In 2018-2019, the Higher Education Literacy Steering Committee was established under the auspices of the Ohio Deans Compact to explore ways to support Ohio institutions of higher education (IHEs) and school district partners in strengthening core reading course content by incorporating a focus on the science of reading. One activity involved awarding improving literacy partnership grants to seven IHEs, each of which is working with one or more partner districts to ground course content in the science of reading, and prepare and support teacher candidates to apply what they’re learning in school settings in order to improve literacy instruction and outcomes for every child.
During 2019-2020, the Steering Committee members and the IHE-district partner teams will meet four times as a P20 Literacy Collaborative using a community of practice (CoP) format. The purpose of the CoP is to (1) support authentic, meaningful, and sustainable university-school district partnerships to promote inclusive models of preparation and personnel development for educators (i.e., teachers, intervention specialists, related services providers, and administrators), (2) improve equitable access to high-quality literacy instruction and equitable literacy outcomes for struggling learners, and (3) fund development efforts that support shared inquiry into common problems of practice related to improving literacy results for all learners. Participation in the P20 Literacy Collaborative will:
- Allow for the identification of possible alignments and gaps between preservice preparation and in-district practice with regard to the use of evidence-based early language and literacy instruction;
- Foster shared understanding on the part of higher education and school district faculty of curricular improvement processes and shared ownership of curricula developed through the project beyond individual faculty;
- Identify strategies for “bridging” the preparation to practice continuum (i.e., the transition between what educators are able to do upon leaving preservice programs and what teaching reading to diverse learners asks of them); and
- Provide a forum for shared learning and greater mutual understanding and appreciation among representatives from higher education, school districts, regional entities (e.g., state support teams), and other partner groups.