2 Brookhaven teachers in first class of Literacy Coach Academy grads

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, June 16, 2024

Two Brookhaven School District teachers are among the 13 educators graduating in the first class of the Literacy Coach Academy of Mississippi. They are Leigh Jackson and Rachel Powell.

The Mississippi Department of Education Division of Literacy conducted a program Tuesday to honor these who received their certificates of completion.

The LCAM is a new professional development program that provides individuals who currently serve or will serve in a coaching role in any school district with the same onboarding coach training as MDE’s literacy coaches. 

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The Literacy-Based Promotion Act requires MDE to hire and train literacy coaches to support teachers and school leaders at literacy support schools — Mississippi public elementary schools in need of reading intervention based on the annual third-grade reading assessment. Some districts hire their own literacy coaches. The MDE created the LCAM in response to the districts’ needs to have literacy coaches who are effectively trained by the MDE Division of Literacy.

The LCAM is a free year-long program designed to prepare K-5 school-based and district-based literacy coaches to support teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators in the implementation of literacy best practices grounded in the Science of Reading. Applicants must meet specific criteria.

“The impact of the Literacy Coach Academy of Mississippi should lead to an increase of highly trained coaches across the state, a more defined coaching role within districts, and a better understanding of evidence-based practices to support student achievement,” said Kristen Wynn, MDE State Literacy Director. “We are unaware of another state offering this type of literacy coach training.”

In addition to Jackson and Powell, other graduates are: Kimberly Bailey, Meridian Public School District; Bernita Barnes, Jackson Public Schools; Kristin Gilmer, Lamar County School District; Leslie Holloway, Pearl Public School District; Marlene Jackson, Laurel School District; Brittany Lyles, Jefferson County School District; Alison Pace, Pass Christian Public School District; Stacie Russell, North Tippah School District; Tia Thompson, Meridian Public School District; Deja Townsend, Columbus Municipal School District; and Kristin Walters, Laurel School District.

Throughout the program, participants gain intensive training of a successful literacy coaching model, receive knowledge building grounded in the SoR, increase capacity in the Structured Literacy approach to support teachers in lesson delivery grounded in SoR, observe and model content to better transfer to their coaching practices, join a cohort of school- and district-based literacy coaches who will serve as a professional learning community, receive actionable feedback and guidance during on-site visits and virtual classes, and earn 5.8 continuing education credits (CEUs) required for Mississippi Educator License recertification.

The first LCAM cohort participants applied to the program by March 2023, and the program began in May 2023. The second LCAM cohort is underway. LCAM cohort three applications will open in January 2025.