In this video, Sherri Heise, principal of Hayes Middle in Lexington, KY, describes the intensive, schoolwide literacy program in which all teachers are engaged in daily reading and writing instruction.
Hayes Middle School, which opened in 2004, is the newest middle school in Fayette County. Located in an area of high growth in Lexington's suburbs, the school has a relatively low number of students at or below poverty levels. Consequently, Hayes was expected to be a high performing school. However, after their first year, the school's reading and writing scores were the lowest among Fayette County middle schools.
Principal Sherri Heise came to the school the following year, and she and her staff determined the structures they needed to put in place in order to improve students' literacy skills: align the curriculum horizontally and vertically, institute intentional planning for literacy instruction, and use assessment to inform their instructional practices.
Hayes underwent a transformation and developed an intensive, schoolwide literacy program in which teachers in all content areas are engaged in daily reading and writing instruction with support from a literacy coach, Mary Ellen Hunt. Professional development is embedded and ongoing with time for collegial planning in both content areas and grade levels. The positive results of these efforts came more quickly than they expected. In just a short time Hayes has had double-digit gains in both reading and writing scores, including a 50-point gain in writing portfolio scores in a two-year span.
Teachers in every content area are learning effective comprehension strategies, ways to teach content vocabulary, and the importance of this instruction to student learning including content academies that focus on writing and reading strategies for each subject area.
This video was originally part of a multimedia professional development resource, Literacy Leadership: Stories of Schoolwide Success, produced by KET in 2008 in collaboration with the Kentucky Department of Education.
Identify both long and short term goals for you school.
Hayes Middle has numerous literacy support structures such as collegial planning, common assessments, and standards-based units of study. Reflect on the support structures in place at your school. What additional support structures might be needed?
Think about how professional development funds are used at your school. Could content academies have a place in your professional development plan.
What are some of the qualities you would want in members of a leadership team? Based on these qualities, can you identify members for a leadership team at your school?
What characteristics of highly effective teaching and learning do you observe?
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