ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : SI-99-068

Date Created : 01/06/1999


Co-op Directors
Secondary Principals
Elementary Principals

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: Optional
Section:   School Improvement and Instructional Support - Dr. Kevin Penix
K-12 Reading Staff Development Registration

Regulatory Authority:

Contact Person:
M K McKinney, K-2; K Underwood, Grds 2-4; M Shirrell, McRAT

Phone Number:



The Arkansas Department of Education and the Education Service Cooperatives announce the availability of staff development focusing on literacy development for grades K-12. These staff development opportunities complement the Smart Start Initiative and are described below:

* Early Literacy Learning in Arkansas (ELLA) is a three (3) year staff development that is provided by Early Childhood Curriculum Specialists. Teams of primary teachers (K-2), who participate in ELLA, will receive training in classroom strategies to support emergent readers. All schools who commit to send a team of three-five primary teachers will be considered for ELLA training. However, priority for registration will be given, but not limited, to those schools having Reading Recovery programs. Schools who have existing ELLA teams may elect to send additional teams. The first year of ELLA will consist of five (5) days of staff development and an equivalent of four (4) additional days of training throughout the school year. Approximately three-five days will be required during the second year and two-three days during the third year of ELLA.

* EFFECTIVE LITERACY for Grades 2-4 is a two (2) year staff development promoting a balanced literacy program in reading, writing and assessment. All schools are encouraged to enroll a team of three-five teachers (grades 2-4). However, priority for registration will be given, but not limited, to schools currently participating in ELLA. The area Reading Program Specialist provides this training. The first year of training will consist of four (4) days of initial staff development in the summer and four (4) additional days of training throughout the school year. Approximately three-five days of staff development will be required during the second year of training.

* Multicultural Reading and Thinking (McRAT) is a two (2) year staff development process designed to help teachers (Grades 3-12) infuse critical thinking and multicultural concepts into the existing curriculum. Students develop effective strategies for thinking about what they have learned and communicating that information in writing. Instruction focuses on four higher order thinking skills that students can use in all academic subjects and transfer to practical life situations. Assessment involves performance-based techniques with emphasis on pre- and post-writing assignments. McRAT consists of an initial one-week in-service prior to the opening of school with monthly training throughout the year. A three (3) day institute during the second summer brings all the participants together for a statewide study and collaboration, followed by 4 1/2 days' support for the second year. Stipends are provided to the participants when not on contract and a grant is awarded to the district to assist with substitute reimbursement. Due to the number of requests, priority will be given to teachers in grades 4-8.

All staff development will begin in the summer of 1999 with continued training throughout the 1999-2000 school year. More details are provided on the attached forms.

The staff development for ELLA and EFFECTIVE LITERACY will fund professional books, materials and supplies to be utilized in the training. Schools must provide teacher release time for training sessions during the school year and some additional materials needed for implementation. To assist in the financing of these programs, each elementary school selected to participate in either ELLA or EFFECTIVE LITERACY will receive a minimum of $100 per staff development. This funding may be used for substitute pay and/or materials needed for implementation. Additional funding will be requested in the 1999 Legislative Session through the Smart Start Initiative to assist in offsetting the cost of training to the districts.

Requests for participation in ELLA, EFFECTIVE LITERACY and/or McRAT will be considered upon receipt of the appropriate staff development form(s). In order to plan for the anticipated requests, prompt return of the registration form is imperative. Return completed form(s) to the ADE by Friday, February 12, 1999. For additional information contact the Early Childhood Curriculum Specialist or Reading Program Specialist at the area Education Service Cooperative.


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