Groves Literacy Partnerships
The vision of Groves Academy is to redefine the way our nation is taught, one student, one teacher, and one school at a time. Literacy Partnerships through Groves Academy enable us to share our evidence-based teaching methods from our school to advance literacy instruction with other teachers and schools in the community. We work with teachers in partner schools to ensure all students receive literacy instruction based on the science of reading.
"We believe we have a moral obligation to democratize good literacy instruction for all students in our community and nation."
The Groves Literacy Framework®
The Groves Literacy Framework, which was developed at Groves Academy, uses an Orton-Gillingham-based curriculum and is rooted in decades of literacy and brain research. Students who receive Groves literacy instruction at our school can advance over two grade levels in reading during the first year of instruction. The success of struggling readers in our school inspired us to establish Literacy Partnerships in 2016 to help advance literacy instruction in other schools.
The Impact of Literacy Partnerships
Groves began the first literacy partnerships during the 2016-17 school year with two public charter schools and 16 classrooms in Minneapolis serving 350 students. During the 2019-20 school year, the program has grown to 30 schools and 179 classrooms, serving over 3,400 students in public and independent schools in the Twin Cities metro area.
Nearly all of the funding required to serve our literacy partnership schools is generated through philanthropy.
School Literacy Partnerships
Our school literacy partnership process begins by meeting with interested school administrators, then teachers in their school. Teachers are asked to vote if they wish to adopt a partnership program in their school, which includes 30 minutes of weekly literacy coaching in each classroom. We move forward to the next steps if we have at least 90% commitment from the teaching staff.
School partnerships begin each fall and typically last for three years, with the goal to make each school site self-sufficient by certifying an onsite literacy coach in the building.
Schools have the best chances for success when six criteria are met:
● Strong school leadership that supports the teachers, Groves literacy coaches, and overall program
● Teacher commitment to the Groves Literacy Framework and its implementation
● A building-wide commitment to fidelity of the Groves literacy program
● Sufficient time allocated to daily literacy instruction
● Appropriate grouping of students based on assessment data
● Flexibility in classroom scheduling to accommodate weekly coaching visits
In the first year, PreK-2nd grade teachers begin the implementation, with third grade joining in year two along with intervention for struggling readers. In year three, a dedicated coach from the school staff is identified and trained by Groves staff to make the program sustainable. Each year, oral reading fluency data is collected in the fall, winter, and spring to identify high and moderate risk students and track program progress. Groves literacy coaches assist in the interpretation of the data, student groupings, and intervention planning.
Meet Our Groves Literacy Partnerships Team
Katharine Campbell, Director of Groves Literacy Partnerships
B.S., Denver University
M.S.Ed., Portland State University
Katharine is an experienced educator, trainer, literacy coach, and speaker. Prior to joining Groves in 2016, Katharine had her own company and provided teacher training and Response to Intervention modeling to school districts locally and nationally. Katharine began her career in the classroom, helping struggling readers improve their reading skills.
Steve Hall, Product Manager
B.A., St. Cloud State University
M.B.A., Thunderbird School of Global Management
K-5 Teaching Credential, San Francisco State University
Steve manages program development, curriculum, and assessment data for Literacy Partnerships. Prior to joining Groves in 2015, he worked in marketing on brands including Braun, Oral-B, LeapFrog, and University of Phoenix. Steve also taught elementary school in San Francisco Unified School District where he would have benefited from literacy coaching.
Cheryl Alexander, Literacy Coach
B.S.N., R.N., University of Vermont
M.A., Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (Special Ed and Teacher Licensure)
Cheryl has been trained in Orton Gillingham methodology. She joined Groves in 2006, and has worked as classroom teacher, an RTI specialist, a summer school instructor and a school nurse. Prior to Groves, Cheryl taught reading at schools in Vermont and California to struggling readers and students with dyslexia. She cannot imagine working in a more important role, supporting fellow teachers in teaching foundational literacy skills to their deserving students.
Heidi Alford, Literacy Coach
B.A., University of Northern Iowa
M.A., St. Catherine University
K-12 Reading License, Hamline University
Prior to joining Groves Academy, Heidi taught for 14 years at urban and suburban schools in the Twin Cities area. She has experience as a reading intervention teacher, K-3 classroom teacher, and elementary French immersion teacher.
Brigid Berger, Literacy Coach
B.A., Drake University
M.A., Hamline University
Before joining Groves, Brigid was an elementary classroom teacher for 13 years and developed a PreK-2nd grade art and STEM class. Brigid has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education, and a Masters of Literacy Education.
Maggie Rowan, Literacy Coach
B.S., College of St. Scholastica
M.Ed., Capella University
As a literacy coach, Maggie serves schools throughout the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota. Prior to coming to Groves, Maggie worked at a variety of charter and public schools throughout Minnesota. She has been a curriculum coordinator, a classroom teacher, and an interventionist in math and reading. Maggie started her career following her love of books, working as a media specialist in public schools in Duluth. She loves sharing the science of reading with other teachers and helping them be successful.
Jennifer Thomas, Literacy Coach
B.S., Kansas State University
M.S, California State University, East Bay
Certified Academic Language Therapist
Jennifer has experience teaching general education in first grade through fifth grade, and has worked as a dyslexia specialist with middle school students. Prior to joining Groves in 2018, she taught in Kansas, Georgia, California, and Texas. Jennifer has a passion for advancing teacher knowledge in the area of literacy instruction, and believes all students can learn to read when we equip their teachers with evidence-based instructional practices.
John Alexander, Literacy Advisor
M.Ed., Harvard University
John served as head of school at Groves Academy from 2005 until 2018. Prior to coming to Groves, he was head of The Greenwood School, a boarding school for boys diagnosed with dyslexia. He also headed The Chartwell School, a K-8 school for dyslexic students in Seaside, California. John has taught graduate-level classes in the structures of language and in diagnostic-prescriptive teaching, and has given a number of talks at local, state, and national conferences. He recently served on the Minnesota Board of Teaching’s State Reading Task Force and was instrumental in the creation of new reading rules to better prepare teachers to teach literacy skills to struggling and emerging readers.
Interested in Learning More?
We want to hear from you. New literacy partnership discussions can begin anytime. However, the planning process starts in winter and early spring, with signed agreements in place by early May for the following school year.