Helping Early Readers Go DEEP: CRLP Bolsters Early Education Literacy Initiatives in San Diego’s Diamond Community

Elementary school teachers attend a CRLP invitational training workshop last fall as part of the DEEP literacy initiatives.
Elementary school teachers attend a CRLP invitational training workshop last fall as part of the DEEP literacy initiatives.

The California Reading and Literature Project (CRLP), a teacher professional development program for reading and academic language instruction housed at CREATE, is providing key support for literacy initiatives at three elementary schools in southeast San Diego.  Part of the Jacobs Center for Innovation, the Diamond Educational Excellence Partnership (DEEP) literacy initiatives are seeking to ensure that all third grade children at selected school sites read at a proficient level by the end of the 2013-14 school year.

“We are committed to meet the community-articulated goal of reading literacy in our schools,” said Gina Gianzero, director for DEEP. “The DEEP literacy initiatives are testament to the power of research-based, collaborative work in support of a few clear goals.”

Schools participating in the DEEP literacy initiatives are located within the Diamond community, an area in southeast San Diego encompassing 10 neighborhoods including Mount Hope, Chollas View, Lincoln Park, Valencia Park, Emerald Hills and Webster.

DEEP’s yearlong San Diego Early Literacy Supports for Diamond Community Schools initiative is funded by the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) and several foundations. It brings together teaching professionals from UC San Diego, including CRLP and the Department of Education Studies, and from San Diego State University’s National Center for Urban School Transformation and the California Parent Center in order to help meet six initiative goals:

  1. Support principals as instructional leaders in the provision of strong early literacy curriculum and instruction
  2. Support a corps of K-3 teacher-leaders and K-3 grade-level teams in providing strong literacy instruction
  3. Support a cohort of trained pre-service teachers to assist K-3 classroom teachers in providing individualized literacy instruction
  4. Equip schools to engage families in supporting the early literacy development of their children
  5. Ensure that families understand the importance of building a home routine for                 sharing and reading books
  6. Increase student proficiency in mastery of key literacy standards

CRLP’s teacher professional development training is a key element for helping reach several of these goals. Last summer CRLP began training and support in reading and literacy instruction with teacher-leaders and teachers from three initiative schools:  Chollas-Mead, Horton and Johnson elementary schools. The primary focus of CRLP’s work involves capacity building for K-3 teachers and teacher-leaders.

“Building capacity is deepening a teacher’s knowledge and experience, and providing the instruction necessary to implement new teaching approaches, including those for Common Core State Standards literacy instruction — in this case for K-3 students,” said Kathy Melanese, regional director for CRLP San Diego. “In addition to providing teacher training workshops for the DEEP initiatives, CRLP is assisting each school site to identify specific goals for student data collection and curriculum development. We’re pleased to be partnered in this important community-based work.”

More information about DEEP’s Early Literacy Supports for Diamond Community Schools initiative is available in a recently published quarterly progress report.

Summer Readers-Future Leaders Research Brief 2013Last summer CRLP provided training and support for DEEP’s Summer Readers-Future Leaders initiative, a community and school-based summer reading program for incoming second and third graders, aimed at reducing summer reading loss.

CRLP trained and supported a team of nine teachers at Chollas-Mead Elementary to deliver a literacy acceleration and enrichment program tailored to student needs. In addition to classroom instruction, the program engaged other partner organizations in offering students opportunities to participate in theater, dance, swim and gym activities. Summer learning activities also included a hands on lab program developed by the San Diego Science Project, a teacher professional development organization also based at CREATE. SDSP’s leadership are key participants in the CREATE STEM Success Initiative at UC San Diego, working to leverage UC San Diego’s STEM resources for local teachers. This summer’s hands on science activities took place at the Earth Lab, a community greenspace that community organization Groundwork San Diego is developing as a site for outdoor, intergenerational learning in Southeastern San Diego.

The Summer Readers-Future Leaders program is funded by the San Diego Unified School District, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, and the Parker Foundation. Read more about the Summer Readers -Future Leaders program in a newly released final report.

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