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Effective Literacy Leadership Teams

By Jessica Sherman

Literacy Collaborative is not simply a set of instructional practices.  Rather, it is a systematic change effort fueled by the shared vision, values and decision-making capabilities of a strong Literacy Leadership Team.  With the guidance of a trained Literacy Coach, effective teams work together to:

  • Assess strengths and needs of the literacy effort and direct its implementation
  • Understand the rationales for and establish standards for reflection, inquiry, and dialogue
  • Achieve broad ownership of problem-solving and outcomes
  • Monitor and assess student achievement
  • Engage all stakeholders in the change process

An effective Literacy Leadership Team that works to build ownership amongst all stakeholders is a critical factor for a strong implementation.  As we begin another school year, here are some suggestions for establishing a Literacy Leadership Team at your school or for strengthening an existing team.

  ESTABLISHING A NEW TEAM STRENGTHENING AN EXISTING TEAM
Who? Establish a team that represents the various roles in your school.  Most teams include the following members:

  • Principal
  • Literacy Coach
  • Classroom teacher from each grade level
  • Reading Recovery Teacher
  • Representatives who serve special populations within the school community
Consider reconfiguring your team. Engage some new stakeholders in the process. Rotate some new members in and release others from this commitment.
What? Together, determine the goals and purposes of the team. Brainstorm meeting topics that will be important to address throughout the year.  Prioritize what meeting will be critical and which will be possible.  Study the Literacy Collaborative Standards together. Based on the data that has been collected, revisit the team’s goals. Brainstorm and prioritize critical and possible meeting topics for the year.  Review the Literacy Collaborative Standards together.
When & Where? Put meetings dates on the calendar for the year and make sure your meeting space accommodates the team. Reflect on last year’s logistics. Think about what went well and what was challenging.  Put meeting dates on the calendar for the year and make sure your meeting space accommodates the team.
How? Set norms for working together. For each meeting, determine which team member will serve as chairperson/facilitator. Revisit and/or revise team norms.  For each meeting, determine which team member will serve as chairperson/facilitator.
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