Episode One: Sue Sears: In this episode, I had the honor to speak with Sue Sears, Professor of Special Education at California State University, Northridge. During our chat, Dr. Sears underscores the fact that great instruction works! She also unpacks her wisdom regarding adolescent literacy, the powerful impact the CALI Reads program is having on teams of teachers involved in the grant as they work to move the needle for middle school students struggling with reading. Dr. Sears also highlights the transformative tool WordBuilder, which she and her team worked to design with the unique needs of struggling students in mind. It was a privilege to pick her brain and you will be truly riveted by her work, experience, and impact in the area of adolescent literacy.
Episode Two: Lindsey Young: In this episode, I had the honor to speak with Lindsay young, instructional coach, teacher, and leader in the Los Angeles Unified School District. During our discussion, Mrs. Young shared the details of her impressive devotion to serving students with special needs and her work with WordBuilder. I had previously had the privilege to see Mrs. Young teach, and was thus eager to pick her brain about how she was able to achieve such remarkable clarity in her high-impact reading instruction. It was also so wonderful to dig deeper into her work with CALI Reads and her use of the WordBuilder app. I had a blast listening to her wisdom and her reminder that in our work with students we must always praise effort, not expertise.
Episode Three: Deborah Reed: In this episode, I had the honor to speak with Deborah Reed, who currently directs the Iowa Reading Research Center at the University of Iowa. Her research interests include literacy instruction, intervention, and assessment. I have long admired Dr. Reed through her leadership in the CALI Reads grant. During our chat, I was deeply touched by her story about her student Kurt. She states that every teacher has a Kurt and I was reminded of mine. Through our discussion, she unpacks a number of critical aspects of how to effectuate powerful change in adolescent literacy. As usual, I left our time together truly inspired.
Episode Four: Jennifer Coffey
I had the great privilege of speaking with Dr. Jennifer Coffey who is an Education Program Specialist in the Office of Special Education Programs in the US Department of Education. During our conversation, we looked at the CALI Reads’ goal of improving reading outcomes for struggling adolescent readers through the lens of implementation science. Dr. Coffey shed incredible insight on critical and common factors that can disrupt the continuity and impact of instructional and leadership best-practices. She also offers powerful solutions for anyone hoping to improve outcomes for all students.
Episode Five: Arash Daneshzadeh
In episode five, Dr. Arash Daneshzadeh unpacks the transformative and overlapping opportunities between reciprocal teaching, youth leadership models, restorative project-based learning, and culturally sustainable teaching. Dr. Arash Daneshzadeh, Ed.D., is a transformative, trauma-informed educator, scholar, and leader. He currently teaches in the Graduate School of Education at the University of San Francisco and as faculty in the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Penitentiary. Dr. Daneshzadeh is Editor-in-Chief of The Transformative Justice Journal, National Chair for Save the Kids from Incarceration, and co-editor of Understanding, Dismantling, and Disrupting the Prison-to-School Pipeline. Dr. Daneshzadeh specializes in Tier 1 Project-Based Restorative Practices, Results-Oriented Cycles of Inquiry (ROCI) trainings, Multicultural/Raciolinguistic Education for all K12 Subjects, Ethnomathematics for conscious teachers, amongst numerous other equity-driven practices.