Advancing Literacy

September 11, 2023

Dear KLSD Community,

As you may be aware, for many years, the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) has been a partner in our comprehensive approach to literacy instruction in our elementary and middle schools.  

Last week, we learned that TCRWP as an entity has dissolved, and a new initiative called Advancing Literacy has formed. Advancing Literacy retains many of the strengths of TCRWP, while also broadening and deepening its relationship with Columbia University, its professors, and its research. The newly named initiative maintains a commitment to advancing literacy instruction in line with best practices and research. Lucy Calkins, the longtime director of TCRWP, is not affiliated with Advancing Literacy.

Thanks to our highly skilled teachers and the comprehensive literacy program we already offer, we don’t anticipate any abrupt changes in our classroom practice resulting from this news. Advancing Literacy is committed to supporting best instruction around the five pillars of any comprehensive and effective literacy program: Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension. We will continue to have regular visits from outstanding literacy staff developers who will support our teachers. We remain committed to best practices and continual improvement.

We have already met with Mary Ehrenworth and Emily Butler Smith, the director and deputy director of Advancing Literacy. We wanted to be sure the new organization is maintaining the same commitment to supporting us as we continue pursuing the best literacy outcomes for all students. We came away from this meeting confident that Advancing Literacy will support us well as we move forward.

You can read here a short statement from Advancing Literacy about this transition. And as we learn more, we’ll certainly keep you posted. For now, we hope your family is having a great start to the school year.


Julia Drake, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

Andrew Selesnick, Superintendent of Schools