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 PCL Logo of interlocking diamonds symbolizes the dynamic, continuous relationship between school literacy programs and the educational agencies and policies that influence school improvement.
- The first diamond represents the relationship of four essential components within the learning system: Core classroom literacy components, School embedded professional development, Interventions for struggling learners, Accountability and research
- The second diamond represents the relationship between educational agencies: School Systems, University College of Education, State Board of Education, State Legislation
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:
- classroom literacy framework,
- school-embedded professional development,
- layered interventions for struggling learners,
- accountability and research.
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.
Key Staff Positions
District Literacy Coach (K-12)
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:
- literacy theory,
- effective literacy practices and assessments,
- coordinating and managing a literacy program, and
- working with adults, including knowledge of coaching and mentoring techniques.
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.
School Literacy Coach
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 and Building Principals
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.