Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) is an award-winning national 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on strengthening early education in the United States. Founded in Philadelphia in 1988, we are an anti-racist organization whose mission is to work with early childhood through fifth-grade educators to transform care and instruction so that children can become powerful readers, writers, and thinkers.
During the 2018-19 school year, we served nearly 5,000 educators and 94,480 children located in more than 300 schools and early childhood education centers across the country, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, and Chicago.
What is it like to partner with us?
Children’s Literacy Initiative is an organization of teachers, and we believe deeply in teachers. Just like the educators with which we partner, since its founding, Children’s Literacy Initiative has remained committed to helping children become strong readers, writers, and thinkers. Center leaders and teachers possess the knowledge, skills, and drive that transforms children into life-long learners.
To enhance children’s learning, our Theory of Change asserts that center leaders and teachers need ongoing, structured professional development combined with high-quality curriculum, coaching and support, and classroom materials for children.
Through the ECSO initiative, CLI will provide a comprehensive and cohesive approach to coaching and training early childhood center leaders and educators. CLI’s proven model includes a programmatic approach for the whole center to transform early learning.
As partners, we will implement:
- Collaborative, embedded professional learning
- Build staff capacity and content knowledge
- Blueprint for Early Learning: A Comprehensive
Our gradual release model will deliver coaching and training to center leaders and educators via one-on-one and small group coaching, delivered both on-site and virtually, with professional learning community activities scheduled for center leaders. We will engage and guide center leaders in utilizing a Content-Focused Coaching (CFC) Model, where coaches work individually or with groups of educators to design, implement and reflect on standards-based lessons that promote children’s learning.
We work closely with center leaders to build on their knowledge and ability to effectively run an early education and care center that supports strong educators and the emotional and academic development of children. We help teachers develop their capacity, helping them to identify strengths and areas of need.
By the end of the project, center leaders will be able to sustain the work as a model of continuous improvement and high-quality childcare as outlined in the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS).
The table below provides an overview of the short, mid, and long-term outcomes from our work:
A CLI Coach works 1:1 with individual educators in the Content-Focused Coaching Model. In a pre-conference, teacher and coach discuss goals for children, implementation plans for individual lessons, activities, and high-quality interactions utilizing the core issues in effective lesson design. Coaching conversations focus on the content and context of the lesson, children’s prior knowledge, lesson implementation, evidence of understanding and learning, and collaboration in a learning community. During the lesson, activity, or high-quality interactions, coach and teacher negotiate support levels. In a true gradual release of responsibility, you may see the coach modeling, co-teaching side by side with the teacher, or a teacher-led lesson. In conclusion of the cycle, the coach and teacher meet for a post conference. This provides the partnership an opportunity to debrief, celebrate successes, discuss areas to strengthen, and set explicit next steps to move forward.
Never leave us. We benefit so much from our coaches. [Our district] does not offer professional developments like in the past. Therefore, having someone coach you through skills and strategies that you struggle with as an educator is so much more beneficial and rewarding especially seeing the results in your students’ academic success.”
I love and appreciate CLI for everything they provide to colleagues and I. We truly are grateful for the experiences and guidance and it shows through our students. That one on one time has been enlightening, refreshing and motivating.”
Who do we work with?
CLI has expertise to serve a range of center types, program levels, and age ranges. CLI anticipates partnering with center-based programs in private child care, public schools, and head starts. Here are some baseline requirements for participation:
- Serve a high percentage of high needs children, defined as a program that consists of at least 25% of enrolled children are those who receive any subsidized care through EEC. All Head Start programs are eligible.
- Demonstrate readiness to engage in the quality improvement process and participate in support services provided by CLI.
- Eagerness to adopt a new PK Curriculum
- Willingness to engage in a dynamic partnership that fosters collaboration, continuous growth, and keeps children at the forefront.