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Systemic professional development is the most powerful work we offer at Stephanie Harvey Consulting. The cumulative effects of our professional development has a maximum impact upon teaching practices and student performance when our team works side by side with literacy directors, curriculum specialists, teachers, coaches and administrators over time.
Our primary content focus is on comprehension across the curriculum―teaching all our kids to be strategic readers, writers and thinkers in every school discipline. A principle goal is to build capacity in a school or district by working with a full staff spectrum collaboratively and effectively.
Our district-wide literacy initiatives vary by client, but generally include practical literacy workshops, study groups, book studies, classroom demonstrations, coaching sessions and staff development facilitation. Often these districts use the Comprehension Toolkit series as an instructional resource to provide teachers with a framework for instruction and to engage kids in thoughtful reading and learning. Although most of our initiatives include variations on these offerings, we pride ourselves in customizing our work for each individual client. It is paramount that we respond to the specific needs of the kids, teachers and schools within that district. In some of our initiatives, Stephanie is the sole consultant working in the district. In others, consultants from SH Consulting work directly in the schools. Most frequently, both Stephanie and the consultants spend time in the district and work together with district personnel to provide the best possible and most cost-effective literacy staff development.
We hired Stephanie Harvey and her consulting group to begin working with us in 2009/2010. The experience for our teachers in the West Allis/West Milwaukee School District has been amazing. The staff developers are teachers’ teachers who work in classrooms conducting demonstration lessons and facilitating discussions about teaching and learning. They also support teachers to form small flexible groups so that each student’s learning needs can be addressed. After watching the SH staff developers model instruction, our district teachers use Comprehension Toolkits (Harvey and Goudvis 2005) to plan instruction and teach comprehension strategies to their students while the Harvey consultants observe and provide our teachers with meaningful and descriptive feedback to assure fidelity of implementation.
We are now in our second year of working with Stephanie Harvey Consulting. It has been an extraordinary staff development experience for our teachers and it is paying big dividends for all of our students. Working in an urban environment brings many challenges, but we have seen growth in all of our students. Our students are reading more, gaining background knowledge and acquiring greater comprehension skills as well as engaging in meaningful discussions throughout the day. The work that our teachers are doing and the results that we are experiencing K-12 is outstanding.
Director of Instruction
West Allis/West Milwaukee School District
"We have been working with Stephanie Harvey for the past 7 years. Many of our teachers struggled to understand what real comprehension instruction looked like. A majority of teachers were merely assessing whether students had comprehended what they had read rather than explicitly teaching students effective ways to make meaning from and comprehend text. Stephanie demonstrated how teachers could not only make students better readers, but better thinkers! Now, our students are much more adept at monitoring their own comprehension and making adjustments through applying different meaning-making tools.
Teachers throughout our district are incorporating the ideas and strategies found in The Comprehension Toolkit. These strategies have encouraged teachers to design instruction that engages students and guides them as they wrestle with difficult concepts that they encounter, particularly as they read informational text. Stephanie has taught our teachers how to model strategies that support students in constructing meaning as they read. Then, using the "Gradual Release of Responsibility" framework, students learn to use these strategies flexibly across a variety of texts and subjects. The result is that our students are becoming more proficient, independent readers!"
Dr. Jeff Stephens
Weber School District
I had the privilege of serving as a language arts director for 21 years in two large Houston school districts: Alief Independent School District and Spring Branch Independent School District. In my work with students, teachers, and literacy coaches, I worked to create robust systems of support. A metaphor I have used often is was one of a campfire. I discovered that gathering and nurturing groups of committed professionals was the key to student success. In Michael Fullan’s book, Leading in a Culture of Change, he suggests that successful performance grows in a culture of care. I determined many years ago that to ensure we have student-centered classrooms, we must support teachers with strong professional development and quality teaching resources. It was no accident that I invited Steph to join the "campfire" and partner with me in both districts to ensure a rich literacy program for the diverse student populations the districts served.
Steph's commitment to quality teaching and learning is strong, sincere, and smart. She invites teachers, just as she does kids, to be thinkers. I have spent many, many days learning from her, alongside kids, teachers, and literacy coaches. The professional learning we planned together occurred not only in a workshop format; it also took place embedded right in the classrooms. How powerful it is for us as educators to see a master teacher working within our schools. I appreciate that Steph serves as a role model for all of us, with an insatiable thirst and commitment to her own learning. It was my privilege to partner with Steph on the journey to build capacity in two districts, and she remains faithful to that work today. Malcolm Gladwell points out that “with the slightest push—in just the right place,” we can create the tipping points that will make a difference. And what an important difference it makes when we offer professional opportunities for teachers who guide our students' learning each day. I remain grateful to Steph for her support to both Alief and Spring Branch teachers and her continued contribution to my own growth.
Judy Wallis, Ed.D.
Former Language Arts Director