Project 1: Ohio's Early Literacy Plan

State Goal

More students with disabilities are proficient or above in reading at grade 3 and more students in PK– grade 3 are on track for literacy.

Long-Term Impact

Overall Outcome: ODE will have the systemic capacity to deliver coaching and early literacy training and enhance coordination and capacity of the regional system to support districts and schools as they work to improve early literacy outcomes of all students.

Primary: Improved human capacity

Secondary: Improved structural capacity

Primary Federal Priority Alignment

Early Learning; Special Education

Capacity-Building Focus

Primary: Professional Learning

Secondary: Policy Development


Ohio’s State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) is a three-phase, multi-year process for improving early literacy outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities. Phase I of the SSIP involved multiple stakeholders and along with a review of state data led to the focus of the SSIP on improving early literacy outcomes. Phase II of the SSIP, submitted to OSEP on April 1, 2016, describes how Ohio is building the capacity of teachers to plan and deliver evidence-based early literacy instruction and interventions. This capacity-building effort was supported by GLCC in Year 4 and continues in Year 5.  

In Year 4, GLCC collaborated with the SSIP core planning team at ODE to design a state support team survey to assess early literacy capacity. There are 16 regional state support teams in the state that provide technical assistance, coaching, and professional learning to districts in their regions to support district improvement, special education, and other services. Results from the state support team survey were instrumental in the decision to hire 12 regional early literacy specialists as well as the selection of the first cohort of 10 districts to be involved in the early literacy initiative. Through guidance and experience of GLCC, ODE adopted a research-based approach to literacy instruction and intervention called LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). GLCC served as a content expert as ODE adopted the LETRS approach to early literacy instruction and intervention. 

In Year 5, GLCC will support the implementation of LETRS in Cohort I and Cohort II districts through the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP), a framework that includes shared leadership structures, such as teacher-based teams, that plan instruction together, deliver the LETRS core instructional practices to students, analyze student data from literacy assessments, and plan interventions for students who are struggling. In ESSA, the OIP will remain the state-supported district and school improvement process. GLCC will provide content expertise as ODE designs training opportunities for regional early literacy specialists and will work with NCSI to build the capacity of literacy specialists to coach district staff. Regional early literacy specialists are responsible for training and coaching internal district facilitators in cohorts one and two districts; these facilitators will coach teacher-based teams and will monitor implementation of LETRS using a Reading Tiered Fidelity Inventory (developed by Michigan). GLCC through its deep experience with the design and implementation of the OIP will serve as a thought partner, tool co-developer, and content expert to develop highly-functional teacher-based teams.   

GLCC’s proposed technical assistance are aligned whenever possible to action steps included in the logic models from the Phase II SSIP Report. The adult performance and student outcomes in the logic models provide a focus for measuring impact of our collaborative work and include short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes. GLCC will utilize existing measurement instruments and assessments described in the Phase II report to measure impact whenever possible. These measures include the Reading Tiered Fidelity Inventory, AIMSweb and DIBELSNext (both early literacy assessments), coaching fidelity tool, and the Third Grade ELA Achievement Test. The Phase III Report is due to OSEP in February 2017 and will include a report on measures of short-term outcomes.

Progress to Date: GLCC…

  • Provided content expertise in the selection and early training design for LETRS.
  • Provided content expertise and ongoing consultation for recently hired regional early literacy specialists.
  • Designed a comprehensive needs assessment of the regional support system in Ohio which provided the data needed to select cohort one districts and hire regional early literacy specialists.  

Research and Resources

Ohio will engage in partnerships with and use resources from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders and the National Center for Systemic Improvement.