from Executive Director, Billy Molasso
The world changes every day, but some days, we are unable to get our arms around how fast it is changing. The past few weeks are no exception. Each of us is simultaneously working through alternatives for our kiddos and school communities, expectations and changing needs at home, and the inherent cognitive overload of processing the circumstances that are touching every aspect of our lives.
I am the “new” leader of an incredible organization, one that is coping with its own transformation. Our members each have different timelines, expectations, and directives depending on where they are—and these members look to us and other members for help in thinking about possibilities. I am a father of twin boys who have suddenly found themselves outside of the structure, deep learning, and friendship networks of their school community. I’m also a friend, son, colleague, and citizen. But in all of those many roles, I know that we are in this together.
And our Reading Recovery Community is wide enough and strong enough to help each other through this unprecedented situation. We can do this, together.
Our University Training Centers and Regional Institutes have moved quickly to provide support based on unique regional needs. I’d like to thank our trainers, teacher leaders, and teachers who have taken the lead and helped facilitate idea sharing and problem solving as we made the initial transitions out of our buildings and to the homes of both school professionals and each student. Most of us had little notice and big expectations! And that’s not even including the expectations we set on ourselves to do more, be our best, and help the struggling readers who will be disproportionately impacted by this situation.
RRCNA has played a quieter, supporting role in the initial days of the transition so that our trainers can facilitate the direct problem-solving necessary in this transition. As we move forward, leaders in the Reading Recovery Community plan to identify strategies that will help normalize our new ways of being, keep connections with each other, and address those specific needs that you identify would be helpful. A couple of minor notes as we move forward:
- This week, we made the decision to close our headquarters office in Columbus, OH, and we have asked staff to work remotely until further notice. We are still able to deliver books and resources that you order, for now (we anticipate that there will be a period of time in which we are unable to process those orders). If you call our number or send an email, we will be here (although it may take us a smidge longer to reply)! Please let us know what we can do to be helpful.
- The RRCNA Executive Committee met earlier this week to begin to chart out how we will identify and intentionally create structures that will support our members over the long haul. This new way of being will be with us for some time. What we build to help you with your work in these circumstances needs to actually be helpful to you.
- Trainers will be gathering in a multi-day virtual retreat next week to talk about the ongoing work of Reading Recovery, and to problem-solve together many of those issues confronting our teachers and teacher leaders. I would encourage you to clearly share your initial needs with your trainers if you have not already done so.
- Wider Access to Resources. As educational professionals, we know that we always look for documents, videos or other educational resources to enhance our own personal professional development. Given the change in schedules many of us in the educational community are facing, RRCNA is opening access to our resources to non-members through this crisis. This will allow our friends and family to access our resources as they identify issues, solve problems, and enhance their own professional development. Sign up for a guest membership to access the many things we have available for our members:
Please note, if you are an expired member, you may reinstate your membership at the Guest level by clicking HERE.
On the best of days, helping struggling readers learn critical literacy skills is a challenge. Finding the right strategy that allows our students to have that moment of “ah-hah” about reading and writing, looking for resources to engage in professional development or buy supplies you need for your students, working with parents and others in our school communities who have so much to learn about literacy learning. These are daily struggles for us. But in the end, the most important thing is that we continue to help our struggling readers get back on course as best as we are able so that they can benefit from a lifetime love of reading and writing.
I believe the Reading Recovery community represents one of the strongest, most passionate, and focused communities of any that I have been affiliated with. Reach out to your colleagues. Look for support and ideas from each other. Together, we can help each other and our struggling readers.