Putting Literacy Policy Into Practice at Edith Teter Elementary

As we unpack the success of the Colorado READ Act, Colorado Succeeds is taking a deeper look into each of the case studies highlighted in our recent implementation study. The second school we will explore is Edith Teter Elementary.

Roughly 80 miles southwest of Denver sits Edith Teter Elementary, a small mountain school in the rural town of Fairplay. The school serves a mixed population of families; some are high poverty and high mobility, others are stable and well settled into the community.

Similar to other schools in small rural towns, Edith Teter’s shorthanded staff often wear many hats. In addition to serving as the school’s principal, Ms. Cindy Bear is also the school’s Title I Coordinator and a coach. System changes can often be very overwhelming for an already overworked staff. Fortunately, as a recipient of a Colorado Department of Education Early Literacy Grant, Edith Teter was provided with a consultant to help with READ Act implementation. CDE’s consultant proved to be instrumental to Edith Teter’s success by providing literacy instruction and professional development training to teachers. Principal Bear emphasized the importance of professional development training, viewing it as the most important contribution of the READ Act and attesting that it helped “the teachers to be better instructors of literacy.”

Also key to Edith Teter’s success was a focus on data to inform decision making. Principal Bear meets weekly with the school’s data team to review assessment data and identify specific gaps in students’ skills. This information is used to adjust instruction and develop individualized READ Plans for each student. In just one year of applying these methods, Edith Teter’s illiteracy rate has fallen by 11%. English language learners and students living in poverty made the strongest gains, with illiteracy rates for both subgroups shrinking by almost 50%.IMG_5627

As Edith Teter demonstrates, smart education policies are an investment in our students, our educators, and our communities. Our investment in the READ Act is already delivering results, with students from the most urban districts to the most rural seeing tremendous gains. Our case study also shows that having adequate resources for policy implementation are often as important as passing the policy itself. Small, rural schools like Edith Teter often rely on extra support to implement innovative changes, and we must ensure that educators have the resources they need to continuously improve and best serve our students.

To read more about Edith Teter’s experience implementing the READ Act, check out the full report here.

Jamie Trafficanda

Manager of Communications and Programs
Colorado Succeeds

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