Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo
California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
March 14, 2023

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

Webinar to Help Students Read by Third Grade and to Support the Achievement of Black Students

Please join the California Department of Education (CDE) and me for a webinar for local educational agencies (LEAs) on Thursday, March 23 at 4 p.m. to announce resources to help students read by third grade and to support the achievement of Black students. The webinar is designed to reach classroom teachers and classified staff, administrators, students, families, and school partners engaged in efforts to support California student literacy and learning.

During the webinar, participants will highlight a number of key strategies and tools that have been proven to help students meet literacy goals, including an overview of the English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework (ELA/ELD); new standards approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing for teacher training programs regarding teaching literacy; the Freedom School Afrocentric evidence-based literacy intervention program; a review of Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD’s) literacy intervention program, which is credited with boosting literacy for students from all backgrounds in LAUSD; and programs to support English learners in reaching literacy goals.

We will introduce Nancy Brynelson and Dr. Bonnie Garcia as the new Co-Directors for Statewide Literacy at the CDE. The co-directors will establish and lead a plan to assist districts to help their students learn to read by third grade. Brynelson is one of the original writers of the ELA/ELD Framework and has worked as a consultant for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, where she helped establish new literacy standards that teacher credentialing programs must cover in preparing new teacher candidates for the classroom. Dr. Garcia launched the Literacy Improvement Network for 40 school districts in the Desert Mountain Special Educational Local Plan Area (SELPA), where she served as a literacy specialist and dyslexia interventionist and led Orton-Gillingham-based literacy training to support the SELPA Dyslexia Initiative.

In addition, I will announce $1 million in grants to LEAs to expand Freedom School programs at districts across the state. Freedom School, a program of the Children’s Defense Fund, is an Afrocentric, evidence-based literacy program that is proven to improve reading levels for students from all backgrounds. One of our participants, Dr. Tyrone Howard, professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will discuss Freedom Schools. Dr. Howard is considered one of the premier experts on educational equity and access in the country and is the director and founder of the Black Male Institute at UCLA, an interdisciplinary cadre of scholars, practitioners, community members, and policymakers dedicated to examining the nexus of race, class, and gender of school-age youth. Dr. Howard has served on my Black Student Achievement Task Force, which recommended several legislative proposals to help reduce learning gaps for Black students. The expansion of Freedom Schools is a strategy that was promoted by the Black Student Achievement Task Force, as well as by my Task Force on Literacy and Biliteracy.

Members of the Task Force on Literacy and Biliteracy will join the event to provide a review of the ELA/ELD Framework and promising strategies for supporting the literacy development needs of English learners. These include Dr. Hallie Yopp Slowik, Professor at California State University Fullerton, and Dr. Barbara Flores, President, California Association for Bilingual Education. Alesha Moreno-Ramirez, Director, Multilingual Support Division at the CDE, will also join the webinar, as well as California State Board of Education member Alison Yoshimoto-Towery. Yoshimoto-Towery, who formerly served as the Chief Academic Officer at LAUSD, will speak about LAUSD’s literacy intervention program, which is credited with helping students make notable gains in literacy. Representatives from LAUSD have been invited to join the webinar to discuss literacy gains in LAUSD.

Speakers include:

  • State Superintendent Tony Thurmond
  • Nancy Brynelson, Co-Director for Statewide Literacy, CDE
  • Dr. Barbara Flores, President, California Association for Bilingual Education
  • Dr. Bonnie Garcia, Co-Director for Statewide Literacy, CDE
  • Dr. Tyrone Howard, Professor, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, UCLA
  • Alesha Moreno-Ramirez, Director, Multilingual Support Division, CDE
  • Dr. Hallie Yopp Slowik, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Fullerton
  • Alison Yoshimoto-Towery, Member, California State Board of Education

The CDE is overseeing several programs to support student literacy, including a $250 million grant program to help districts recruit more reading coaches and specialists. The March 23 webinar is the first of many intended to present best practices for school leaders to use in helping their students to read by the third grade.

Please register in advance via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_71D9muSATxuxLBW7ALpd3w or you can view the event on the CDE Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CAEducation/.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Recently Posted in Letters

  • Essay to Raise Awareness of the Armenian Genocide (added 01-Mar-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals regarding essay and visual arts scholarships to raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide.
  • Oral History Project Supports Black History Month (added 27-Feb-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding an invitation to an Oral History Project in support of Black History Month.
  • Prioritizing Well-Being Webinar Series (added 08-Feb-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators regarding the Prioritizing Well-Being Among School and District Staff, Educators, and Administrators webinar series.
  • Ready, Set, Go: Proposition 28 Funds Webinar (added 29-Jan-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals regarding our “Ready, Set, Go: Putting Proposition 28 Funds into Practice” webinar.
  • 2024 National Youth Science Camp (added 26-Jan-2024)
    Letter to County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals regarding the 2024 National Youth Science Camp.