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Standards 2017: Professional Learning and Leadership

By April Hall
 | Mar 21, 2017

A draft of ILA’s eagerly awaited Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals 2017 (Standards 2017) will be available for public comment from April 17 to May 8. In the weeks leading up to the public comment period, we’ll take a look at the significant changes proposed in Standards 2017, which will be submitted for Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) approval in fall 2017 and published in early 2018. Once approved by CAEP, ILA’s new set of seven standards will become the ruler by which preparation programs for literacy professionals, specifically reading/literacy specialists, are measured.

Jacy Ippolito, associate professor of Secondary and Higher Education, Salem State University in Massachusetts, was the lead writer on Standard 6, Professional Learning and Leadership, and said the most important shift for Standard 6 comes from the separation of the literacy specialist and literacy coach roles.

Jacy Ippolito

“Currently, very few universities and states offer separate credentials for reading/literacy specialists and literacy coaches; while some graduate programs offer coaching courses or experiences for literacy specialist candidates, very few offer separate coaching preparation programs or credentials.” Ippolito said. “Pulling the roles apart is both reflecting and pushing the field to prepare and endorse coaches beyond the specialist role.”

He said using the term literacy leader is also new to the Standard. “It’s incredibly important for literacy specialists to continue working directly with students, but there are many aspects of the role that go beyond intervention work that include working as a ‘literacy leader’ helping to shape literacy teaching, learning, and assessment schoolwide.”

He said that the focus for literacy coaches is on facilitating adult professional learning, whereas specialists have a primary responsibility for student learning and helping other staff collect and make use of assessment data. At the same time, specialists must have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to work collaboratively with teachers to develop and implement effective instructional practices. Such collaborative work may involve coplanning, coteaching, or coaching.

“We’re looking at the different roles in a more granular way than the Standards 2010,” Ippolito said. “But we still focus on understanding adult learning and facilitating professional learning; we still focus on individual and group improvement. The keywords across the standard are facilitation and advocacy. In the 2017 Standards, we’re shifting more toward advocacy work with students, schools, and communities.”

The writing team on Standard 6 was

  • Kevin Marie Laxalt, coordinator for Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Initiative, Nevada Department of Education
  • Debra Price, professor for the Department of Language, Literacy, and Special Populations, Sam Houston State University-Huntsville, TX
  • Misty Sailors, professor of Literacy Education, University of Texas-San Antonio

Once the entire Standards 2017 are posted, be sure to review the draft and give your input during the open public comment period starting April 17.

April HallApril Hall was editor of Literacy Daily. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has specialized in education, writing and editing for newspapers, websites, and magazines.

1 comment

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  1. Gaby | May 08, 2017
    I find the new separation between the roles of the literacy specialist and literacy coach necessary. Each has its own specific role in and out of the classroom environment, and it is important to note those roles, even though both professionals work closely together. I also like the new term "literacy leader" for those professionals working within the literacy team. 

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