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Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started with RRIR

  1. Which project should I start with?

    Regie Routman in Residence is designed to be used in any order, according to your needs, your data, and your interests. Because Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading/Writing Connections is the foundational piece that most deliberately introduces and demonstrates literacy basics and the Optimal Learning Model, you may want to begin with it. In particular, this project emphasizes the shared-experiences phase of the Optimal Learning Model, a frequently overlooked but essential component of instruction if learners are to become independent. It’s also a good project to start with because it shows teachers the whole process for everyday writing and reading. Participants learn how to help students create texts that become reading texts. In so doing, they see that increasing writing ability and increasing reading comprehension go hand in hand. Deeply understanding this connection gives them a running start on the other two projects. No matter which project you begin with, you’ll find that each will bring back the joy of reading and writing and will help make students independent lifelong learners.

  2. What is the benefit of purchasing all three projects?

    Each of these projects interconnects and is designed to show educators what high-quality teaching looks like and sounds like. Each is a highly effective tool for new teachers, veteran teachers, and principals to improve the teaching of reading and writing. Taken together, the three projects have the power to bring about profound whole-school change. If you purchase all three projects, you’ll be getting the first PD program designed for whole-school achievement. It’s unique in that it achieves this whole-school breadth by transforming day-to-day practices of teachers and the beliefs and practices of everyone in the school. In this sense it’s neither "top down" nor "bottom up"—instead, it’s "rightside up." That is, it puts its emphasis on getting an entire school, from the most struggling student to the highest administrator, to commit to higher expectations and achievement.

  3. What makes this video-based PD program different from other video-based products on the market?

    Regie Routman in Residence goes far beyond the video and companion guide PD model. Unlike typical sit-and-get videos, the videos in Regie Routman in Residence engage participants and offer meaningful opportunities for professional learning. Detailed “Deeper Understanding” charts give the background of the teacher and students, as well as the purpose of the lesson. These charts list each explicit teaching point in the video with its teacher language and its ongoing, embedded assessment. Teachers in the pilot studies continued to utilize these invaluable charts one and two years after completing the PD Program.

    Most importantly, Regie Routman in Residence is unique in that its videos are extensive enough to give teachers the knowledge they need to stay the course, get smarter, and become more vocal about saying no to curriculum or programs that would erode the gains they’ve made. Another important feature is that teachers and administrators can re-view the videos from a session on their own computers, flag favorite spots, take notes on the computer while viewing, and participate through www.regieroutman.com in national conversations.

  4. Is this a cost-effective model for providing ongoing professional development?

    Absolutely. With this program, teachers get a year’s worth of sustained professional development guidance for less than $100 each. Also, www.regieroutman.com is value-added, offering updated support and resources plus a chance to share information and get advice from Regie and other participants during and beyond the first year of professional development. Regie Routman in Residence is designed with different entry points, so that a year later, new teachers can use its resources to get up to speed with the rest of the staff’s work. Because it’s developed for whole-school change, the investment in Regie Routman in Residence is spread across the faculty, and the opportunity for success is multiplied many times beyond expensive, offsite PD.

  5. What effect has Regie Routman in Residence had on test scores?

    At one typical school outside of urban Denver, test scores in reading had been flat for years. Out of 30 area elementary schools, its scores were stuck in the lower middle range. With Regie Routman in Residence, the school’s scores jumped to third from the top in reading achievement, just behind the two most affluent schools in its district. That impressive gain in reading achievement has been maintained for five years, to date.

    At a school in Washington state that serves mostly students from low-income families and that has a high English learner population, reading achievement rose approximately 50% to 80%. Those gains have been maintained, to date, for four years.

    Whole-school writing gains have come more slowly, mostly because writing is undervalued, teacher knowledge is generally lower than with reading, and writing is often left out when teachers are out of time. Where teachers have implemented Regie Routman in Residence and made a solid commitment to daily writing and teaching writing well, scores in extended writing, paragraph writing, and editing have greatly increased and been maintained. As well, reading comprehension scores have increased as a result of more nonfiction writing and reading.

  6. How does Regie Routman in Residence reflect national PD standards?

    Regie Routman in Residence is a complete staff development program that meets the standards of the National Staff Development Council. It addresses standards relating to:

    • effective learning communities
    • leadership
    • resources that support collaboration
    • data-driven staff development
    • research-based learning strategies
    • ongoing evaluation
    • equity.
    For more info on how Regie Routman in Residence meets these standards, see www.regieroutman.com.
  7. How have teachers responded to these residency programs so far?

    As Regie Routman in Residence was piloted, the feedback from teachers emphasized that watching the videos of Regie teaching day-to-day gave them the practical how-tos and "big picture" of classroom teaching that one-shot professional development sessions often lack. Teachers gained insight into ways to talk and respond to students during instruction; how to embed assessment into their daily teaching; how to effectively confer with kids; and how to organize their teaching around a simple model, the Optimal Learning Model.

    Teachers often say that participating in Regie Routman in Residence has made them feel smarter and work smarter. As they begin to shift their beliefs and practices, many report that their teaching has been transformed. Notably, teachers learn how to apply what they are learning to increase their effectiveness and efficiency, to raise expectations and achievement for English language learners and other special-needs learners, and to rediscover the joy of teaching and learning. All teachers and administrators find these programs are not just about teaching reading or writing—they’re about excellent instruction. What teachers learn transfers to all teaching across the curriculum.

Implementing RRIR

  1. How does Regie Routman in Residence provide a remedy for teacher burn-out or resistance to professional development?

    Many teachers today, and administrators, too, are at a low point. There is so much pressure to raise test scores, implement the latest "new" program or research, and meet the needs of increasingly diverse and challenging populations. Often, from sheer exhaustion and not knowing what else to do, teachers go along with a practice they know is not right for their students, fearing reprisals if they speak up. Helplessness sets in. Regie Routman in Residence will help all educators become more knowledgeable, more professional, and better able to advocate for and make wise decisions for their students. Teachers will rediscover the joy of teaching.

    Think about the adage, "the camera never lies" as you watch the videos. When you see a withdrawn, struggling learner say something amazing or read and/or write with fluency, you can’t help but catch the "I can do it" spirit that permeates Regie Routman in Residence. What the video clips and support materials do is inspire and propel teachers to change their beliefs. Once their beliefs are challenged, professional growth and change in practices becomes possible. Teachers catch the “I can do it” spirit too. You’ll see several clips where teachers are interviewed about how their beliefs and practices have changed. You will see and feel their competence, confidence, and sense of empowerment and enjoyment.

  2. We don't have a staff developer at our school. Can anyone else serve as the facilitator?

    Absolutely! The facilitator can be the literacy director, literacy coach, reading specialist, or any knowledgeable teacher. In fact, the PD program is set up for leadership teams. Ideally, the leadership team consists of the principal and two or three others, such as a literacy coach, a primary teacher, and an intermediate teacher. However, when feasible, having the principal lead this team is best for whole-school collaboration and student achievement.

    A hands-on, enthusiastic principal who is highly involved creates that "We can do this!" spirit. Principals have immediate access to data, opportunity and time to visit classrooms, and the decision-making ability to allocate funds, adjust schedules, procure resources, etc. The facilitator and the leadership team coordinate the entire Regie Routman in Residence program. They make both long- and short-range plans over time and provide support to ensure that participants are successful; that their voices are heard before, during, and after the sessions; and that conversations are purposeful and positive and move everyone to a deeper understanding of reading and writing instruction. The role of the leadership team along with detailed suggestions for implementation and facilitating sessions are fully explained in the Getting Started Guide and accompanying video.

  3. What is the principal’s role in implementing Regie Routman in Residence?

    PD programs that support and teach principals and whole schools are rare. Yet, the role of the principal, as instructional leader, is crucial to the success of this and any professional development program. Ideally, the principal is an active member of the leadership team, serving as facilitator or working side by side with the facilitator to motivate the staff and students throughout the program, and to observe teachers as they try out new ideas. But we’ve seen the program succeed with a strong school leader other than the principal.

    One of the primary reasons this PD program was developed was to give principals a powerful and effective tool for developing their literacy knowledge, to show them what to look for and listen for in classrooms, to support their leadership and coaching skills, and to increase schoolwide achievement.

  4. It's a full-year program. Does that mean we have to start at the beginning of the school year?

    No, start time is flexible. Each project consists of 13 or 14 professional development sessions. In the Getting Started Guide, there are three suggested calendars for the sessions. In the "Summer Start," sessions begin before the start of school with a half-day kickoff. The "October Start" allows teachers to get settled into the school year before they begin. The "Mid-Year Start," often in January, allows schools to have the professional development sessions span into the next school year. The whole PD program is meant to be flexible, easy to implement, self-sustaining, and replicable.

  5. How often do we need to meet and for how long?

    Regie Routman in Residence offers some flexibility about how many times per month teachers meet for the collaborative professional development sessions. The calendars are mostly designed for one whole-group session per month so that participants have sufficient time for small-group meetings in between sessions to review, analyze, plan, and apply new learning in their classrooms.

    If there are professional development days built into your district calendar, 2 sessions may be combined and presented in one day or in one month. Each session in the professional development program is timed to run between 90 and 120 minutes.

  6. Is every session the same or do they vary in format and approach?

    Every session is formatted with the same agenda to make the planning easy for the facilitators and predictable for the participants. The session begins with the participants revisiting the content of the previous session by sharing the results of their classroom implementation and discussing the professional reading. Next, the new goals are presented followed by the session video. Participants respond to the video with discussion questions and a "deeper understanding" activity in grade level or vertical teams. Finally, participants are asked to try out their new learning in the classroom (Try It/Apply It.) Before the participants leave the session, they summarize their learning, complete a session evaluation, and receive the professional reading for the next session.

    Regie Routman in Residence provides the materials, activities, readings, and website support for participants to learn and discuss best literacy practices, plan for implementation in the classroom, and solve issues related to student achievement.

  7. What is the level of commitment for teachers who participate in Regie Routman in Residence?

    Teachers who participate in any or all of the three Regie Routman in Residence professional development programs are asked to commit to full participation in order to meet the goals of the program that affect student achievement.

  8. Full participation includes:
    • attending and actively participating in every whole-group session (virtual teams)
    • participating in between-session discussions, analysis, and lesson planning with colleagues (small-group teams, such as grade level)
    • implementing strategies, skills, and activities in the classroom as suggested in the "Try It/Apply It" section of each session
    • reading and preparing to discuss the professional readings suggested for each session.

  9. If there are only a few teachers interested in any of the three projects, can they use it by themselves?

    According to the standards of the National Staff Development Council, the most powerful forms of staff development occur when teachers meet in teams on a regular basis for the purpose of learning, collaborative lesson planning, and problem solving. So if a whole school is not on board, small groups of teachers can work their way through the project(s) together. Small groups interested in participating in the projects might be grade level teams of classroom teachers, teams of district literacy coaches, principals, reading specialists, or middle school language arts department chairs across a district.

  10. How does this PD program meet and support the challenges of urban schools?

    Many of the videos in Regie Routman in Residence were taken in urban classrooms with large populations of English language learners of diverse backgrounds and with special education students included in all the lessons. Participants view not just the lessons but the classroom management and language of respect and encouragement shown to all students. Participants "see" what happens when we raise expectations for all students, teach explicitly and responsively, and use ongoing assessment to inform and accelerate our instruction.

    Students who are reading and writing two and three years below grade level often begin to excel, sometimes in the space of a day, through a single reading or writing conference. Participants learn that challenging curriculum, excellent literature, high-level concepts, and vocabulary must be as routine in a school where the majority of the students come from families with low incomes as one where children come from families with high incomes.

    Regie Routman in Residence is all about writing and reading many authentic, continuous texts. Research has shown that in unexpectedly high-achieving urban schools (Allington, J. Langer), students are engaged throughout the day in reading and writing meaningful texts as opposed to doing lots of activities about reading and writing. It’s about teaching with a sense of urgency, about getting great at teaching and integrating many skills all at once—not just one concept or strategy—but implementing a whole-part-whole teaching model. This PD program makes it possible for all students to achieve. In urban, suburban, and rural schools, in affluent or poor settings, we have to start with the child, not the standards. We have to do everything we can to energize their hearts and minds through understandable, challenging, and relevant curriculum.

Project Specific

  1. Our school teaches writing based on the 6+1 Trait Writing Assessment. Can we use Transforming Our Teaching Through Writing for Audience and Purpose with the traits?

    Yes, definitely! Writing teachers like the traits approach because it gives them and their students a common language for talking about the characteristics of writing and offers rubrics to assess kids’ writing. But because the 6+1 traits were first developed as an assessment tool, not as a method for teaching writing, teachers still need an instructional framework to embed the traits in.

    Transforming Our Teaching Through Writing for Audience and Purpose provides this framework. So the two approaches complement each other. With this project, teachers can place the traits into a meaningful whole so that students become efficient, independent, effective writers.

  2. How specifically does the Writing for Audience and Purpose project help students write well in any content area?

    To be a good writer, you need to be able to—and be motivated to—define what you want to communicate to others and to organize your message into a compelling piece. Research indicates that students are more likely to produce high-quality writing when we model how to write for authentic reasons.

    Transforming Our Teaching Through Writing for Audience and Purpose completely focuses on authentic, purposeful writing, and gives teachers an instructional process for teaching writing that helps students assume more responsibility for composing, revising, and editing. The project focuses on memoir because research suggests that children are most successful as writers when teachers model—and children write—about real-life experiences and topics they know. But participants may choose to apply what they learn in the sessions to any genre. Teachers transfer what they learn to teaching personal narratives, biographies, persuasive writing, nonfiction reports—any genre, including academic writing, across the curriculum. Keep in mind that nationwide writing scores are, on average, about 20 points lower than reading scores so we need to be giving much more attention to writing. Participating in this project will help teachers increase writing achievement and enjoyment for all learners, including English language learners and learners who struggle.

  3. We already have lots of good reading materials and literature. We know how to teach phonics and comprehension strategies. Our plates are full. How is Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading to Understand going to give our students added benefit?

    The emphasis throughout Regie Routman in Residence is on simplifying our teaching and teaching students to be smart, mindful, independent learners. Schools and teachers feel their plates are overwhelmingly full in part because they don’t know how to turn more responsibility over to students.

    Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading to Understand shows educators how to teach students to be independent readers—which will free teachers up to teach rich ideas and understandings about texts rather than remaining stuck in a cycle of teaching comprehension skills and strategies. Students will learn to choose texts they can read and understand, problem solve, and self-monitor as they read.

    On the videos you will see guided-reading groups as well as phonics and strategy teaching but not as an end in itself, always for the purpose of having students be able to read for understanding. You will also observe informal reading conferences with a teacher sitting side by side with a student—assessing and teaching—to be sure the student has chosen a "just-right" book, understands the text on a deep level, and can set meaningful goals.

    As most of students’ reading time is (or should be) spent reading self-chosen texts, independence is a necessity, not a luxury, if we expect our students to do well on high-stakes tests and in life.

  4. Our school’s reading program is a basal reading series, and we use a commercial writing program. How will Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading/Writing Connections and Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading to Understand work with a structured program?

    Regie Routman in Residence can dovetail with any reading or writing program. Most newer basal reading series consist of sets of leveled books, picture books for read-alouds, supplemental materials, and a detailed teachers’ guide. If one follows the lesson plans provided in the teachers’ guide, an inordinate amount of our students’ time will be spent doing reading activities that may or may not teach our students to be strategic readers who love to read.

    Regie Routman in Residence provides a structured framework and the staff development necessary for teachers to be able to choose carefully from the overloaded teachers' guide, use the basal materials more effectively, move beyond formula writing, and ensure that all students are reading and writing with purpose and understanding.

  5. Why would I want to buy a program on reading/writing connections in addition to one on reading to understand?

    Despite substantial research that supports teaching reading and writing interactively for maximum achievement in both reading and writing, this powerful connection has been undervalued and underutilized. Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading/Writing Connections helps teachers use reading and writing to improve their students' abilities in each of these literacies.

    The goal of Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading to Understand is targeted more specifically at comprehension. While it makes use of both reading and writing (including reading aloud, shared reading, shared writing, and daily writing), it does so with the specific aim of helping students develop their facility with understanding texts.

Using RRIR in Failing Schools

  1. How might Regie Routman in Residence be used to transform struggling schools?

    Regie Routman in Residence is comprehensive in its commitment to schools as they learn together and improve student performance. In his most recent book, Michael Fullan suggests there are six secrets of school change. Three are particularly applicable to struggling schools: connect peers with purpose, capacity building prevails, and learning is the work.

    The components of Regie Routman in Residence are designed to facilitate the study of expert teaching in both reading and writing and address these three secrets of school change. The Regie Routman in Residence facilitator guides are designed to help connect teachers through learning communities that deepen their understanding of literacy and the optimal teaching model. The professional development notebooks ensure that participants document and personalize their learning.

    Building capacity takes time because it includes the development of new competencies. Regie Routman in Residence’s unique approach, which includes print, video, and web-based resources, offers teachers opportunities to study literacy, to see expert teaching in action, and to access additional downloadable resources and updates as needed. In addition, Regie Routman in Residence helps principals become more effective instructional leaders. The carefully designed yearlong plan for embedded professional development becomes the tool through which schools transform themselves from low-performing to high-performing buildings.

  2. What components of Regie Routman in Residence are particularly helpful in working with struggling schools?

    In most cases, struggling schools are high-poverty schools. As a result, expectations about students’ abilities often are unintentionally low. Each of the three Regie Routman in Residence programs addresses the need for high expectations, and teachers study how changing their own teaching to be more skilled and supportive affects student performance. Not only do the three professional development projects address the role of expectation, they also show participants how to support students by applying the gradual release model (Pearson and Gallagher, Cambourne) to their teaching to ensure optimal student learning. Furthermore, staff members develop shared beliefs and goals that foster student success.

    The power of Regie Routman in Residence is that teachers not only explore new ways of teaching, they also learn how to apply and strengthen their understanding within the setting in which they work. The power of the embedded professional development model is that teachers see improvement in their own students’ learning from a focus on refining teaching. Working toward independent demonstrations of learning, teachers learn how to scaffold for student success.

  3. In what other ways does Regie Routman in Residence support school improvement?

    Motivation is a key factor for both teachers and students. Higher motivation produces higher energy. When teachers find their professional development relevant and focused on how to become more effective and efficient teachers, they also rediscover the joy and satisfaction of teaching. Regie Routman in Residence is designed to build motivation by increasing collaboration and collegiality within a school setting. Because it is flexible, schools can use the components in a variety of ways from small-group teams to vertical teams to grade-level teams.

    Struggling schools are often faced with additional challenges in teacher retention. Teaching is all too often accompanied by feelings of isolation and loneliness. The skillful design of Regie Routman in Residence ensures that together teachers reflect on and self-assess their teaching, build networks of collegial support and expertise, and celebrate success. Research is clear that increased competence is one of the most important components in motivation.

  4. How does Regie Routman in Residence fit among other activities in which struggling schools might be required to participate?

    Most importantly, Regie Routman in Residence focuses on improving students’ access to good teaching. Schools are encouraged to carefully examine student achievement data to select a single focus based on specific needs. Regie Routman in Residence’s three professional development projects allow leaders to customize professional development according to both school and district needs. Teachers and administrators learn how to use authentic assessments to gauge student ability and progress, then employ effective tools for improving student performance based on their assessments. The flexibility of Regie Routman in Residence allows a campus or district leadership team to plan comprehensive professional development while still complying with district, state, or federal requirements.

  5. Staff size varies from school to school. Is there some flexibility in the packaging of Regie Routman in Residence to accommodate the different sizes of schools?

    The size of the group participating in Regie Routman in Residence is an important consideration. Optimal participation by every teacher is vital, so generally, a group of 30–35 is the recommended maximum size. Schools with very large staffs are encouraged to purchase two projects, or two copies of a project, to increase teacher engagement. All three projects come with some flexibility in how they may be ordered, however. Since each teacher receives the Professional Development Notebook, all three programs may be ordered with 20, 25, 30, or 35 Professional Development Notebooks to meet the individual needs of schools. When only one or two additional notebooks are needed, individual notebooks are also available.

  6. How does Regie Routman in Residence address assessment and testing to improve student achievement?

    Research suggests that a key ingredient in improving student performance is focusing attention on student learning. Regie Routman in Residence does just that. While teachers are immersed in transforming their teaching, the spotlight is on student learning and achievement.

    Years of educational research confirm that teacher quality is the most important variable in student achievement. Teachers learn to study student work to gain insights about student learning. By better understanding how to link instruction to assessment, teachers grow smarter and more efficient. In addition, as teachers work together in both horizontal and vertical teams, there is greater coherence in what students learn from year to year.

    Richard Allington has found that one of the most consistent qualities exemplary teachers share is the careful selection of both the tasks they require students to complete and the way in which they measure student learning. Regie Routman in Residence addresses both in thoughtful and practical ways.

  7. What is the most important outcome a struggling school might expect from using Regie Routman in Residence?

    Regie Routman in Residence focuses on the whole—not simply the parts. When schools struggle, there is often a tendency to focus energy and resources on individual leaders and/or teachers to produce quick-fix solutions. However, we know from the work of Hargreaves, Fullan, and Darling-Hammond that in order to sustain school improvement and capacity building, the focus must be bigger.

    One of the most exceptional characteristics of Regie Routman in Residence is its focus on the whole school or district team. When leaders and teachers work together to achieve school change, the potential for lasting success is increased. The three Regie Routman in Residence projects bring teachers and leaders together to study expert teaching as the means to student learning and achievement.

    Furthermore, each project is designed with the expectation that participants apply their new learning within the classroom. Through rich professional conversations, the videos' demonstrations of quality teaching, and the structured practice the program offers, teachers and principals feel a renewed sense of commitment to their teaching and their own learning. As a staff grows more confident, student success and enjoyment increase proportionately.

Using RRIR with English Language Learners

  1. What makes Regie Routman in Residence well suited for schools or districts with large numbers of English language learners?

    Regie Routman in Residence is designed to transform teaching and learning for all students in all contexts. Because it is based on the optimal teaching model that begins with demonstrations, continues with shared experiences, provides time for guided practice, and then gradually hands over responsibility to learners, it is especially well suited for schools and districts with large ELL populations. Teachers of English language learners learn how to apply the model within the context of teaching reading and writing in all three professional development projects: Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading/Writing Connections, Transforming Our Teaching Through Writing for Audience and Purpose, and Transforming Our Teaching Through Reading to Understand.

    The gradual release model is particularly important for teachers of English learners. Since language acquisition often determines how quickly students develop proficiency, teachers learn to watch students for needed teaching points and additional support. Teachers’ engagement in ongoing professional conversations also strengthens the potential for all students’ success. Since the focus of Regie Routman in Residence is on student learning as the ultimate outcome, teachers learn to make adjustments in their teaching based on ongoing assessment designed to tap approximations toward independence in reading and writing.

    The video scenes included frequently feature Regie Routman working with English learners. The projects have been used very effectively in schools in both Arizona and Colorado with populations made up almost entirely of ELLs. While there is a suggested sequence for some sessions, there is also great flexibility. This allows a leadership team to customize and select the most relevant learning for teachers to link to their classroom practices.

  2. What kinds of adaptations might be made to the content of Regie Routman in Residence to customize for campuses or districts with large ELL populations?

    While the content of all Regie Routman in Residence programs is appropriate for all students because the focus is on excellent classroom teaching, schools might decide to customize and expand study with articles and/or books that explore characteristics of English language learners and their specific needs. The Professional Development Notebook invites teachers to commit to implementing some aspect of the video lessons from each session in their own classrooms. The "Try It/Apply It in the Classroom" feature is an excellent opportunity within the agenda to discuss modifications that might be necessary to address English language learners' unique needs. Furthermore, whole-school conversations raise expectations for all students, so teachers constantly focus on improving achievement throughout the school. Using data to look at diminishing achievement gaps in student groups as professional development continues accentuates the ways in which learning is enhanced for all through Regie Routman in Residence. For further assistance with customizing for the needs of English learners, schools or districts should use the resources at www.regieroutman.com.

  3. What is the impact of Regie Routman in Residence on English language learners?

    Teachers working with ELL students sometimes unintentionally focus on what students cannot do rather than what they can do. All three projects have sections that facilitate teachers in examining their own beliefs about teaching reading and writing. These discussions help the leadership team identify how to support teachers in adjusting their expectations and clarify their misunderstandings about second language learners. While English language learners may have a limited understanding of English, they transfer many language skills to English, particularly when the culture of the school and classrooms is supportive. One Regie Routman in Residence pilot school in Washington state serves mostly high poverty students. Its English learners demonstrated reading achievement gains from 50% to 80%. These gains have been maintained for four years to date.

    All three Regie Routman in Residence projects emphasize making learning relevant and meaningful. Well-known language acquisition experts David and Yvonne Freeman emphasize that it is essential that English learners see reading and writing as meaning-making processes. This is especially important as students explore language patterns different from those in their native language. Both Stephen Krashen and the Freemans underscore the importance of extensive reading in appropriate texts. Since each Regie Routman in Residence program engages teachers in turning over responsibility to students, teachers see the importance in and necessity for student engagement. That students read and write a lot is a foundational concept of Regie Routman in Residence.

    Finally, as teachers feel more confident about teaching all students, they rediscover the joy and pleasure in their teaching lives. Students, too, have a renewed commitment to learning as their learning becomes more meaningful and relevant. Educators are reminded throughout the year that stopping to celebrate success is a key ingredient in capacity and community building.

Funding Sources for RRIR

  1. What are the costs and benefits of Regie Routman in Residence?

    Regie Routman in Residence is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial professional development programs available. Each of its three professional development projects costs less than $100 per person. These yearlong projects are expertly designed and offer the flexibility schools need for implementation.

    While 30–35 teachers is the recommended maximum size for a group, all three projects come with flexibility in packaging. Since each teacher receives the Professional Development Notebook, the projects may be ordered with 20, 25, 30, or 35 Professional Development Notebooks to meet the individual needs of schools. When only one or two additional notebooks are needed, individual notebooks are also available.

    A major cost advantage of Regie Routman in Residence is that, unlike a one-day workshop, its components not only include materials for leaders and teachers, but also provide the resources and follow-up to support classroom implementation. School-change experts agree that developing shared knowledge and beliefs facilitates and sustains change most effectively. Regie Routman in Residence builds community within the school or district and creates a critical mass through wide engagement, supporting your professional development goals at no additional cost long after its initial implementation.

    Best of all, because Regie Routman in Residence is so economical, schools may be able to enhance its effects by freeing up additional funding opportunities for professional and teaching resources that continue the conversations it has begun.

  2. What kinds of federal funding might be used to support Regie Routman in Residence?

    The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) provides funds to states and districts to increase the quality of teaching in order to raise student achievement. Funds are provided through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Both Title I, Part A and Title II, Part A, provide financial assistance to districts and schools with high poverty to help children meet challenging state academic standards. A 2007 survey reported an increase in districts using Title II, Part A, funds for the professional development of teachers rather than applying it to the reduction of class size. While decreasing class size is often a temporary solution in increasing student performance, research suggests that when teachers are provided with professional development opportunities, the long-term effects are more robust. Schools and districts eligible for Title I, Part B (Reading First), may also use its funding to assist teachers in acquiring effective strategies and best practices in the teaching of reading.

    Title III is another possible funding source. Title III assists schools and districts in increasing their capacity to serve low-income students by improving and strengthening academic quality.

    Finally, Title V may also be used to develop and implement education programs that are focused on improving school, student, and teacher performance. The funds may be directed toward the support of professional development activities that result in enhanced student performance.

  3. What other kinds of funding might be used to support Regie Routman in Residence?

    Often local parent groups, such as PTA and PTO, wish to invest in the ongoing quality of students’ education. Partnering with these groups to secure funding is an excellent way to build capacity within a school or district. Because of the unique nature of all three of Regie Routman in Residence's professional development projects, parent groups are able to tailor their investment to grow teachers’ expertise in a specific area. Such an investment pays enormous dividends in students’ learning and achievement for years to come. Not only does their funding result in enhanced student performance, it also communicates to staff members that they are valued and respected.

    Many competitive and non-competitive grants are also excellent matches for Regie Routman in Residence. Because research suggests that high-quality, embedded, and ongoing professional development is the surest way to enhance student learning and achievement, the three programs offer a thoughtful answer to the rationale requirements of many such grants. Furthermore, grants often include a focus on leadership. Because Regie Routman in Residence offers a high level of support for leaders and leadership teams, it makes building a professional learning community and providing high-quality sessions attainable.

  4. Why might a district or school invest local funds for Regie Routman in Residence?

    It has been suggested that a sound theory, which links ideas in a way that make sense, is crucial to improving an organization and its environment (Fullan, Wilson). The three professional development projects that make up Regie Routman in Residence capture the essence of that idea. Each is designed around the simple idea that when local leaders invest resources in ongoing community- and expertise-building programs in their schools and districts, learning and achievement increase. Furthermore, the joy and excitement in teaching returns. As the profession attempts to find ways to address teacher retention, many would attest to the power of creating cultures in which teachers feel equally valued and challenged. Regie Routman in Residence offers a unique opportunity to invest in the performance of both students and teachers.

Using RRIR for Title I

  1. How would a Title I school use Regie Routman in Residence to improve academic achievement?

    Title I ensures that all students have the opportunity to get a high-quality education. Since Regie Routman in Residence is a unique, groundbreaking approach to raising schoolwide literacy achievement, it is a powerful way for schools and districts to close achievement gaps and raise expectations for all students.

    Often schools with high poverty are faced with high rates of staff turnover. With a diversity of experience and expertise, it is often challenging to meet the individual needs of teachers. Since one of the purposes of Title I is to ensure that teacher preparation and training occur, all three Regie Routman in Residence projects offer Title I schools a systematic and thorough means for meeting Title I requirements. They also address the unique staff development needs within a school or district. All three programs emphasize the importance of professional learning and professional conversation in a way that builds expertise and unites a staff through common goals and beliefs. Creating a knowledgeable and collegial staff is an essential ingredient in increasing academic excellence, particularly in high-poverty schools.

  2. What qualities make Regie Routman in Residence well suited for Title I schools?

    Since providing children with an enriched and accelerated educational program is a goal of Title I, a project like Regie Routman in Residence, which immerses the staff of high-poverty schools in substantial and comprehensive professional development, is not only an answer to compliance, but also the surest method to improved student performance. After reviewing their literacy achievement data, the leadership team is encouraged to review data to decide on a specific focus for school improvement. Once a specific focus is identified, school or district leaders have three choices: Reading/Writing Connections, Writing for Audience and Purpose, and Reading to Understand. All address literacy, which is generally the greatest need high-poverty schools and districts have, and are designed to transform teaching in a supportive and efficient way.

  3. What has been the impact on Title I schools where Regie Routman in Residence has been implemented?

    One of the greatest changes has been in raising expectations and results for what’s possible for ALL students. In many Title I schools, teaching and learning typically move at a slow pace and are broken up into bits and pieces. Teachers who implement the instructional ideas in Regie Routman in Residence learn how to accelerate learning through meaning-based, authentic, culturally relevant teaching that follows a whole-part-whole philosophy.

    Title I schools often see a great deal of staff turnover from year to year. Regie Routman in Residence make it easier for new teachers and principals to get on board with a school’s instructional beliefs and to become instructional leaders. By changing the culture of a school gradually, it supports teach retention.

  4. How is Regie Routman in Residence used in schools to increase teacher expertise?

    Each of the three Regie Routman in Residence projects increases expertise through yearlong professional development that is replicable, sustainable, manageable, and affordable. Regie designed the materials and leadership resources to replicate the high-quality professional development she created through her on-site residencies. They are highly supportive and are all aimed at the goal of increasing teacher expertise.

    Because of the comprehensive nature of Regie Routman in Residence, the potential for sustainability is increased. Regie designed it to provide participants with multiple entry points and multiple ways to learn. Each component has a specific function that builds expertise:

    • The Getting Started Guide helps the school leadership and facilitator create professional learning goals and set a tone for a high-quality professional development experience.
    • Session Facilitator Guides offer specific guidance that helps focus the work in each session on topics that improve teacher expertise.
    • Professional Development Notebooks are specially designed to help participants get the most from each session.
    • The Videos' video segments are the core of the program. They model outstanding instruction that teachers can take back to their classrooms—on them Regie works in classrooms with racial, ethnic, linguistic, and socio-economic diversity.
    • www.regieroutman.com is constantly evolving and includes downloadable resources for learning, more video for further study, and opportunities to interact with Regie to find out more about exemplary teaching.

    Together these components help meet the minimum teacher expertise requirement for Title I. But Regie Routman in Residence also encourages community and discussion, which further support an increase in teacher expertise as ideas and successes are traded in collegial conversation.

    Regie Routman in Residence is also unique in its approach to professional development. It is designed to offer school leaders materials that allow them to feel confident in facilitating whole-school professional development. This confidence is passed on to participants and makes them more willing to give their full commitment. All materials are organized for busy school leaders to manage easily, and sessions can be customized to meet a school’s specific needs by using materials available at www.regieroutman.com.

    Best of all Regie Routman in Residence raises teacher expertise across a school or district by making it more affordable and, therefore, available to more teachers. Each of its three yearlong projects costs less than $100 per participant. They offer schools a reasonable way to invest in building their entire staff’s capacity. Group sizes of 20–35 teachers are recommended, and each project has ordering options for 20, 25, 30, and 35 participants.

  5. Has Regie Routman in Residence been used in Title I schools?

    Regie Routman has been piloting the program for the past four years in high-poverty schools in Colorado, Arizona, and Washington state. In fact, many of the videos show Title I classrooms. Schools using this high-quality approach to professional development have seen up to 30% increases in their students’ reading performance on state tests.

    Because Regie Routman in Residence is an investment in growing the expertise of teachers, gains are sustained. School reform experts (Fullan, Hargreaves) suggest that the best approach to increased student performance—a mandate for continued Title I funding—is an embedded professional development approach in which participants apply what they are learning in their own classrooms. Which is exactly what Regie Routman in Residence delivers. Each program is highly supportive, and participants work together to implement best practices in their own classrooms. As expertise grows among the staff, they redistribute it to colleagues, forming an authentic professional learning community.

  6. What are the benefits for Title I schools?

    While increased student achievement is certainly the most tangible benefit, there are others. Working in high-poverty schools is often challenging and fatiguing. One of the greatest benefits schools that have used Regie Routman in Residence have witnessed is an increased enjoyment in teaching. Staff members are energized when they join with others to learn and apply new theories and practices. The videos offer teachers the opportunities to see Regie in action. Having demonstrations is both confidence building and clarifying. Just as each of the projects is built upon using the optimal learning model, which moves from high support to scaffolding to independent use by students, teachers and administrators find the same support built into their own yearlong study.

Using RRIR for RTI

  1. How does Regie Routman in Residence support Response to Intervention?

    Response to Intervention (RTI), a new federal initiative, was created during the recent reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The intent of RTI is to reduce the number of students who are classified with disabilities. In fact, RTI is a general-education initiative that is funded, in part, through special education funds.

    Regie Routman in Residence provides an excellent professional development answer to accomplishing the reduction of students needing special services. Because students who have access to good first teaching in the regular classroom are far less likely to need special education, both the school and district are better able to allocate both human and financial resources to the small percentage of students who need more intensive support. An added benefit is that fewer and fewer students have to leave the teachers who know them best and the supportive environment of their classrooms.

  2. How does Regie Routman in Residence help schools meet the demands of the suggested RTI initiative program design?

    The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (2007) suggests that schools and districts use a three-tiered model. The content students in Tier I are best served in the regular classroom, where teachers provide the necessary interventions, such as small group or one-to-one instruction planned to address students' individual needs. The guidelines suggest that students in Tier II have access to targeted, small-group interventions. The comprehensiveness of the Regie Routman in Residence projects support teachers in serving students in both Tier I and Tier II. Through their study and application into practice, teachers learn how to differentiate instruction to support all their students in every subject area. The projects' components offer rich resources for building teacher expertise.

  3. What aspects of Regie Routman in Residence directly address the goals of RTI?

    One of goals of RTI is to provide students with instruction expertly designed to meet individual needs. Since schools are guided in each of the three projects to examine both formal and informal data, Regie Routman in Residence reflects this principle as it urges teachers to carefully focus their instruction to accelerate student learning. Furthermore, Regie Routman in Residence is organized around the optimal learning model, a research-based design that supports students' transition to successful, independent learning.

    Teachers are encouraged to begin with intentional teaching and a high level of support before releasing responsibility to students and holding them accountable for applying new learning. This high level of support is especially important for struggling students who must make multiple years growth in one year. One of the most important reasons to look to Regie Routman in Residence as an answer for designing and supporting RTI is Regie's many years of teaching experience working with struggling readers and writers. In fact, many of the classroom scenes teachers will view include many special needs students finding success through Regie's teaching.

  4. What other ways does Regie Routman in Residence support the implementation of RTI?

    Regie Routman in Residence guides school leaders in the building of a strong community of teachers who meet regularly to learn and solve common problems. This is especially important for RTI, where ongoing professional development is the key to ensuring high-quality instruction for students who are experiencing difficulty. Instead of one-size-fits-all approaches, teachers will learn how to teach with intentionality and use continuous assessment to evaluate how well their instruction is working. Because it is a regular-education initiative, teachers may feel challenged by RTI's expectation that they support struggling learners within their classrooms. But teachers who participate in one or more of the Regie Routman in Residence projects will meet these instructional demands with a sense of efficacy. Not only will they learn ways to enhance their teaching, they will also find a joy in meeting the needs of diverse learners.

Creating Strong Leadership

  1. How can Regie Routman in Residence be used to support the creation of strong school and district leaders?

    Regie Routman in Residence has come at an opportune time. Never has there been a more important time to support the growth of strong school and district leaders. With the demands of No Child Left Behind and the shortage of principals, leadership is one of the greatest challenges facing our educational system. The number of principal openings is expected to only grow in coming years. Both urban and rural districts face the greatest challenge as they serve large numbers of students living in high poverty, and the most challenged schools often have the least experienced leaders. Regie Routman in Residence offers a lifeline to both district and campus leaders by offering support that helps principals facilitate their staffs' professional development, as they deepen their own understanding of literacy and the optimal teaching model.

    The projects build on the principles and practices that experts such as Fullan, Hargreaves, and Reeves suggest are crucial for building strong programs and facilitating school change. As a result of initiating Regie Routman in Residence, principals learn to become more effective instructional leaders. Specifically, principals learn how to raise expectations and achievement, what to look for in classrooms, how to coach teachers, and how to accelerate and sustain learning. Each project is a carefully designed yearlong plan for embedded professional development designed to transform teaching.

  2. How does Regie Routman in Residence promote and support the qualities necessary for strong leadership?

    Because of the changing nature of the principalship, school leaders are required to provide curriculum and teaching direction as well as meet the organizational demands associated with efficiently running a building. Furthermore, they must support student and adult learning. When classroom instruction is weak or when there are large numbers of alternatively certified teachers, their jobs become even more complex. Regie Routman in Residence provides the support a principal needs to enhance the capacity of teachers. Richard Elmore (2000) sums up the complex challenges principals face: "The job of administrative leaders is primarily about enhancing the skills and knowledge of the people in the organization, creating a common culture of expectations around the use of those skills and knowledge, holding the various pieces of the organization together in a productive relationship with each other, and holding individuals accountable for their contributions to the collective results." What better way to meet those demands that an expertly and thoughtfully designed yearlong professional development. The three Regie Routman in Residence projects allow a school or district leader to select the project that best meets their needs and lead teachers as they learn together.

  3. How does Regie Routman in Residence embed the hallmarks of high-quality professional development?

    Regie Routman in Residence supports the attributes of high-quality professional development presented in research from the National Staff Development Council:

    • a focus on student learning and the specific problems practitioners face
    • an emphasis on and sustained opportunities for group work and collaboration among teachers
    • a direct link with day-to-day work in real schools and classrooms
    • a consistency of focus over time
    • the use of feedback from teaching and learning to inform program development and evaluation.

    Regie Routman in Residence is focused on helping teachers and principals meet the problems of practice in thoughtful and research-based ways. It allows leaders to customize professional development according to both campus and district needs. The design of each of its three projects emphasizes the importance of teachers applying their new learning immediately in the classroom. Teachers and administrators learn how to create a supportive learning community that fosters collaboration and instructional refinement. Over time, schools that have used Regie Routman in Residence find that their programs reflect coherence and consistency in teaching and student learning. Furthermore, teachers feel a renewed sense of commitment to one another and their students.


  1. Is there research for Regie Routman in Residence?

    Click here to view research.

  2. How does Regie Routman in Residence stack up against the latest research on effective professional development?

    While just about everyone agrees that the teacher is the most important factor in student achievement, many educators do not know what effective teaching and assessment look like and sound like in everyday practice. On-site, ongoing, informed professional conversations and study with colleagues over time are a necessity for whole-school achievement (Fullan, Hargreaves, Routman, Barth, Darling-Hammond), as are going beyond hearing and talking about strategies and "best practices" to applying them in the classroom (Joyce and Showers). In Regie Routman in Residence teachers will:

    • discuss and try out the effective practices they have seen on its videos
    • learn to apply a gradual release of responsibility model (Pearson and Gallagher, Cambourne)—known as the Optimal Learning Model—to all teaching
    • collaboratively plan, analyze, and revise their lessons by reviewing detailed charts that recreate the teaching, assessing, and language from the videos
    • continuously and actively engage as learners.

  3. Where can I find information about the research support for Regie Routman in Residence so I can share it with colleagues?

    Each project has been developed on a strong research foundation including the work of Richard Allington, Nell Duke, Don Holdaway, Lev Vygotsky, Gordon Wells, and many others. Their research indicates that when students are explicitly taught reading and writing skills and strategies through authentic literacy activities and whole meaningful texts in social contexts, they are most likely to engage in learning, to apply and transfer what they learn, and to make the greatest achievement gains. Regie Routman in Residence also draws on the decades of research on reading comprehension (Pearson, Taylor, Clay, Allington, Anderson, Krashen); writing (Graves, Hillocks, Magrath, Murray, Atwell, Dickinson, Elbow); the power of the reading-writing connection (Cotton, Duke, Pearson, Heller, Pinnell, Stead); and English language learners and learners who struggle (Collins, Cummins, Flood, Freeman and Freeman, Knapp, Langer, Thomas, and Collier). The necessity of rich, ongoing professional conversations to gain and sustain high schoolwide achievement is supported by Moffett, Barth, Shields, Knapp, and others. For full research citations and background, please see Research Support on www.regieroutman.com.

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