Supporting Best-Practice Literacy Instruction Utilizing National Standards: A Gradual-Release Model for Developing Site-based Literacy Leaders

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Mary-Kate Sableski
Jackie Marshall Arnold

Abstract

Catholic elementary and secondary schools across the country recently adopted standards reflective of the Common Core State Standards to align instruction with state and national guidelines requiring the revision of curriculum and the adjustment of instruction to meet the new standards from an ideological model. This article describes a qualitative study examining a literacy professional development initiative that brought together a Catholic university and archdiocesan Catholic elementary schools to discuss how to best accomplish this task. Themes that resulted from data analysis include a focus on research-based “best practice” instruction, the value of a professional learning community across the archdiocese, and the importance of a gradual-release model to support effective decision making in the Catholic elementary school context in curriculum revision. These themes demonstrate the benefits of a Catholic university–Catholic elementary school partnership in supporting teachers’ collaborative relationships within their own schools and across partner schools as they make ideological curricular and instructional decisions.

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