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Reading Specialist in need of advice
Old 07-02-2007, 12:56 PM
 
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Next year I will be serving an elementary K-4 campus as a reading specialist and literacy coach. Although I've had experience working in each role seperately I've never managed a dual role. I will be sitting down with the principal in the next couple of weeks to solidify our vision for my position. He has already mentioned that helping implement RtI will be a big part of my job regarding assessment and documentation of growth for struggling readers and providing effective interventions. In addition he thinks he'd like me to continue the traditional pull out reading program with struggling readers as well as provide staff development and demonstrate lessons for teachers. All though I'm very excited about the potential of this campus having such support my head is already spinning. I have read as many books as I can get my hands on as well as read as many articles via the website as I can find. There is so much out there I don't even know where to start! Is there anyone out there that has experienced managing such a dual role effectively? I'd like a model to work from. My main concern is scheduling my time in such a way that my support for students and teachers is enough to make a difference. Any advice would be greatly appreciated


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congrads
Old 07-02-2007, 02:07 PM
 
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Congrads on your new position. I am a Reading Specialist. I technically serve mainly first but I am there for support for the other grades. It sounds like your principal is expecting a little too much of you for the first year. Sometimes when someone new or a new postion is created it can be a tendecy like "mikey" do it attitude. I would check with my other supervisor to see what the norm at other schools is going to be. I take it Rt.I was Reading First? Then if your higher supervisor says do anything that your principal says then I would put your support first. What kind of pull out program is at your school?
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Old 07-02-2007, 05:04 PM
 
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Hello! I will be a reading teacher next year and my principal also has the idea that I can spin all the plates she tosses me! Next year will be the first year we try push-in with a reading teacher. I'm not too sure how well that will go over with the classroom teachers, but everything I've read touts it as essential. We also do Read Naturally as a pull-out. I'm not too crazy about it--what do you think?

Thanks.
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RE: Teach2Think response
Old 07-02-2007, 05:24 PM
 
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I too keep reading about the research/positive benefits of the push in model. I agree with what I've read but my head is already spinning on how in the world to manage it all. I am the only reading specialist/literacy coach on the campus. I will essentially be responsible for serving at least 24 classrooms K-4. The way in which classes are made currently is equal division of academic concerns meaning if I pull out or push in the kids will be probably be coming from every classroom (ex: 4 per class). If I continue the pull out program it's more manageable and I would be able to do it not necessarily by level but skills needed with the ability to group students according to need not necessarily level or grade level which I think could still offer benefits. On top of it all I will need to make room to go into classrooms in order to demonstrate lessons and components of a balanced literacy framework which could essentially help more student by helping teachers become more knowledgeable and profecient teachers of reading and writing. I just don't know how to schedule because all of the roles and needs are important to meet...I don't want to cheat anyone I am wracking my brain to come up with some sort of rotational system like pull kids 3x per week, be in classrooms 2x a week to do individual reading/writing conferences and teacher demonstrations but if that's doable I still can serve 24 individually classes a week. I'm wondering if I should see if we could create classrooms where struggling readers were put into fewer classrooms (3 instead of 6 for example) making the push in more feasable. As you can see my head is truly spinning trying to keep up with current research and doing what's best for kids and teachers but also remaining realistic. If you think of anything else I'm all ears
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educational lingo
Old 07-02-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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I try to keep up with the new buzz words I know pull out but in common English what is "push in"? I am sure I know what it is just don't know it by that term. Your last ideal sounded good ( all your ideas are spining I can tell, your school is lucky to have someone that is considering all the factors like you are) Fewer at risk kids per class is a good idea. Of course then you have to see if all your ratios for classrooms are covered.


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Old 07-03-2007, 07:50 AM
 
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I am a reading coach at a k-5 school with 32 homeroom classrooms. I make my time decisions based on data- not a rotating schedule. My job description actually states that I am not to work with students unless I am modeling for the teacher or helping him/her with a new strategy or program.

Since your principal still wants you pulling kids I think you should certianly do the push in method. That way the things you are doing are watched by homeroom teachers. The most effective literacy or reading coach (whatever term you call it) is the one that impacts the teacher. Then that teacher impacts each of her children. It is more powerful that you working with a small group in the long run. Empowering teachers is the key! I have worked really hard to change the mindset of a group of my teachers who think the pull out support person is going to fix the struggling readers in a 30 minute pullout. Yes, it helps- what helps more is the classroom teacher working with their own students. They need to own the student and their problem- not push them off to someone else. (Sorry- didn't mean to rant).

Before you set a schedule I would look at the student and teacher data and see where your needs are. There are some months I don't hit some of my classrooms because the student data looks fine- the observations of the teacher are fine- so I spend a majority of my time in the classes where the teachers need my direction.

I have also moved from a lot of whole school professional development. I am now "differentiating" my PD based on the needs of the teachers or what the student data shows we are stuggling in.

No matter what your day looks like you will always have too much to do. Before you put a schedule in stone I would make a few goals. Mine for next year are-
1.) Observe at least 45 minutes of a reading block in each homeroom by the end of Sept.
2.) Have my resources organized and a tacher check out system in place by the end of preplanning.
3.) Create a professional development needs survey and have it completed by teachers by the end of the 2nd week of school. (This will be done in a faculty meeting so they are filled out and returned at one time- I hate chasing down papaerwork!)
4.) Identify the most academically needy students and work on an action plan for them for the next school year.

Hope this helps a little!

Last edited by gatorgal; 07-03-2007 at 07:51 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Push In & Read Naturally
Old 07-03-2007, 10:46 AM
 
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I am a classroom teacher. Our literacy coaches were encouraging the push-in model. Last year one of our Title 1 teachers came into my classroom. It was a good experiment, and this year we will refine it. I am using Reading Essentials by Regie Routman and Guiding Readers and Writers by Fountas et. al. as my guides. I will begin reading workshop before our title time. Then, hopefully, when it's time for the Title teacher and the ELA teacher to "push in" the class will be engaged in independent reading. All teachers in the classroom will work on individual conferences at the beginning of the year. As the year progresses, I hope each teacher will work with small groups as we see necessary for Guided Reading and Literature Circles. I plan to keep groups flexible; needs and interest based. I would see each teacher working with any student in the classroom.

*This year my 3rd grade teammate is also going to use the push-in model with another Title 1 teacher. The ELA teacher will split her time between our rooms. A fourth grade teacher is also interested in hearing more!

Last year our Title teacher did pull students on ILP's two days a week during that time for Read Naturally. We both appreciate the focus on reading Non-fiction and found that those students really enjoyed the reading they did. I'm not sure how we'll work that out this year. It does interrupt the continuity of the workshop.

Last edited by TeachFun; 07-03-2007 at 10:47 AM.. Reason: Another thought
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Thank you...keep it coming :)
Old 07-03-2007, 03:47 PM
 
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Thank you for the responses. In response to gatorgal...I can tell this is close to your heart. What is the history of your district's or campus work with literacy coaches? This is the first year in our district that the notion of reading specialists moving towards more of a coaching role and it is only the second year that the district is just learning about a comprehensive balanced literacy framework. Needless to say this role of mine will be a completely new concept for many not just on the campus level but district level as well. I guess you might say I'll be a bit of a guinea pig :-/ Which is why I'm trying to be as thoughtful as possible not only about what's best for students but earning the trust of staff members and administration too. I agree with you that decisions should be data driven and all the current research certainly backs that notion. As I mentioned we will also be piloting Response to Intervention (first time for the district and campus) so my role with assessment and documentation will be big. What assessments do you currently use? How do you document?
I think I might try posting a new message and survey teachers who have worked with pull out vs. push in models and survey there thoughts.
Thanks for your feedback, if anyone reading this can offer more I'd love to hear it
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reading specialist/sped teacher
Old 07-13-2007, 11:50 AM
 
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Hi. I'm also beginning a new position this year. Like you, I'm supposed to do push in, pull out, and all the other resonsibilities! Yikes!! My situation is a little different in that I work for a special education cooperative. The school I'm at is an elementary alternative therapeutic school. It'll be interesting!
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