The North Carolina State University College of Education is partnered with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) to implement a pilot initiative providing literacy-specific, intensive induction support to first- and second-year, K-2 teachers: Wolfpack WORKS (Ways to Optimize Reading/Writing for Kids Statewide). The overarching goal of Wolfpack WORKS is to support first- and second-year, K-2 teachers in 15, high-need districts across North Carolina as they learn to implement evidence-based reading instruction in their classrooms for all children. The project is designed to strengthen partnerships and build on existing structures to have a collective impact in the selected school districts and regions; and to further support beginning, K-2 classroom teachers in providing high-quality literacy instruction.
Workpack WORKS is an evidence-based approach designed to address several pressing issues in North Carolina and to serve as the foundation for future work with teachers and students in strengthening third-grade reading achievement. The program focuses on K-2 reading instruction because research has shown the importance of children reading at grade level by Grade 3 and also demonstrated that effective instruction in the early grades can eliminate the need for later, remedial work in learning to read. The program also focuses on classroom teaching to assist teachers in implementing evidence-based, high-quality literacy instruction that supports students’ reading achievement and significantly reduces the need for additional interventions in reading. Wolfpack WORKS provides the support beginning teachers need as they transition from various pathways (e.g., teacher preparation, alternative licensure, lateral entry) into classrooms and works with high-need districts that often have a higher teacher turnover rate and an ongoing need to hire new teachers.
Wolfpack WORKS is designed based on a three-pronged approach that includes
- blended professional development ensuring that teachers can implement evidence-based practices for classroom reading instruction;
- literacy-specific coaching that has been found to be an effective strategy for assisting teachers in improving student literacy; and
- the resources beginning teachers need to implement effective classroom literacy instruction, particularly in high-need elementary schools.
This approach is designed to pilot a model that may be used to support beginning teachers statewide as they learn to implement evidence-based practices for K-2 literacy instruction. The online professional development modules designed, piloted, and refined in this program will later be made available to all teachers in North Carolina.