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Reading And Writing Are More Than Elementary: A Summit On Literacy Instruction In Ohio’s Secondary Schools

Event:


Key stakeholders from across Ohio and the neighboring region gathered on March 26 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a summit on adolescent literacy, sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Ohio Department of Education, and the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, and funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. More than 200 educators, policymakers, and business and community leaders – from Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania – gathered to discuss current efforts in the state to improve reading and writing instruction at the secondary school level and to discuss future strategies for continuing and expanding those efforts.

Representative Ralph Regula (R-OH), the top Republican on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, opened the conference, praising the state for making literacy a priority and encouraging educators to consider the lifelong impact they will make in a child’s life. Congressman Regula noted, “Since entering the Congress I have made three education issues my top priority – making sure every child can read, making sure every child has a good teacher, and making sure every child graduates from high school.” He added that the federal government has taken steps to ensure adolescents read and write well enough to succeed in school and life, through the Striving Readers program, which he has helped to fund for the past three years.

Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, echoed Congressman Regula’s support for Striving Readers, and he praised Ohio for its commitment to improving adolescent literacy. “One day I hope we will all pack a football stadium,” Wise said, referencing the setting of the summit, “to cheer on students who are excellent readers as well as excellent athletes.”

The morning’s keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Catherine Snow, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Education at Harvard University, a national expert on adolescent literacy research and practice, who provided an overview of research into the nature of the crisis and strategies for solving it. Cyndie Schmeiser, President & COO of the Education Division for ACT, provided the afternoon keynote address, sharing with the audience recent research from ACT demonstrating the critical importance of literacy in college readiness. Dr. Susan Tave Zelman, Superintendent of Public Instruction for Ohio, noted that Ohio has taken several steps over the past five years to address adolescent literacy, including ongoing professional development for teachers in literacy instruction and numerous partnerships with foundations, institutes of higher education, and businesses in the state, all of whom care deeply about improving reading and writing in the upper grades. However, she also noted that work in the state must continue and expand to meet the needs of all students. At a press conference she echoed Congressman Regula’s earlier remarks, in saying that the federal government can do much to help states like Ohio in authorizing and significantly funding the Striving Readers program.

All speakers agreed that improved literacy skills are critically needed if Ohio is to remain competitive not only in the nation but across the globe. They also agreed that research and good practice point the way forward for educators to improve literacy skills so that all students graduate with the skills needed to succeed in college and the workplace.

Harold Brown, Vice-President of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, noted that Ohio has a longstanding initiative to address adolescent literacy needs, particularly efforts driven by his foundation to transform high schools, the Ohio High School Transformation Initiative. However, Brown also noted that the state must continue to take steps to expand, coordinate, and align its work so that all secondary schools tackle literacy head on in order to ensure students graduate with the skills they need to succeed in life beyond high school.

Additional speakers at the conference included Adrienne O’Neill, President of the Stark Education Partnership, Deb Tully, Director of Professional Issues for the Ohio Federation of Teachers, William Hiller, Executive Director of the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, Lisa Crider, Striving Readers Project Director for the Ohio Department of Youth Services, and Evan Lefsky, Director of Just Read Florida!, Denise Snowden, Literacy Initiative Coordinator, Ohio High School Transformation Initiative, Cathy Roller, Director of Research and Policy, International Reading Association, and Ilene Berman, Program Director, Education Division, National Governors Association.

I. Welcome, Introductions, and Opening Remarks

AudioAudio (MP3)*

Marva Kay JonesMarva Kay Jones, Interim Superintendent, Canton City Schools

VideoVideo

 

 

 

 

Harold BrownHarold Brown, Vice President, School Improvement, KnowledgeWorks Foundation

Video

 

 

 

 

Bob WiseBob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education and Former Governor, West Virginia

Video

 

 

 

 

Horonrable Ralph RegulaThe Honorable Ralph Regula, United States Representative, the 16th Congressional District of Ohio

Video

 

 

 

 

II. Adolescent Literacy: The Crisis and the Solutions

Catherine SnowCatherine Snow, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Education, Harvard University

Video

PowerPoint Presentation : Adolescent Literacy: The Crisis and the Solutions

 

 

 

Audience Q&AAudience Question & Answer

Video

 

 

 

 

III. Promising Practices from Ohio and Beyond

Susan Tave ZelmanSusan Tave Zelman (Moderator), Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio Department of Education

Video

 

 

 

 

Denise SnowdenDenise Snowden, Literacy Initiative Coordinator, Ohio High School Transformation Initiative

Video

 

 

 

 

Lisa CriderLisa Crider, StARR Project Director, Ohio Department of Youth Services

Video

 

 

 

 

Evan LeftskyEvan Lefsky, Director, Just Read, Florida!

Video

 

 

 

 

Ilene M. BermanIlene M. Berman, Program Director, Education Division, National Governors Association

Video

 

 

 

 

Audience Question & AnswerAudience Question & Answer

Video

 

 

 

 

IV. Break and Luncheon Buffet Press Conference AudioAudio (MP3)*

Bob WiseBob Wise remarks

Video

 

 

 

 

Congressman RegulaCongressman Regula remarks

Video

 

 

 

 

Susan ZelmanSusan Zelman remarks

Video

 

 

 

Harold BrownHarold Brown remarks

Video

 

 

 

 

Q&APress Question & Answer

Video

 

 

 

 

V. Luncheon Address: Reading and College Readiness AudioAudio (MP3)*

Bob WiseIntroduction: Bob Wise

Video

 

 

 

Cynthia B. SchmeiserAddress: Cynthia B. Schmeiser, President & Chief Operating Officer, Education Division, ACT

Video

PowerPoint Presentation: Impact of Literacy on College Readiness and Success

 

 

 

Q&AAudience Question & Answer

Video

 

 

 

 

VI. Literacy Across the Content Areas: Creating Effective Policies and Resources

Harold Brown, Vice President, School Improvement, KnowledgeWorks FoundationHarold Brown (Moderator), Vice President, School Improvement, KnowledgeWorks Foundation

Video

 

 

 

 

Cathy M. RollerCathy M. Roller, Director, Research & Policy, International Reading Association

Video

 

 

 

 

Adrienne O'NeillAdrienne O’Neill , President, Stark Education Partnership

Video

 

 

 

 

Deb TullyDeb Tully, Director, Professional Issues, Ohio Federation of Teachers Video

 

 

 

 

 

Wiiliam HillerWilliam Hiller, Executive Director, Martha Holden Jennings Foundation

Video

 

 

 

 

Q&AAudience Question & Answer

Video

 

 

 

 

VII. Wrap-Up

Wrap-Up Bob WiseBob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education and Former Governor, West Virginia

Video

 

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