The Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy (PCL) model is a school improvement initiative dedicated to increasing student achievement developed by Dr. Linda Dorn at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. The Illinois Reading Recovery Center for Literacy at National-Louis University continues to collaborate with the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, other university centers though out the United States, Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Consortium for Educational Change (CEC).
To develop self-regulated learners who meet rigorous state and national academic standards.
To develop self-regulated learners with the capacity to guide and monitor their learning to meet the needs of a global society.
To develop a seamless transition across school programs, curriculum approaches, and assessment systems where best practices in literacy instruction are implemented to create intellectual environments that make literate thinking a top priority for students.
The Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy (PCL) model is a school-reform project dedicated to increasing student achievement. The model uses literacy as a tool for implementing school improvement in four related areas: student learning, teacher perceptions, school climate, and school processes. Emphasis is placed on the dynamic, continuous relationship between a school's literacy program and the educational agencies and policies that influence school improvement. Four essential components within the school are:
An essential element of the PCL model is the training of district and school literacy coaches. Literacy coaches participate in highly rigorous post-graduate course work while working full time in their home schools with students, teachers and administrators. The training and course work prepares Literacy coaches in four critical areas: 1) literacy instruction and assessment, 2) coordination of a school's literacy curriculum, 3) mentoring teachers and providing in-house professional development, 4) analyzing and reporting school data.
In PCL schools, data are studied to determine changes over time in demographics, perceptions, processes, and student achievement. Literacy team meetings provide a collaborative context for analyzing school data, identifying problems, posing solutions, evaluating alternatives, and making recommendations. Intervention grade-level team meetings are used to review student data and select appropriate interventions that include Reading Recovery for the most tangled first graders and small group services for other needy students. Progress monitoring, program evaluation, and school plans are critical components for continuous school improvement.
A goal of the PCL model is to develop a seamless transition across school programs, curriculum approaches, and assessment systems. An emphasis is placed on creating professional communities within schools where teachers collaborate on teaching and learning issues. Working toward this goal requires developing an understanding of each person's individual professional roles and responsibilities. Key staff positions are described in the following section.
The major role of the district literacy coach is to implement comprehensive literacy changes at a district level. District Coaches become knowledgeable in four interrelated areas:
The major role of district literacy coaches is to support school literacy coaches with school-embedded professional development, to manage, coordinate, and assess the district-wide literacy curriculum, to teach students every day in a variety of settings and grade levels, to participate in the literacy coach network, and to self-reflect on professional learning and literacy goals.
The major role of the school literacy coach is to implement comprehensive literacy changes at the school level. Toward this goal, the responsibilities of an effective literacy coach include: providing demonstrations of the literacy framework; working strategically with teachers in planning, monitoring, and assessing their teaching; observing and coaching teachers in effective literacy practices; conducting pre- and post conferences with teachers, including constructive feedback; planning and facilitating literacy team meetings, professional study groups, and staff development sessions in best literacy practices; and teaching an intervention group of students for 30 to 40 minutes daily.
School administrators understand the school's roles and responsibilities of implementing the Partnership in Comprehensive Literacy model. They agree to implement the model as outlined by the university training center, including the implementation of a Comprehensive Intervention Model that provides layers of support for struggling learners across grade levels. School administrators participate in annual professional development sessions through the Network of Literacy Administrators.
Teachers understand their roles and responsibilities of implementing the Partnership in Comprehensive Literacy Model. They agree to implement the model as outlined by the university training center. Teachers organize the classroom to meet the needs of diverse learners, including selecting appropriate materials and working with whole group, small group, and individual learners. Teachers use a workshop approach to learning across the curriculum, including reading, writing, language, and content workshops. Small group reading and writing instruction is provided to meet the needs of diverse learners; and explicit mini-lessons are tailored to meet the needs of the majority of students across the curriculum. Daily one-to-one conferences are scheduled with students during the workshop framework.
The PCL model acknowledges school change as a dynamic, continuous process that requires commitment and collaboration at many levels.
Systemic change lies in our understandings of how children learn and in our ability to problem-solve with colleagues who work with children, who share common experiences, and who are committed to continuous school improvement processes.
NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.
Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.
Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.
Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.
Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.
Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.
NLU's Milwaukee campus has a proud history of serving graduate students in education in southeastern Wisconsin. Nearly one in five certified Wisconsin teachers looks to NLU for graduate education programs – more than any other university in the state. In addition to classrooms with high-tech media equipment, the campus offers a state-of-the-art computer lab with wireless Internet access and an extensive IDS research library.