Fulton County Schools in Georgia is a diverse school district serving large parts of the Atlanta area. In 2019 the district’s special education department recognized the need for improved reading instruction for their students. They sought to address all components of decoding, including phonemic awareness, word recognition, and reading accuracy, as well as a way to help develop students’ vocabulary and comprehension for oral and written language.
Fulton County selected Lindamood-Bell to provide initial and ongoing professional development in the Seeing Stars® and Visualizing and Verbalizing® (V/V®) programs. Seeing Stars addresses all components of decoding, while V/V addresses vocabulary and comprehension. The district decided to implement a phased-in model over three years, allowing the district to provide workshops and effectively support at least 100 new teachers each year.
During the second year of implementation, Fulton County began expansion into additional elementary school sites, as well as several district middle schools. This expansion will continue in the third year to include all elementary and middle school sites in the county. Providing job-embedded professional development to middle school staff will allow upper elementary students to continue to receive process-based instruction and close the achievement gap as they move into secondary education. Teachers have been receiving the initial Level 1 workshop, and access to asynchronous review and next-step Level 2 professional development coursework to continue to grow their skills.
Crucially, Fulton County Schools recognized the need for ongoing job-embedded professional development through Lindamood-Bell consultants present in live sessions via Zoom. This level of sustained and rigorous support has been a key factor in the quality and fidelity of instruction, a model supported by best practices in teacher preparation and effectiveness.
During these live sessions, Lindamood-Bell consultants have been able to interact directly with students and teachers to model, co-teach, and provide feedback on lessons in real-time. They have also provided lesson plans and written session analyses to teachers. This has been supplemented by monthly Professional Learning Community meetings between Lindamood-Bell consultants and Fulton County staff. Building leaders have also been given opportunities to observe instruction alongside a Lindamood-Bell Project Director to help provide them with a better understanding of what instruction should look like, and how they can continue to support their teachers with implementation.
Mid-year in the 2019-20 school year, the Fulton County team assessed the impact of instruction in Seeing Stars by comparing the progress of students receiving Lindamood-Bell instruction to a group of students that were still receiving their standard special education instruction. Results showed the Seeing Stars group significantly outperformed the comparison group on the iReady Reading Assessment:
PROFILE: 2019-20 Fall to Winter Growth
Number of Students: 416
Timeline of Instruction: 1 Semester
Program Implemented: Seeing Stars®
• i-Ready Reading Assessment
The district and Lindamood-Bell recently completed Year 2 of this projected five-year project. Teacher workshops in the programs will continue through the summer and fall of 2021.
Contact us to learn more about how Lindamood-Bell can make a difference for your students.