Secondary Literacy Support Network
about the project
In October 2001, WestEd spearheaded the Secondary Literacy Support Network (SLSN), a technical assistance model for middle schools, high schools, and alternative education programs who were ready and committed to implementing a comprehensive literacy approach in their school. The design of SLSN was built on the belief that most secondary schools have “pieces and parts” of a reading/literacy program, but few have a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of all students.
SLSN provides a prescribed framework that guides schools through a process of readiness, diagnosis, intervention, data analysis, coaching, and implementation support in order to address students who can’t, don’t, or won’t read.
In 2001, WestEd worked with a pilot group of eight SLSN Schools from both northern and southern California.
SLSN helped these middle and high schools, and three alternative education programs build a comprehensive literacy plan within their content-driven programs. In order to do that, SLSN designed a professional development model that included eleven days of expert training to build the capacity of schools, districts, and counties. The model was intended to be replicable throughout California.
This first group of schools using this model participated in a fast track of training and staff development that included: an application process, a Principals/Leadership Institute, a Literacy Leadership Team Institute, and six days of showcasing different intervention approaches by the experts and researchers in the field of literacy. The pilot schools then made informed decisions about what they thought was right for their particular students based on data analysis using two views of data. The pilot schools then attended one day of training designed assist the schools in writing a literacy plan that had accountability and designed to impact literacy for all students.
Last year, SLSN expanded and trained a second cohort of 38 schools in Region IV (Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, San Mateo, and Solano Counties) and Woodland. The SLSN/Region IV model has increased the training cycle to thirteen days divided into three phases:
Phase I: Preparation (4 days). Phase I is devoted to preparing administrators (district and site) plus school literacy leadership teams (LLTs) to begin the effort of planning a comprehensive literacy approach. The preparation phase includes a review of recent literacy research, understanding View I and View II of data, learning about the need for diagnostic assessment, and introduction to challenging and changing the current system in order to prepare for writing a literacy plan with a comprehensive approach to literacy.
Phase II: Expert Series (6 days). Phase II is dedicated to showcasing research-based programs, strategies and approaches and meeting with experts involving intensive and strategic interventions. Two days are designed to address intensive needs students, two days for strategic needs, and two days for English Language Learners and Standard English Learners.
Phase III: Implementation Series (3 days). Day one of Phase III is designed to team build to learn effective working strategies. Day two will focus on how to write a plan with accountability. Day three will involve all SLSN school literacy leadership teams in aligning the literacy action plan to ensure that all steps are monitored and supported.
The SLSN schools have been invited again this year to present at the Secondary Literacy Summit IV: Beyond Conversation to System-Wide Implementation. California's fourth annual literacy conference designed for middle school and high school teams dealing with issues surrounding school-wide systems for teaching literacy. In order to organize and provide this quality statewide conference, WestEd collaborates with several education agencies and support providers, including: the Southern California Comprehensive Assistance Center, the County Offices of Education Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee, WestEd's Northern California Comprehensive Assistance Center, the California Department of Education, the California Professional Development Consortium, and the Statewide System of School Support.
The SLSN program would like to give special thanks to the conceptualization team who developed this intensive training program and have helped increase its exposure statewide: Basha Millhollen, Administrator, Curriculum and Instruction Santa Barbara County Education Office; Leslie McPeak, Director of Literacy & School Support, Stanislaus County Office of Education; Donna Covey, Senior Research Associate, Director SLSN, WestEd; and Janie Yuguchi Gates, Consultant-in-Charge, Southern California Comprehensive Assistance Center, Los Angeles County Office of Education.