Our literacy plan is developed and revised by the school’s Literacy Team, comprised of all former and current RIAP participants, the school librarian, and other interested content teachers.  We hold regularly scheduled meetings, the first Tuesday of each month, with meeting agendas.Components of the plan:

  1. The administration gave us a 4’ x 8’ bulletin board for display to keep our plan before the eyes of the teaching and support staff.  On the bulletin board we keep a school wide focus on a.) using Cornell note taking, b.) Words of the Week (W.O.W.), and c.)  using strategies to teach literacy in all content areas.
  2. Our theme on the bulletin board is Bulldogs (our mascot) G.R.O.W.L.!  This acronym, contributed by the librarian, means Growing Readers Opens Windows to Learning.
  3. Rather than ask teachers to add another element to their current responsibilities, the focus of the Literacy Plan is to help teachers to integrate teaching strategies into their content area that the school has chosen to adopt.  Golden Valley is an AVID School.  AVID teaches students the Cornell note taking style as well as advanced organization skills in order to better prepare them for college.  The literacy plan encourages the use of Cornell notes as a school wide tool and has distributed material and provided workshops on how this strategy can work and support a higher level of student comprehension.  The goal is to not only provide the AVID students with such a great tool, but all students at all levels.
  4. W.O.W. is a vocabulary building strategy that is targeted at improving language use and understanding school wide.  The Literacy team has taken responsibility for developing the lists for the entire school year with the focus being on math and English CAHSEE terms.  A new word is presented each day in the bulletin with definition and sentence.  The same word is then also used in each class throughout the day so that the students is hearing and using the word multiple times in different formats.
  5. With many focuses as a young and developing school, the library is an area that is still in need of some support.  Technology has been a huge focus and there are multiple computer labs available with access to fantastic electronic research resources to which the school subscribes.  However, the research and free reading materials in the library itself are an area that still needs help.  We currently operate at 3.7 books per student, which is a growing number, but still considered “at risk” by national standards.  The ideal figure would be 25 books per student.  Our short term goal is to reach 10 books per student with an extended focus on Accelerated reader books by the end of next school year (2010).  A spring book drive is being planned to support this goal.
  6. The school’s Title I program has invested in and implemented a successful Accelerated Reader Program for our literacy students.  Freshmen, sophomore, and ELD students participate in the program that is built around free reading books which have correlating tests for them to take.  The point value of the quiz is weighed against the reading level of the book.  Those meeting their point goal for the quarter are invited to participate in the quarterly AR party acknowledging their accomplishment and encouraging them to continue building their reading skills with higher level books.
  7. The English Department has chosen to adopt the Jane Schaffer writing program.  This is something that they would like to see supported school wide and would like to make arrangements for a school wide training in the spring.
  8. Professional development, with special concentration on the SDAIE population, has been a new emphasis focused on by the administration this year.  Dr. Jill Hamilton Bunch has put on several workshops for the entire staff as well as small groups of teachers.  The administration has also used her services through a walk around, class visit program to help the teachers in implementing new strategies in their rooms.
  9. Title I has also set aside funds specifically for Literacy classes.  The main goal is increasing their reading and comprehension levels, which will in turn lead to better CAHSEE scores and a higher passing rate, and eventually an increase in better prepared graduates entering the either the academic or professional world upon leaving Golden Valley.