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The Forgotten Conversation: Developing Literacy Skills in Older Students

Session 3
Felicia Rosen — Office of Professional Learning, School District of Philadelphia & John Bartram High School

This is the question that the Administration at John Bartram High School is actively tackling. This conversation has been pursued by both the Assistant Principal and Academic Coach who are asking these questions through their doctoral studies. We understand that a focus on growing literacy skills – and addressing unfinished skills while teaching literacy across all core subjects – is key to helping students make up for lost learning and excelling in their future.

The work of Reading Specialists in elementary or middle school is very different from what is needed in high school, and the mode of instruction also needs to be adjusted for the intellectual and social needs of teenagers.
For those who work with students in Middle and High Schools, this issue is very real. How can we address unfinished learning in skills that are crucial for comprehension to rise up to grade level?

In 2022-2023, Bartram’s standardized test scores rose 6% in literacy. This growth begs the question - how do we maintain this trajectory? Administrators prioritized dedicated funds to obtain a Reading Specialist and a school-based Academic Coach in addition to their school-based Teacher Leader. This team, as a whole, is taking unusual steps to address this issue. We hope our work may be a model for other high schools that are serving similar demographics. At EduCon we would like to present the ideas and steps that we are taking, share up-to-the-moment data from our work, and contribute to a larger conversation about supporting high school students' unfinished literacy skills.

Conversational Practice

I feel that EduCon would be a great place to uplift an important conversation. As such, people who join this group will be asked to share their own best practices and insights. So, the conversational practice could include Turn and Talks, Philosophical chairs, or similar Total Participation Techniques. In addition, a seminar-style presentation filled with anecdotal and data points will invite inquiry and dialogue.

Conversation Links

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