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Everett GLEAM grant moves ahead

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  “I really like the way you got feedback from the families”—Dyna Louis, the student representative/Ex Officio School Committee member

  Everett schools are poised to promote more literacy and equity in the near future. An effort to foster literacy and equity in the Everett School Department is developing on several fronts. On Monday, School Committee members were updated on the status of the GLEAM grant, or Growing Literacy Equity Across Massachusetts.

  According to Genevieve McDonough, the K-8 Director of English Language Arts & Literacy, the effort will soon bear fruit. “This is very timely,” McDonough told School Committee members Monday. The plan, according to McDonough, is to be implemented sometime this summer.

  The effort will include the adoption of “high-quality core curricular materials in grades 6-8 and professional development and support for teachers, principals and literacy coaches.” The GLEAM team includes representatives from Keverian, Madeline English, Lafayette, Parlin, Whittier and Devens, as well as members in the Central Office.The effort has included developing a vision, goals and priorities, narrowing material options and a pilot/field test. The “launch phase” has GLEAM members developing and sharing the implementation plan and introducing a plan for supports and grading and assessments.

  Dyna Louis, the student representative to the School Committee, praised the effort to gather data for the GLEAM grant. “I really like the way you got feedback from the families,” said Louis.

  The effort’s “Learn and Prepare Phase” has:

  · Created a Literacy Vision

  · Defined Parameters and Priorities

  · Solicited feedback from educators and families

  · Created a body of knowledge for the GLEAM grant

  The “Investigate and Select” portion of the effort has team members collecting evidence of priorities from the curricular materials, gathering information on the agreed upon priorities by testing the curricular materials in a classroom setting and collecting evidence of the agreed upon priorities by asking “targeted questions.” The plan has evolved from seven different options in December to be narrowed to the top two choices in an educator survey.Implementation of the plan will include final priorities, capacity building and professional learning, feedback and continuous improvement and systems and structures for learning.

  According to the GLEAM grant’s report, one member emphasized data in the project needs to be multicultural:“The district’s priorities for a literacy curriculum must be shared and I think that going forward, parents should be given information in their home languages that explains how to access the online portions of the curriculum.”

  For one student cited in the survey, the effort has its ups and downs. “It was easy to load online,” the student writes. “The lessons are very interesting, but there are a ton of assignments.”

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