Teachers: The classroom teachers in Title I schools often lack teaching experience and many are unprepared to help Title I students reach the newly enhanced Common Core Curriculum (CCC) Standards.
As part of the program, LEAP trained 173 classroom teachers in ALLL’s proven-effective teaching strategies so that they can now easily replicate the strategies in future years. Thus, ALLL is embedded in classrooms and schools for years to come. Due to the heightened standards of the CCC mandated for all students, it is especially important to ensure that the teachers were adequately equipped to effectively help students reach their full potential. To do this, LEAP used four approaches: in-class training, monthly NYU teacher PD workshops, access to the ALLL database, and a five day summer seminar.
- In-Class Training: The 173 classroom teachers worked closely with their LEAP teaching artists to develop lesson plans that met the specific needs of their students. During the 40 in-class sessions, classroom teachers were able to observe the various ALLL techniques the teaching artists modeled. Once the classroom teachers became familiar with the strategies, they began to team-teach with the LEAP teaching artists before finally conducting ALLL activities on their own. In this process, classroom teachers were able to see the effective methods in practice and be able utilize for themselves.
- NYU Teacher Training: In addition to the in-class trainings, 122 classroom teachers attended day-long workshops held at New York University. There were a total of seven workshops, repeated twice a month for a total of 14 sessions. Half of the workshops focused on grade appropriate teaching strategies; games for kindergarteners that built the students’ knowledge of nouns and verbs or activities for 5th graders which helped them understand how to look for common themes and link them to a specific text. The other workshop sessions, led by experienced teaching artists, concentrated on different arts-based activities that were specifically designed to help students master basic literacy skills and excel in the new higher CCC standards.
- Materials: Every participating teacher received an ALLL literacy teaching kit which included a teacher’s guide filled with effective instruction strategies, a CD-ROM containing over 500 ALLL lesson plans, all supplemental materials needed to strengthen lessons (i.e. game boards, essay writing forms materials, exciting visual prompts to inspire writing), and a training video showcasing the most successful practices.
- Summer Seminar: This 5-day intensive seminar provides supplementary training for participating teachers. On the first day, teachers and literacy coaches will spend the first day learning how to integrate literacy into the CCC using a specific theme that is directly aligned to the CCC. The next three and a half days will be spent visiting particular sites all over the city correlated to the theme chosen. Teachers will re-meet at NYU on the last half day for a final sharing. Last summer, the theme was “community” from the social studies curriculum. This year from July 13th to 17th, the theme will be “Looking for evidence of New York City’s past”, which links to every CCC.
Many teachers prior to participating in the ALLL program were skeptical of the power of hands-on, arts-based teaching. However, it was evident that the attitude of the teachers towards arts integration as a valuable instrument for teaching literacy skills changed over the course of the program as they saw how effective it was and how it resonated with their students.
Parents: Many of our parents do not speak English and lack the education needed to help their children academically.
LEAP reached out to the parents of participating K-2 students by working with each school’s parent coordinators. Parent involvement is vital for student’s success. As such, ALLL’s parent workshops provide parents from underserved communities the vast variety of ways they could build their own literacy skills while shopping or reading maps. Each parent was provided with activity booklets (in different languages) which they can employ to help their children academically outside of school.
In order to determine the effectiveness of ALLL, we had a group of control classes and a group of experimental-intervention (E-I) classes. The schools which chose to participate in the program decided which classes were E-I versus control groups based on availability schedules rather than by selection of students. This ensured a random selection.
Traditionally, LEAP has worked primarily with low-income, minority students. This year proved to be no different. The table below shows the specific demographics of the participating students