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In order to systemically improve student achievement in elementary literacy, a large urban school district partnered with a local university to develop a model for high-quality professional development that hopefully would result in long-term changes in teachers’ literacy instructional/practices. Schools were selected based on their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in reading/language arts’ status. The resulting literacy academy provided approximately 150 hours of professional development over time through two semesters of graduate level course work; 60 hours of it job-embedded. The Literacy Academy was based on a capacity-building model to build teacher knowledge and expertise in reading instruction, specifically in the areas of classroom assessment and use of student data to inform instruction; effective teaching methods in such areas as phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension, fluency, vocabulary development, and writing; adapting instruction for students having special needs; and family involvement techniques. Weekly literacy coaching supported the translation of the new learning into practice. A mixed method design was used in this study and the results of this work are presented.

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