The overarching goal of the Bridging Project is to improve student literacy by enhancing teacher and administrator knowledge, expertise, and practice. We draw on many national and local studies that provide evidence of best practices in school improvement. BP response to schools in a highly adaptive way in order to meet their distinct needs. This distinction and customization of approach is central to the project’s success and sets it apart from other school improvement models.
The Bridging Project offers an highly effective model for facilitating school change through the lens of literacy. The Bridging Project Consultants use a collaborative process for school leaders and teachers to identify and prioritize their needs, develop and implement action plans to respond to those needs, provide ongoing monitoring of plan outcomes, and recommend strategies to sustain meaningful change. The Bridging Project Consultants are particularly skilled at helping schools find effective levers for change that support leadership, teachers, students, and the school system as a whole. The Bridging Project Consultants pay particular attention to the needs of teachers to foster a more collaborative culture of instruction, assessment, and reflection. They honor teachers as professionals and engage them in self-reflection about their collective work in ways that schools don’t usually have time to do. The role of the Bridging Project Consultants is not to “fix” a school, but instead, to facilitate and guide change that is defined and embraced by the school leaders and teachers in the following core areas:
- Assessing school readiness
- Diagnosing school needs for literacy improvement
- Implementing a School Action Plan
- Supporting classroom instruction
- Measuring and monitoring progress toward defined outcomes
- Planning for sustainability of literacy improvement
The Bridging Project directly serves school administrators and teachers of Kindergarten through grade 6. It focuses on schools that are seeking improvement in their literacy instruction. The Bridging Project supports all sizes of schools from the smallest towns to our cities in a range of geographic areas.
In 2016, VRI participated in an external evaluation to determine the Bridging Project’s impacts using qualitative data analysis. Eight stakeholders, representing school administrators, teachers, and the VT Agency of Education, were interviewed. Reported impacts of BP on a school’s literacy instruction and improvement fall along three primary dimensions: school change, teacher practice, and student engagement.
- At the school level, time and attention for literacy instruction is elevated. Principals and teachers report more classroom time dedicated to reading and writing. They describe greater collaboration and better-informed conversation among teachers (within grade level teams and vertically among different grade levels) about literacy expectations. They report alignment of their curriculum, assessment, and instructional practices.
- At the teacher level, teachers model best practices in literacy instruction and assessment, coupled with alignment to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. They report having a much deeper concept-driven understanding about how to teach reading and using more effective literature and resources.
- At the student level, teachers report students who are more confident and engaged in reading and writing. Best of all, they report students “who now love reading and writing.”
For more information, please contact VRI at UVM at [email protected]