How does an urban district become a twice-nominated candidate by the Broad Foundation? In a district in which 72 languages are spoken, 38% of the students live in homes in which English is not the dominant language, and 91% of the population is minority (African American, Asian, and Hispanic), this largest school district in Connecticut not only made student learning a priority, but focused on higher level thinking as part of the process. This chapter provides insight to grassroots implementation of district and department initiatives over the course of five years that emphasized cognitive and metacognitive strategies in advancing the reading achievement of all students. This is what happens when a district comes together to participate in university partnerships, communities of practice, intensive literacy training for administrators, literacy coaches, and teachers alike, curriculum revision, the development of comprehensive district literacy plans, and looking at student work and data to inform instruction and shape professional development.
Waters, K.C. (2009). Literacy initiatives in the urban setting that promote higher level thinking. In Building struggling students' higher level literacy: Practical ideas, powerful solutions. (J.L. Collins & T.G. Gunning, Eds.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.