What's the Word?

Literacy Team Newsletter: September 2023

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Greetings Educators,

As the leaves begin to turn colors and eventually fall, we enter the 2023-2024 school year with renewed resolve and hope. The Oakland Schools Literacy Team, consisting of both veteran and new consultants, remains committed to supporting you with the latest literacy-related information. As always, please be in touch with ways we can support you!

In this edition of "What's the Word", you will find:

  1. Literacy Consortium Updates

  2. Statewide Updates

  3. Professional Learning

  4. Recommended Readings and Resources

  5. For Your Information

--Your Oakland Schools Literacy Team

Literacy Consortium

Literacy Consortium is all about keeping a finger on the pulse of literacy education in Oakland County. Made up of literacy leaders representing general education and special education from the districts and the Oakland Schools Literacy Team, this group meets several times a year to:

  • discuss literacy education needs and priorities so we can address them moving forward;

  • develop alliances between districts to share resources, thinking, and possibly professional learning and future planning; and

  • engage in professional learning together.

Our theme for 2023-2024 is Centering Students’ Literate Identities During Contentious Times.

Don’t forget to check out our Literacy Consortium slides from our September session for important information and updates.

Future meeting dates: January 10, 2024 and April 25, 2024. Register here for January and here for April.

Revised Essential Instructional Practices

The MAISA GELN Early Literacy Task Force has released updated versions of the Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy: Prekindergarten.

Also, an updated version of the Kindergarten through third grade Essential Practices is available. Click here to explore the revised document!

Disciplinary Literacy Task Force: New Resources Available!

  • Free EduPaths online course series: Aligned to Instructional Practices with facilitation guides & slide decks aligned to EduPaths content (for those who prefer in-person professional learning)

Write for the Michigan Reading Journal

Help Build the Future of Michigan Reading Journal! Consider submitting your work!

2023-2024 Themes

Literacy for Community

Literacy for Agency

Literacy for Liberation

Literacy for Joy

Submission deadlines:

October 15, 2023

February 15, 2024

Interested in submitting an article, but not sure where to begin? Contact Jenelle Williams, one of the journal's co-editors, to get started.

Oakland Schools Professional Learning Opportunities

Click here to access all Oakland Schools professional learning events (including literacy-related events) for the 2023-2024 school year.

2023 Special Populations Conference: Recognizing Greatness

The intent and purpose of the Special Populations Conference are to provide technical assistance and agency-to-agency sharing (LEA, ISD, program) around the following topics: program administration; data reporting, instructional and support practices; evaluation; and unique program activities for each of the special population groups as well as opportunities for networking, inter- and intra- program coordination, and advocacy. The conference seeks to support capacity building and program refinement to improve systems, support teachers and administrators, and ultimately have a positive impact on outcomes for students.

October 24 · 8:30am - October 26 · 3:15pm EDT

Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center

For more information and to register, click HERE.

Michigan Assessment Consortium Assessment Learning Institute

The faculty of the Assessment Learning Institute (ALI) will help you more effectively use assessment to accelerate student learning. The activities in this year-long learning engagement empower and fortify teachers in using classroom assessment to support student learning.

For: Teachers
When: A year-long learning program with the first engagement in-person (9/23 or 9/30) and the remaining engagements held virtually.

4 synchronous virtual engagements
4 Office Hours (optional)

4 “Talk Back” sessions
Earn up to 25 SCECHs

Click here to register!

WIDA Focus Bulletin: Supporting Multilingual Learners Language Growth Through Language Development Portfolios

This Focus Bulletin illustrates how teachers and students can use language development portfolios to interpret and document language growth. The bulletin follows the story of how a grade-level team introduced portfolios to their practice, posing several questions the team asked as they refined their usage. It closes by offering two sample tools that teachers can use and adapt to capture multilingual learners’ language growth using modified Proficiency Level Descriptors (PLDs) from the WIDA English Language Development Framework, 2020 Edition.

Read the Focus Bulletin HERE.

A Guide to Executive Function

Whether you are teaching students, or you have your own students at home, you may have noticed that children and adolescents (and even some adults!) are in need of support with managing information, self-regulating, and planning ahead to complete a task. Executive functioning refers to the skills we use to plan ahead and meet goals, display self-control, follow multiple-step directions, manage interruptions and stay focused. Learn about how to bolster these skills in your classroom and home so that students can access and be successful with literacy instruction. Check out these resources from Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child:

A Guide to Executive Function

What is Executive Function?

Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) Test Update

The Program for International Student Assessment — a test of how 15-year-olds in the United States compare academically to their peers around the world — will for the first time test students’ ability to engage in self-regulated learning while using digital tools in its 2025 assessment. To learn more, click here to access the update.

Apply Today for the NCTE This Story Matters Teacher Corps

In an effort to more vigorously expand our book rationale database, NCTE is announcing a new members-only opportunity for educators to get involved in this work: the This Story Matters Teacher Corps. This project, made possible by private donations, will help NCTE to increase the size and functionality of the database through collaboration with members of the Corps and NCTE staff. As a Teacher Corps member, you will gain a deeper understanding of the importance of book rationales and learn how to create them more effectively.

All students have the right to materials and educational experiences that promote open inquiry, critical thinking, diversity in thought and expression, and respect for others. Through the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center, our organization has created and collected peer-reviewed book rationales for decades to aid all NCTE members in the face of book challenges.

This opportunity is open to all NCTE member literacy educators, and we encourage K–12 teachers to apply. A stipend of $1,500 will be provided to each Corps member.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Writing eight new rationales and reviewing additional rationales

  • Collaborating during monthly one-hour meetings with fellow members and NCTE staff

  • Reading or re-reading titles of books under consideration

  • Recommending additional ways to increase database functionality

Having a passion for and commitment to texts and students is at the core of this opportunity, requiring deep thinking and dedicated time for the Corps. Work will begin November 1, 2023, and conclude July 31, 2024. Apply for this opportunity by September 30, 2023.

Christina Carlin, Elementary Literacy Consultant

Ashelin Currie, Elementary Literacy Consultant

Dalyce DePauw, Special Education Consultant, Secondary

Jay Haffner, Secondary Literacy Consultant

Jennifer Howe, Heritage and World Language Consultant

Nicole Kata, Special Education Consultant, Significant Disabilities

Diane Katakowski, Speech and Language Consultant

Jillian Keith, Special Education Consultant, Elementary

Megan Kortlandt, Literacy Consultant

Jill Maneice, Literacy and AARI Consultant

Krista Shambleau, Early Childhood Consultant

Sarah Struzik, Supervisor of Special Populations Capacity Building

Suzanne Toohey, ESL Consultant/Supervisor of Instruction and Pedagogy

Asha Williams, Early Literacy Consultant

Jenelle Williams, Secondary Literacy Consultant

Oakland Schools

2111 Pontiac Lake Road

Waterford, MI 48328

(248) 209.2000

In accordance with state and federal law, Oakland Schools does not discriminate, nor permit discrimination, on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, sex, pregnancy or parental status, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, height, weight, marital status, military service, veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, in its educational programs and activities, employment, or enrollment. The District also provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.

For questions or complaints regarding unlawful discrimination or harassment, employees should contact the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Personnel Management and Labor Relations at (248) 209-2429 or HR@oakland.k12.mi.us. Students and others should contact the Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator at (248) 209-2590 or Jacqueline.Zablocki@oakland.k12.mi.us.