Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has announced plans to place 60 literacy coaches in elementary schools throughout the state.

In a move aimed at enhancing literacy outcomes in elementary schools across Georgia, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has announced plans to place 60 full-time literacy coaches in elementary schools throughout the state. The initiative, unveiled today by State School Superintendent Richard Woods, targets the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools to bolster literacy education statewide.

“We are focused on improving literacy outcomes for every student, in every school across our state,” Superintendent Woods said. “Our goal is to create a truly statewide literacy coaching model – leveraging the talented teachers and leaders already in place in districts and schools, and targeting intensive supports where they’re most needed. The coaches announced today will work directly with the schools in greatest need of improvement and ensure they have the resources to deliver high-quality early literacy instruction to every child.”

The objective of these school-level coaches is to create an intensive focus on literacy within schools identified for additional support. This deployment supports part of GaDOE’s broader tiered coaching model, which will see regional coaches stationed throughout the state.

According to statewide Georgia Milestone results, only 38% of third graders are reading at a proficient learning level or higher. For fourth graders, the percentage is 36% while for Georgia fifth graders, scores rose to 41% of proficient readers for the end of the spring 2023 term.

For the higher grades, the rates of kids reading on grade level were slightly higher with 40% of sixth graders, 39 % of seventh graders, and 42% of eighth graders, for students who could read at a proficient according to the spring 2023, the Georgia Milestones Assessment scores show.

Under this tiered and tailored model, teachers and leaders statewide will receive specialized training in structured literacy and the science of reading, utilizing proven, nationally recognized methodologies. Georgia will adopt literacy coaching standards modeled after those successfully implemented by the Florida Department of Education, detailing the requisite knowledge and abilities for effective literacy coaching. These standards will guide the training and development of Georgia’s regional and school-level coaches.

“Georgia’s school improvement model is focused on providing foundational resources, professional learning, and targeted technical assistance for every school, while working directly with underperforming schools to offer more direct and intensive supports,” said Dr. Stephanie Johnson, GaDOE Deputy Superintendent for School and District Improvement. “That same model – which has demonstrated and documented success – will be the underpinning of Georgia’s literacy coaching initiative, ensuring that every school is prepared to offer high-quality literacy instruction.”

Overseeing Georgia’s Statewide Coaching Model is Dr. J. Nicholas Philmon, who will collaborate with a team of experts to develop a detailed coaching plan, oversee the hiring process for regional literacy support coaches and the 60 school-level coaches, and provide comprehensive training to educators statewide.

Out of the 60 schools identified in the state of Georgia to have these literacy coaches, 29 are in the metro Atlanta area. Below is the full set of metro Atlanta area schools getting full-time literacy coaches from this initiative:

  • Continental Colony Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Harper-Archer Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Kindezi Old 4th Ward, Atlanta Public Schools
  • KIPP Soul Academy, Atlanta Public Schools
  • KIPP Soul Primary, Atlanta Public Schools
  • KIPP VISION Charter School, Atlanta Public Schools
  • KIPP Vision Primary Charter School, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Kipp WAYS Primary Charter School, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Paul L. Dunbar Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools
  • The Kindezi School, Atlanta Public Schools
  • City View Elementary School, Cobb County
  • Flat Shoals Elementary School, DeKalb County
  • Stone Mountain Elementary School, DeKalb County
  • College Park Elementary School, Fulton County
  • Conley Hills Elementary School, Fulton County
  • Tussahaw Elementary, Henry County
  • Walnut Creek Elementary, Henry County
  • Livingston Elementary School, Newton County
  • Anna K. Davie Elementary School, Rome City
  • Main Elementary School, Rome City
  • SLAM Acade SLAM Academy of Atlanta, State Charter Schools
  • State Schools Atlanta Area School for the Deaf

The deployment of literacy coaches aligns with GaDOE’s partnership with the Rollins Center for Language & Literacy, which offers literacy courses for K-5 teachers and leaders alongside a two-year literacy leadership cohort.

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