The professional development arm of Virginia's Reading First funding was subcontracted to the University of Virginia, Curry School of Education, specifically the McGuffey TEMPO Reading Outreach office. The director of that office became the principal investigator of the professional development for the state project. In summer 2003, the Reading First in Virginia office was opened on West Main Street; a project manager and research associates were hired. RFIV remained open and in operation until June 30, 2010.
During that first summer, the project research associates adapted the Kindergarten and First grade materials to our state's specifications. We served approximately 700 K and 1 teachers in three sites across the state (Hampton Roads area, Richmond, and Charlottesville) that were structured like a graduate class with an instructors who were reading specialists from UVa. The next year, we adapted the 2rd and 3rd grade materials. By this year, 75 elementary schools in the state received funding and our academies were full to overflowing!
Schools that received RF funding were required to have their teachers attend the academy training. To meet that goal, we programmed our new website to give priority registration to RF teachers. Also by the third year, we were building the on-line versions of our face-to-face summer academies and we began offering academies during the school year at selected sites where we were needed. All enrollment and completion records were kept on our website.
By the third year, we acknowledged that teachers needed more follow-up experiences with best practices in literacy. To meet the need, we built workshops that gave them that practice. By 2006-07, we had taken the training to scale.
Next, by request of the Virginia Department of Education, we created what came to be our finest piece of professional development - the Academy for Teachers of Special Education students. The Reading First funding was aimed not only at K-3 general education teachers but to meet the needs of K-12 special educators. Our new academy did that.
The last PD we built was the Differentiating Instruction Institute, which we offered across the state at several sites for the last two years of the grant. All of the materials we created for teachers were available on our website (and still are)!
In all, we have served over 10,000 teachers in our state with the funding from this grant. Many teachers beyond our state boundaries have made use of this website. It is our hope that the scale we built in our time working with the state Department of Education can continue for school districts in our state and beyond, in the coming years. The University of Virginia has been honored to share the state's challenge during the first decade of the twenty-first century.
Mary P. Abouzeid
Professor, University of Virginia
Principal Investigator, Reading First in Virginia
Throughout the grant, we updated these web resources for teachers in our state and beyond. Click here to go to the eLibrary.
Pictorial Case Studies of:
- Best practices in the classroom
- Slideshows of Academies
- Slideshows of Workshops
- Slideshows of Conferences and Comprehension Institute
Professional Development Materials
As we created materials for teachers, we posted them on this website.
There you will find:
McGuffey/TEMPO Reading Outreach at the University of Virginia will continue to deliver RF professional development opportunities after the Reading First grant is over, on a contract basis. This includes the four-day/30 hour Academy for Teachers of Struggling Readers (formerly called the Special Ed Academy) and the hands-on workshops. The K-3 academies and the ELL academy will soon be available for on-line registrations as non-credit training, available to teachers in Virginia and across the country. Please consult TEMPO's website for updated information.