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2014-2016 Early Literacy Project Plan

This project plan was developed by the SCALE Up Executive Board in collaboration with California Education Partners as the first shared problem of practice for their 6 district partnership to execute over 2014-2016. Their vision is an environment in which SCALE Up teachers, principals, and district leaders will feel empowered to act and learn together, feel shared ownership of the literacy project, a sense that “these are all our kids,” and that SCALE Up educators will be sharing learning and best practices.

SCALE Up Mission and Vision

The mission of the SCALE Up partnership is to improve district capacity through cross-district leadership development and training, so that all students achieve at high levels.

The vision for the 2014-2016 school years through the SCALE Up Early Literacy Project is that all districts will have established district-wide assessment data-infrastructure and PLC practices to measure and improve literacy and language development outcomes for their TK-2 students.

In order to achieve this vision, the SCALE Up Early Literacy Project will focus on the following inquiry questions through the two year project:

1) What are the best practices in instruction and assessment for TK-2 literacy and academic language development?

 2) How do we build a shared and continuously improving system of assessment and support for TK-2 instruction and assessment?

Quick Navigation

Background, Mission and Vision


The Schools Collaboration and Leadership Expansion project (SCALE Up) is a collaborative partnership comprised of six small, rural Central Valley school districts: Sanger Unified, Firebaugh-Las Delta Unified, Fowler Unified, Mendota Unified, Earlimart, and Kingsburg Elementary Charter. This partnership began with the visionary leadership of the local superintendents, who believe that by working together they can build the capacity and effectiveness of their individual systems and better serve their students.


The SCALE Up districts share many of the same characteristics. They are small, rural districts with very limited resources who serve significantly high percentages of socioeconomically disadvantaged students and English Language Learners (see Table 1). All partnering school districts are also in Program Improvement, with the exception of Sanger.

Table 1: District Enrollment, Percentage of English Language Learners, Percentage of Student Receiving Free or Reduced Price Meals, and Program Improvement Status





PI Status

Sanger USD




Not in PI

Firebaugh-Las Deltas USD




PI Year 2

Fowler USD




PI Year 2

Earlimart SD




PI Year 3

Mendota USD




PI Year 1

Kingsburg Elementary Charter




PI Year 1

About California Education Partners

California Education Partners is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, with the mission of seeding and growing collaborations among California’s school districts. The organization’s sole purpose is to bring together leaders to innovate, improve, and build internal capacity as learning organizations, so they can serve all students well for the 21st century.  Ed Partners facilitates and empowers educators to work together and learn from each other in transformative ways, by providing staffing, facilitation, virtual collaboration infrastructure, expertise in cross district learning and collaboration, and cross-network coordination and technical assistance.  The organization offers partnerships a robust  501(c)3 organizational infrastructure, including grants management, communications, Human Resources, and expert engagement/coordination (especially around assessment development). Starting July 1, 2014, the SCALE Up partnership will operate through and be facilitated by California Education Partners, as outlined in its Partnership Agreement.

For more information:

Project Objectives and Outcomes

By 2016, SCALE Up districts will have achieved the following objectives through the Early Literacy Project:

  • Student Achievement: Student TK-2 literacy and academic language development is measurably improving, (ultimately as measured by grade 3 SBAC scores) in all six districts
  • Data: SCALE Up districts have a shared data infrastructure for grades TK-2, and are using data to inform decisions and strengthen practice in grades TK-2
  • Culture: SCALE Up districts will have built capacity and strengthened relationships to share practice and accelerate improvement by working together.

In order to reach those objectives, SCALE Up partners will work towards the following developmental outcomes:

  1. Build and sustain high-functioning PLC structures:
    1. Districts have jointly developed, adopted, and implemented TK-2 formative and summative assessments.
    2. Districts have developed and maintained a data system to capture formative and summative assessment results and provide schools and districts with direct access to up-to-date data.
    3. Districts engage in cross-district conversation to identify and implement best practices and new approaches in response to the shared data.
  2. Ensure awareness of behavioral changes
    1. Teachers will be able to name the specific strategies and approaches they use to adjust their practice based on the new TK-2 assessments.
    2. District teams will be able to name specific ways in which their ability to collect, analyze, and use TK-2 assessment data to strengthen teacher instruction has grown, individually and as a group.

Two Year Project Activities

A. Develop & Implement Formative Assessments:

Design Teams will develop Common Core aligned formative assessment tools in literacy and language development for grades TK-2. These will include student assessment rubrics and anchor work samples that will guide teachers in assessing student mastery of standards, identifying students that are not meeting standards, and making data-driven instructional modifications to support ELL learning as well as the learning of all students struggling to master Common Core standards.

B. Develop & Implement Summative Assessments:

School and district administrators will develop Common Core aligned summative assessments in literacy and language development for grades TK-2 in order to assess overall school and district performance, and guide school- and district-wide reform efforts required to close the ELL achievement gap over time.

C. Create and Maintain Shared Data Systems:

With the support of the Data Director, districts will create and maintain a data system that will enable all SCALE Up schools and districts to capture formative and summative assessment results. Partners will have direct access to up-to-date data that will guide reform efforts required to close the ELL/LTEL achievement gap. Design Team develops data collection and sharing protocols between districts to enable cross district analysis and conversation.

D. Set Individual District Language Goals:

Based on assessment framework and with the help of their District Data Analyst, districts will set individual TK-2 literacy and language development data objectives, and collect data to understand progress towards those objectives.

E. Implement New Assessments:

TK-2 teachers implement formative and summative assessments, led by Design Team’s TK-2 literacy specialist/instructional leader. Design Team will train and support PLC leaders to make sure teachers use data in PLC discussions to inform instruction.

F. Ensure Continuous Improvement:

i. Design Team meets on a biweekly basis with Ed Partners Manager for problem identification and ongoing support to facilitate matchmaking processes, expert coaching and additional support needs, and support project implementation overall.

ii. Comprehensive Summit Teams participate in 3 meetings a year to review development process and reflect on implementation data, discuss learning, and set next action steps.

iii. The Data Director and each district’s Data Analyst will conduct cross-district analyses on assessment data that will inform the Data Director’s bimonthly SCALE Up training with all Design Teams. These trainings will help district teams understand and accurately interpret all assessment data as well as effectively use data to implement instructional modifications and intervention strategies.

iv. Design Teams will lead monthly site-based PLC’s to share learning from Data Director trainings with school data coaches and PLC leaders.

G. Connect Learning:

Share learning through an online platform, and through the on-going facilitation of collaboration by the Program Manager and Data Director

H. Share Learning:

Summit Team attends one meeting a year at Stanford University to share learning to the Stanford ELL Leadership Network

I. Set and Revise Long Term Agenda:

Executive Board approves TK-2 assessment and data-sharing plan, performs 6 month reviews, recommends new work, and continues current policy conversations.

Roles and Participation


A.    Ed Partners Role 

i. Facilitate all of the activities listed above

ii. Coordinate and facilitate on-going logistics and collaboration

iii. Document and share work through an online platform

iv. Provide support through expert engagement and technical assistance

v. Ensure clarity of roles, structures, and  supports

vi. Document the work of the partnership for the purpose of sharing lessons learned with other networks and the larger community of learning

 B.     Program Support Roles 

i. 0.4 Sanger District Partnership Coordinator JoDee Marcellin: coordinate Sanger’s multiple partnerships; eliminate confusion; work with SCALE Up Program Manager; develop prototype for District Partnership role.

ii. Data Director Jose Silva (through Stanford University): The Data Director who will have five primary responsibilities:

1.      Creating and maintaining a web-based SCALE Up forum that leadership teams will utilize to share feedback;

2.      Creating and maintaining a data system for all SCALE Up districts that captures formative and summative data;

3.      Creating and maintaining an inventory of district data infrastructure and use to track district progress over time;

4.      Following up with Design Teams between bimonthly trainings to ensure that schools understand and are applying the best practices taught in trainings; and

5.      Providing ongoing training and assistance, as required, to all partnering schools and districts regarding data collection, management, and reporting, as well as accurately interpreting and effectively using data.

iii. SCALE Up Program Manager/Director Sylvia Hill: Facilitates the partnership’s activities and collaboration by:

1.      Plan and facilitate in person meetings, site visits, learning sessions, and webinars

2.      Develop and maintain relationships with district leaders; support the ongoing learning and capacity-building of district staff

3.      Support districts in scheduling and documentation of data-review meetings

4.      Develop content for quarterly newsletter and other relevant communications

5.      Work with Ed Partners staff on the partnership’s online community and engagement

6.      Use the organization’s infrastructure for information and relationship management

7.      Work collaboratively with Ed Partners staff to advance program and organizational goals

8.      Continually identify and incorporate relevant national learning and expertise

9.      Other duties as assigned

 iv. SCALE Up Support Team: Facilitators and Technical Assistance - Laura Schwalm, Rich     Smith, Kenji Hakuta, Natasha Hoehn, and Phil Halperin.

v. External Contract Service Providers: TBD by Executive Board and staff

 C.    District Roles and Participation

i. Superintendent: 

1.      Leads partnership participation by serving on the Executive Board and attending SCALE Up Learning Summits

ii. District Data Analyst: 0.4 paid through Ed Partners Contract

1.      Leads the data collection and analysis toward district and partnership goals

2.      Leads District Design Team by maintaining ongoing support and collaboration with school sites and other District Design teams.

3.      Leads District Design Team in developing and providing district-wide PD

4.      Participates in Design Team PLC’s led by Data Director, and prepares content for and attends SCALE Up Learning Summits

iii.      TTK-2 Language/Literacy Specialists/PD Leaders: (2-4 people)

1.      Serves on the District Design Team, and supports Data Analyst in all Design Team activities

iv.      Data Coaches:

1.      Attends monthly district PLC/training led by District Design Team

2.      Support assessment use and data collection at school sites

3.      Communicates classroom data and feedback to District Data Analyst

4.      May attend SCALE Up Learning Summits

v.      TTK-2 Grade Level PLC leaders (if available):

1.      Attends monthly district PLC/training led by District Design Team

2.      Leads biweekly grade level PLCs or data discussions at school sites

3.      Provides grade-level classroom/PLC feedback to Data Coaches

vi.      TTK-2 Teachers:

1.      Implement formative and summative assessment; reflect on practice; report learning back to data coach and Design Team

District Participation Descriptions




 How Often

Scale up Summit Team

Superintendents, Design Teams, Site Leaders, School Data Coaches and others as necessary

  • A comprehensive group to participate in Learning Summits
  • 3 Learning Summits/year
  • 1 joint event with the ELL Leadership Network at Stanford University

Scale up Executive Board

SCALE Up exec. Superintendents Support Team

  • Approves TK-2 assessment and data-sharing plan
  • Performs 6-month reviews of partnership progress
  • Recommends new work for the partnership
  • Relevant policy conversations
  • 2 meetings/year following 2 of 3 summit meetings
  • 3 Learning Summits/year

Scale up Districts Data Analyst

TBD by district (new hire/existing)

  • 0.4 paid through Ed Partners Contract
    Leads the data collection and analysis toward district and partnership goals
All Design Team commitments

Design Team

Includes District Data Analyst FTE

 May include TK-2 Literacy Specialist(s)/

District determined Instructional Leaders

  • Lead monthly trainings for school data coaches and PLC leaders
  • Support and connect district implementation and use of SCALE Up assessments and data structures
  • Conduct cross-district analyses on assessment data
  • Share learning through an online platform and through the on-going facilitated collaboration
  • Internal monthly meetings
  • Continuous inter- and intra-district collaboration
  • monthly SCALE Up Design Team PLC
  • Monthly site PLCs
  • 3 Learning Summits/year

District Data Coaches .4 FTE/works with School implementation teams

TBD by district

  • Attends monthly district PLC/training led by Design Team
  • Support assessment use and data collection
  • Communicates PLC data and feedback to District Data Analyst
  • Monthly site PLCs with site PLC leaders led by Design Team

TK-2 Grade Level PLC leaders

TBD by school site

  • Attends monthly district PLC/training led by Design Team
  • Leads monthly grade level PLCs
  • Provides grade-level PLC feedback to their districtl’s Data Coach
  • Monthly PLCs led by Design Team data personnel and
  • Monthly PLC meetings around feedback loop.

TK-2 Teachers

All TK-2 in SCALE Up districts

  • Implement selected formative and selected summative assessment tools/measures; reflect on practice; report learning back to Design Team
  • Monthly meetings

Individual District Implementation

District Personnel

  • Superintendent
  • Data Analyst (0.4 paid through Ed Partners)
  • TK-2 Language and Literacy Specialist(s)
  • School Data Coaches
  • TK-2 Grade Level PLC leaders
  • TK-2 Teachers

District Activities

Set District Learning Goal

Based on assessment framework and with the help of their District Data Analyst, districts will set individual TK-2 literacy and language development data objectives.

On-Going Data Collection

The District Design Team utilizes the web-based SCALE Up platform and bi-weekly meetings to share PLC feedback and results. These results are incorporated into trainings, Learning Summits, and collaboration opportunities by the Data Specialist and the Ed Partners Program Manager.

Bimonthly Training/PLC

The District Design Team participates in SCALE Up training provided by Data Director and Support Team.

Monthly Site-Level PLCs

The District Design Team meets with all grade-level PLC leaders and school Data Coach to disseminate lessons learned at SCALE Up training. After supporting teacher use and reflection, PLC leaders provide grade-level PLC feedback to their school’s Data Coach who communicates it to the District Design Team.

Biweekly Grade-Level PLCs

PLC leaders will guide grade-level PLCs in developing formative student assessment tools and using data to inform instructional modifications; Data Coach and the District Design Team provide ongoing assistance, as required.

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