Wednesday, 12 September 2018 10:39

Oswego County Educators Launch Literacy Initiative

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CiTi Executive Director of Regional Success Bonnie Finnerty gives opening remarks at an introductory event for the Oswego County Literacy Initiative held in July at the Pulaski Junior-Senior High School. CiTi Executive Director of Regional Success Bonnie Finnerty gives opening remarks at an introductory event for the Oswego County Literacy Initiative held in July at the Pulaski Junior-Senior High School. Submitted photo

Leaders and educators throughout Oswego County are digging into reading practices as part of the new Oswego County Literacy Initiative (OCLI), a collaboration between all nine Oswego County school districts, the CNYOC Teacher Center, CiTi BOCES and the highly acclaimed Reading League.

“This amazing collaboration is the result of hours of soul-searching discussions between school district superintendents, other district administrators and CiTi BOCES leadership on how to best address the ever-challenging needs of Oswego County students and families,” said CiTi Executive Director of Regional Success Bonnie Finnerty.

The resulting consensus that evidence-based reading instruction consistently taught in every elementary school in Oswego County and supported through teacher coaching and principal development, led to a partnership with the Reading League, whose mission is to build educator knowledge of how to teach reading using evidence-based, highly effective methods of reading instruction and assessment.

“Research indicates that coaching is a key component to successful implementation of any new initiative or learning,” said Finnerty.

As part of the OCLI, regular, job-embedded coaching by Reading League trained coaches will support teachers as they seek to implement reading strategies in their classrooms throughout the school year.

Data collection will also be an integral component of the initiative. Tools such as teacher surveys, pre-post questionnaires, administrator and teacher interviews, assessment data, attendance/behavior data will be used to measure changes in teacher practice, attitudes and beliefs about effective reading instruction and the learning outcomes of the students.

Finnerty said the results will be used to make informed, data-based decisions on professional development, teacher support and the initiative’s overall level of impact on reading achievement throughout Oswego County.

Another important aspect of the collaboration is the agreement made by Oswego County superintendents to schedule common superintendent conference dates throughout the 2018-19 school year. Two of these common dates will be used to bring together more than 600 Oswego County pre-k through third grade professionals to learn about evidence-based reading methods of instruction and assessment.

Work through this initiative started over the summer when elementary principals and district representatives gathered for a two-day administrator overview and introduction to OCLI. In addition, nearly 40 professionals from all nine districts, CiTi BOCES and Reading League coaches attended a six-day LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) training sponsored by the CNYOC Teacher Center. Lastly, approximately 180 Oswego County teachers, administrators, superintendents and Reading League coaches were present for a full-day introductory event held at the Pulaski Junior-Senior High School in July.

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