KU Center for Research on Learning

KU Center for Research on Learning

Teacher from the Virginia School District teaching a young student and showing him a SIM Comparison Table.

2011 SIM Impact Award

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Virginia’s CLC project includes one key piece that has been under-represented in previous projects: A central role for speech-language pathologists.

From the beginning, the developers of the Content Literacy Continuum envisioned speech-language pathologists working alongside teachers and administrators to provide comprehensive literacy services to students. Until now, though, most CLC projects have not realized the full potential of SLPs.

“It’s so unusual to have a speech-language pathologist at the secondary level,” says Patty Graner, director of professional development at the Center for Research on Learning. “These school communities do have speech-language pathologists, and they’re using them in a way that provides better services to kids overall.”

The speech-language pathologists in the Hanover and Botetourt schools work at all levels of the Content Literacy Continuum to help other educators identify the language variables related to literacy and learning problems. Their work may involve demonstration teaching, intervention instruction, or collaboration with two aims: raise awareness of the role of language in literacy and identify students who are having problems achieving for language reasons.

“They are using speech-language pathologists in a way that is really ground breaking and quite exciting,” says Barbara Ehren, professor and director of the doctoral program at the University of Central Florida and KU’s original project coordinator for the Virginia project. “Language is a part of learning. Past first grade, very few teachers really pay attention to language.”

Kim McCallister is the speech-language pathologist at Liberty Middle School in Hanover County. Most of her time is spent working in Levels 3-5, including handling a caseload of 25 students who have individualized education programs (Level 5). However, she also consults with teachers about making Levels 1 and 2 more “language friendly” and works with general education students who need short-term explicit instruction as they work toward improved literacy.

“It is exciting to be on the proactive end rather than waiting for students to have difficulty and get services solely through an IEP,” she says.

McCallister was a staunch supporter of CLC from the beginning. “I had worked with students in grades 3-5 who required additional support to master reading comprehension skills and fully understood the value of intensive and explicit instruction to address this deficit,” she says.

Susan Trumbo is the speech-language pathologist serving both Central Academy Middle School and James River High School in Botetourt County, where she works with some of the same students she knew in her previous assignment at two of Botetourt’s elementary schools.

“When I was approached about this position six years ago, I was uncertain as to what my role would encompass,” she says.

Once she began working in the CLC setting, though, she became a firm believer in the value of the speech-language pathologist’s role in secondary literacy. Like McCallister, Trumbo has a caseload of 25 students but may work with 80 to 100 students across all five levels of the CLC in any given week.

“Support of staff and administration with flexibility in scheduling is a critical factor,” she says. “My schedule may change weekly and sometimes even daily because it is student-driven.”

The transformation of the speech-language pathologist role in Botetourt and Hanover is a departure from the traditional model. Before CLC, McCallister saw IEP students in a pull-out model, spending only part of her day at Liberty before moving on to another school.

“There was no time to build trust for collaboration or consultation, no time for working beside teachers to improve classroom performance, and as a result, there was little buy-in for the SLP role in literacy,” she says. “I think that only by being involved on a daily basis with the staff and students can this credibility develop.”

Now, teachers and SLPs work together to address the language and literacy needs of their students.

“I believe the SLP’s main role has been to break down the language barrier that our non-IEP students possess,” says Janie Brown, CLC project co-lead and physical science teacher at Liberty Middle School. “Most teachers knew some of their kids didn’t get the information but weren’t sure how to tackle that because they had no formal language education. Many of us now are more cognizant of the language we teach.”

Trumbo, who uses SIM interventions in almost all of the services she provides to students, would not be comfortable with a return to the traditional model of speech-language service delivery.

“I feel that the most challenging, valuable, and rewarding work I have done is in the secondary setting through the CLC framework,” she says.

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“They have taught all of us so much about what it takes for CLC to truly make an impact. Their commitment is inspiring, and their efforts will be reflected in the successes experienced by teachers and students well beyond their schools and into the future.”

– Ann Hoffman

“The transformation from a middle school student to a high school student was much easier with the help of these strategies and routines because you know what to expect from the teachers. You know that they are going to teach you much like you were taught in the years before.”

—Matthew Flint, senior, James River High School

Thank you to the faculty and staff of Central Academy Middle School, James River High School, Liberty Middle School, and Patrick Henry High School for their hard work and dedication to improving adolescent literacy. A special thanks to those listed below for their exceptional leadership.

Botetourt School Division
Anthony Brads, Superintendent
John Busher, Assistant Superintendent
Joni Poff, Supervisor of Instruction, SIM Professional Developer
Diana Dixon, Former Director of Instruction

Central Academy Middle School
Tim McClung, Principal
Andy Bell, Teacher Leader
Cathy Cronise, Teacher Leader
Tammy Ferris, Teacher Leader
Pam Kettelson, Teacher Leader
Suzanna Mejia, Teacher Leader
SIM Professional Developer Apprentice
Denise Sprinkle, Teacher Leader
Building Leader, SIM Professional Developer
Susan Trumbo, Teacher Leader
SIM Professional Developer
Sandra Witt, Teacher Leader

James River High School
Jami Talbott, Principal
Jennifer Alderson, Teacher Leader
Donna Cox, Teacher Leader
SIM Professional Developer Apprentice
Richard Furman, Teacher Leader
Philip King, Teacher Leader
Leah Lorton, Teacher Leader, SIM Professional Developer
Dana McCaleb, Teacher Leader, Building Leader
SIM Professional Developer
Teresa Simmons, Teacher Leader
SIM Professional Developer
Dreama McMillan, Former Assistant Principal

Hanover School Division
Jamelle Wilson, Superintendent
Patrick Henry High School
Jeffrey Crook, Principal
Paul Vecchione, Former Principal
Brian Maltby, Co-Building Lead
Ian Shenk, Co-Building Lead
Farley Allen, Teacher Leader
Chris Belcher, SIM Professional Developer
Karin Caskey, Teacher Leader
Kristina Godbey, Teacher Leader
Cathy Guillena, SIM Professional Developer
Tara Holladay, Teacher Leader
Terri Lent, SIM Professional Developer
Elizabeth Markwood, SIM Professional Developer
Chrisana Reveley, SIM Professional Developer
Hannah Sacra, SIM Professional Developer
Princess Sawyer, SIM Professional Developer
Alice Scheele, Teacher Leader
Stacy Stanford, Teacher Leader
Kevin Trent, Teacher Leader
Peggy Whitlock, Teacher Leader
Jean Wright, SIM Professional Developer
Frances Warnick, Former Building Lead
Liberty Middle School
Donald Latham, Principal
Kendall Hunt, Former Building Lead
SIM Professional Developer
Janie Brown, SIM Professional Developer
Deverick Strand, Teacher Leader, SIM Professional Developer
Rhonda Booth, Teacher Leader, SIM Professional Developer
Holly Drake, Teacher Leader, SIM Professional Developer
Lisa Atkins, Teacher Leader, SIM Professional Developer
Lalisha Fitchett, Teacher Leader,
SIM Professional Developer Apprentice
Kim McCallister, Speech and Language Pathologist
Julie Dauksys, Reading Specialist, Building Lead
University of Kansas Center
for Research on Learning
Donald Deshler, Director
Barbara Ehren, Former Project Coordinator
Diane Gillam, Project Manager
Joan Fletcher, Former Site Leader
Rosemary Tralli, Former Site Leader & Project Coordinator
Ann Hoffman, Site Leader
Jerilyn Neduchal, Site Leader

Virginia Department of Education Support
Tom Manthey, Project Director
Doug Cox, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education
and Students Services
Patricia Abrams, Director of Special Education
Office of Special Education and Instructional Services
Virginia Tech T/TAC Support
Helen Barrier, SIM Professional Developer
Ben Tickle, SIM Professional Developer

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