successes.
  1. Continue to Grow Your Practice Professionally
    • Provide time and space for educators to see each other, instruct and learn from each other as experts.
    • Allow time for planning collaboratively around the literacy resource.
    • Continue to strengthen the understanding of the data and how it can be used to make regular instructional moves.
  2. Collect Voice
    • Capture the voice of educators and students.
    • Share testimonials.
    • Learn from them and work to improve.
  3. Involve Families and the Community
    • Make literacy a focus for all families and work with the local community to emphasize the importance of literacy.
    • Use professional development time to include parent academies.
    • Communicate the goals and growth with families.
  4. Focus on Learning and Student Growth
    • Remember the WHY. The goal is an acceleration of reading growth for every student every day.
  5. CELEBRATE Success
    • Celebrate student growth, student achievement, student engagement.
    • Celebrate educators’ strong implementation and student outcomes.
    • Celebrate as a building, as a community.
About the author

Rachel Schlechter has had a long relationship with Achieve as the Director of Literacy and Social Studies in Valley View School District from 2013-2020. Prior to that she was an ELA and Social Studies educator in that same district. Rachel worked to bring Achieve3000 Literacy to Valley View in 2014 and the district has since seen tremendous results across the district. Rachel now strives to help other districts partner with Achieve3000 with the same success to help students across Illinois. Rachel is the Regional Sales Director for Illinois at Achieve3000.