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St. Louis Park Public Schools' Coaching Model and the MN Read Act

St. Louis Park Public Schools has embarked on a racial transformation journey, integrating equity and academic rigor. Through an in depth review process, the district integrated a new curriculum and coaching model centered around culturally relevant literacy. Culturally relevant literacy approaches curriculum with diverse and inclusive practices that recognize and validate cultures and experiences. Additionally, Minnesota implemented the Read Act, which seeks to propel each student to read at or above grade level, starting from kindergarten. Both of these standards have rigorous outcomes, and there are many benefits to students when the two standards converge. 

Culturally Relevant Literacy:

At the core of the district's coaching model is culturally relevant literacy practices, rooted in inclusivity and respect for students' diverse backgrounds. Recognizing the wealth of knowledge embedded within different cultures and languages, St. Louis Park Public Schools weaves this knowledge into literacy instruction. The district's commitment to culturally relevant literacy is within the "5 Pursuits," which guide educators in fostering a holistic learning experience:

  • Identity: Empowering students to explore their own identities, those attributed to them by others, and foster an understanding of identities different from their own.
  • Skill: Cultivating proficiency in essential reading skills such as decoding, vocabulary, comprehension, and phonics.
  • Intellectualism: Encouraging critical analysis and expression of ideas through textual evidence in writing and class presentations and discussions. 
  • Criticality: Nurturing critical thinking abilities and fostering awareness of power dynamics and societal issues.
  • Joy: Instilling a sense of intrinsic motivation and enthusiasm for learning among students.

Two Culturally Relevant Literacy Coaches at each school: One for early learning programs

An important piece of St. Louis Park Public Schools' literacy approach are Culturally Relevant Literacy Coaches. The coaches bring unique strengths to the table, incorporating cultural diversity into literacy instruction. Their expertise ensures that students not only develop strong reading skills but also engage with literature that reflects their backgrounds and experiences. These coaches ensure a more personalized and targeted approach towards literacy education, making sure students receive tailored interventions and support across diverse learning needs.

Read Act Compliance:

Aligned with the goals of the Read Act, St. Louis Park Public Schools is committed to getting each student to read at or above grade level, starting from kindergarten. The district leverages READ Act funds to provide professional development opportunities for teachers focused on literacy instruction. This includes more time for LETRs training, which is comprehensive professional learning designed to provide early childhood and elementary teachers and administrators with deep knowledge to be literacy and language experts in the science of reading. By registering through the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), educators gain access to specialized training that helps them to support students in reaching their individualized reading goals.

In their own Words: Voices of Culturally Relevant Literacy Coaches

“My favorite thing about being a Culturally Relevant Literacy Coach is the same thing I loved most when I was a classroom teacher: seeing students learn! Witnessing that joy and growth and seeing how it inspires teachers to continue to evolve their practice is so inspiring.”

"As a Culturally Relevant Literacy Coach, I find joy in collaborating with teachers so that our students not only receive materials that resonate with their backgrounds but also challenge them to become critical thinkers. I believe my role extends beyond traditional notions of literacy because literacy is more than phonics or reading alone. Literacy is a dynamic, interdisciplinary skill applicable across all subjects, so I ensure that literacy is integrated into diverse disciplines, centering student choice and voice.”

New standard curriculum across K-5

This is the first year St. Louis Park Public Schools has had and has implemented a core curriculum across the district for students K-5. The curriculum for all International Baccalaureate (IB) schools is the Collaborative Classroom CCC, and Benchmark Adelente has been implemented at Park Spanish Immersion. These curriculums uphold a very high standard for reading and instruction. 

St. Louis Park Public Schools' literacy approach represents a shift in learning, blending academic rigor with cultural relevance and inclusivity. By empowering students to become proficient readers and critical thinkers, our schools lay the foundation for a more equitable and enriching learning experience.