The Louisiana Department of Education is implementing a Comprehensive Literacy State Development program to advance the literacy skills of children from birth to grade 12 through the use of evidence-based practices, activities, and interventions.
For the second consecutive year, Louisiana students progressed on the state assessments that measure proficiency in English Language Arts, showing a two-point jump in the percentage of students considered proficient and 75 percent of school systems showing improvement from 2021-22 to 2022-23. Recent student achievement gains in literacy are promising, and practices to sustain and accelerate progress have been essential in developing programs and resources.
The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is maximizing use of state and federal funds to address low literacy rates across the state by increasing access to high-quality instructional materials and training regarding literacy instruction for educators. The LDOE aims to improve the abilities of teams, individuals, and systems to better manage and oversee the effectiveness of state and federally funded projects.
The LDOE literacy team worked with the Region 14 Comprehensive Center (R14CC) to assess team, department, and system-specific management and oversight needs. R14CC worked with the team on options for managing and overseeing the implementation of the statewide literacy plan, including a site visit to observe the day-to-day processes.
In collaboration with the LDOE, R14CC supported the 2022 and 2023 Teacher Leader Summit; created a system to evaluate, monitor, and help school-level literacy plans; and built a sustainability plan for the Literacy Initiatives. The LDOE developed a presentation addressing all legislation supporting the new Literacy Initiatives and provided optional direct coaching to literacy team staff. The LDOE also invested in internal development through a team retreat to identify key takeaways and areas where R14CC could assist with follow-up coaching as needed.
Informed by findings from interviews and focus groups, R14CC helped design a Request for Application (RFA) for vendor support by creating multiple analysis tools. These tools resulted in the release of an RFA for vendors. Once selected, R14CC supported onboarding, communications, monitoring, and continuous improvement systems to ensure successful implementation.
Celebrating and Amplifying Promising Practices
LDOE is spotlighting promising local education agencies’ (LEAs’) literacy practices as they implement literacy plans, including ways for LEAs to request additional professional development and operational or policy support from the literacy team. R14CC determined the need for a rubric to evaluate LEA literacy plans to support feedback and to identify the LEAs that could benefit from additional support.
R14CC recruited 12 educators to serve as reviewers to help improve LEA’s literacy plans. R14CC and partners at the University of Houston completed the contracting process for each reviewer to align perspectives on the components of high-quality school literacy plans to ensure reviewers could provide meaningful feedback for schools.
R14CC’s ongoing support of the literacy team focuses on their approach to progress monitoring of grant-funded interventions. A long-term operational plan, including expansion of the state literacy team with a focus on relationships, process, production, and intended outcomes, is in development. Additional support will be provided for annual reporting and responses to state policy developments.