Author Archives: Pivot Learning

What’s new at CORE?

What’s new at CORE?

Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education

Free Webinar: Why Phonemic Proficiency is Necessary for All Readers

Webinar Date & Time: Wednesday, September 25 | 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. ET


Most educators have heard that phonemic awareness (PA) is important for reading. However, it is often not clear why. Most readers were never taught PA, yet they are good readers. Some advocates of phonics instruction as well as advocates of balanced literacy downplay the importance of PA for reading instruction. Still other educators are puzzled by the concept of “advanced PA.”

In this free hour long webinar, Dr. David Kilpatrick, author of Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties, will discuss how and why highly developed PA skills (i.e., “phonemic proficiency”) are a characteristic of skilled readers, whether a student is taught it or not. By contrast, struggling readers do not develop these skills without direct intervention.

Join this webinar to learn the key factors that link phonological skills and word-level reading. Register now.

Can’t make the live webinar? No problem! Go ahead and register and we’ll send you a recording to listen to at your convenience.

Check out CORE’s new 3rd edition of the popular Teaching Reading Sourcebook, with content updates and a brand new chapter on MTSS. Assessing Reading: Multiple Measures, 2nd Edition has also been revised with new, clearer test instructions and an easy-to-use format.

CORE is excited to be a reseller of the digiCOACH Advanced Teacher Coaching Platform. They will be integrating digiCOACH into their work with districts and schools to strengthen instructional practice and improve outcomes for all students. Learn more about digiCOACH.

You can learn more about CORE’s approach to professional learning, and gain insights and strategies, in their most recent newsletter and blog post written by CORE President Linda Diamond, A Standards-Aligned Curriculum with Excellent Implementation is Still Not Enough.

Also consider participating in CORE’s Online Elementary Reading Academy, a facilitated online, asynchronous course that starts Jan. 23. The course teaches educators the essential components of reading instruction with clear and explicit models immediately applicable to the classroom.

Check out these on-demand webinars, that you can view at your convenience:

Webinar Date & Time: October 2, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM PT


With just 38% of ACT-tested grads meeting at least 3 of 4 core College Readiness Benchmarks and only 11% of business leaders agreeing that college grads have skills their businesses need, high schools face an increasing challenge to prepare students for college, careers and life.

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and many others across the country, have adopted Linked Learning as a way to create real-world learning experiences that interest, challenge and inspire students, as well as prepare them for a range of options after high school, including 2- and 4-year colleges, apprenticeships and military service.

Join this hour-long webinar with LAUSD, Linked Learning Alliance and Pivot Learning on October 2, 2019, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM PT, to learn about an innovative approach to education that research has shown leads to higher graduation rates and improved college- and career-readiness.


Sources: The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2018, ACT. Higher Education’s Word Preparation Paradox, GALLUP, February 2014.


Robert CurtisRobert Curtis, Ed D
Vice President, Education Programs
Pivot Learning



Dan StorzDan Storz
Senior Director, Products and Services
Linked Learning Alliance



Patricia Hanson
Critical Design and Gaming School (C:\DAGS),
Los Angeles, CA



Matthew Piwowarczyk
Instructional Coach, Critical Design and Gaming School (C:\DAGS),
Los Angeles, CA

Stockton Unified School District partners with nonprofits, Pivot Learning and UnboundEd, to launch new grant-funded curriculum, instruction, and professional learning improvement project

(STOCKTON, CA September 3, 2019) — Stockton Unified School District, with support from partners Pivot Learning, Pivot’s subsidiary CORE¹, and UnboundEd, has embarked on an ambitious plan to implement standards-aligned math and English Language Arts (ELA) curricula in every grade and provide every teacher and school leader with high-quality, multi-year professional learning in curriculum implementation and in addressing racial bias in the classroom.

Said Sonjhia Lowery, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at Stockton, “We are so excited about this partnership with Pivot and UnboundEd. This opportunity directly supports our commitment towards increasing graduation requirements and converting all 7th and 8th grade teachers from multiple subject credentialed to single subject credentialed. We are an organization that is obsessed with adult learning and this project will reap huge rewards with teaching and learning in Stockton.”

Nationally, our education system fails to provide Black and Latino students, English Learner (EL) designated students, and students affected by poverty, with access to high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum. In fact, the evidence² suggests that a high quality curriculum can have large positive impacts on student achievement. We know from the “Opportunity Myth” from TNTP³ and other research that the quality of materials is directly connected to issues of equity – the opportunity in all classrooms to deeply engage with grade-appropriate assignments. Education systems also fail to provide their teachers with the multi-year, job-embedded professional learning that they need to effectively teach their curriculum. As a result, high need student populations experience disproportionate rates of academic failure in math and ELA, limiting their opportunities for college access and success.

Stockton Unified has identified a need to improve student achievement in ELA and math across the entire district as a primary strategy for improving college and career success for their Black and Latino students, EL-designated students, and students affected by poverty. Stockton struggles with low achievement across all subject areas and grade levels – but especially in middle grades mathematics.

Stockton saw the following results on the most recently reported California Assessment for Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP):

  • 68% of 6th grade, 69% of 7th grade, and 78% of 8th grade Black students did
    not meet standards.
  • 85% of 6th grade, 56% of 7th grade, and 62% of 8th grade Latino students did
    not meet standards.
  • 55% of 6th grade, 56% of 7th grade, and 62% of 8th grade students affected by poverty did not meet standards.

Accelerating mathematics achievement in middle school is critical to high school and post-secondary success. Stockton’s UC/CSU eligibility data (the A-G rate) reveals that only 32.3% of Latino students, 22.3% of Black students, 34.1% of students affected by poverty, and 7.6% of EL-designated students complete the necessary coursework to be eligible to apply to a four-year California university.

To improve these outcomes, Stockton Unified has embarked on an ambitious plan. Pivot Learning and UnboundEd have been excited to support Stockton as the district has launched this work over the past six months. In the summer of 2019, Pivot and UnboundEd were thrilled to receive a multi-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to augment this existing partnership with Stockton Unified. Pivot CEO, Arun Ramanathan, shared, “With support from the Gates Foundation, we are excited to partner with Stockton to build systems and provide targeted, embedded professional learning – to elevate the teaching practice of these professionals and improve student achievement.”

“Stockton is ready for the challenge,” UnboundEd CEO Lacey Robinson said. “They have demonstrated a strong desire to learn and refine the skills necessary to help students read and process at grade level and beyond. We are proud to support their learning.”

About Stockton Unified School District:
Our Theory of Instruction is how we believe the art of teaching and learning develops our students. In short, we will act upon a belief that high-quality, rigorous, FIRST instruction is key to our success; Instruction that is all the following:

  • Based in strong and public standards.
  • Infuses the skills and techniques for language learners for all as first instruction and not remediation.
  • Is culturally relevant and engaging.
  • Invites all learners into the act of learning through grade level text and computation as a baseline and not a guideline.
  • Starts with rigorous grade level text and computation and scaffolds to success when necessary.

Stockton Unified’s mission is to graduate every student college, career, and community ready. In doing so we lift all youth out of circumstances of poverty and scarcity.

About Pivot Learning:
Founded in 1995, Pivot Learning is a nonprofit organization of K-12 education experts who work directly with districts to address their biggest challenges, including raising student achievement and closing unconscionably large achievement gaps. We partner with education leaders to provide the knowledge, skills and support proven to strengthen educational systems and transform teaching and learning. In 2017, Pivot Learning acquired our subsidiary, CORE. For the last 25 years, CORE has worked as a trusted advisor to schools across the country. CORE’s customized, multi-year professional learning programs provide the knowledge and skills educators need to implement effective, evidence-based curriculum and instructional practices in literacy and math that result in sustainable academic excellence. Learn more at

About UnboundEd

Founded in April 2015, UnboundEd led the development of EngageNY, one of the country’s most widely-used and highly-rated (by EdReports) K-12 Open Educational Resources in ELA and math. To date, EngageNY has been downloaded nearly 40 million times and used by educators in all 50 states. Established to preserve EngageNY and extend its use by digitizing and adapting it to support struggling students, UnboundEd provides standards-aligned instructional resources and immersive equity focused training for thousands of educators from across the nation through its week long Standards Institute. Held twice a year, the Standards Institute engages participants in best practices in curriculum implementation and educational equity that can be applied to a broad range of instructional materials. Learn more at


¹ Pivot and CORE are one organization and later referred to as Pivot throughout the press release.
² Chingos, Matthew M, and Grover J. Whitehurst. “CHOOSING BLINDLY Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness, and the Common Core.” Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, Apr. 2012, pp. 1–27.
³ “The Opportunity Myth.” TNTP,

In 2017, the Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1 ruling changed the course of special education.

Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how to meet new requirements for special education next year. Take away actionable tips for writing ambitious IEP goals and instructional strategies to help students achieve them. Plus, learn how other districts are setting high expectations for students with disabilities and supporting progress toward their goals under Endrew.


Dr. Michelle HospDr. Michelle Hosp
Associate Professor of Special Education University of Massachusetts Amherst




Dr. Arun RamanathanDr. Arun Ramanathan
Pivot Learning

Beyond High School Oceanside Impact ReportOceanside High School (OHS) is a large, comprehensive high school 40 miles north of San Diego, California. Pivot Learning’s Beyond High School Design Team has established a four-year plan to support pathways and college and career readiness for OHS’ diverse student population. In its first year, the school’s partnership with Beyond High School supported OHS leaders and staff through career pathway implementation, including the addition of four new pathways: Public Service, Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Environmental Science and Engineering, and Arts, Digital Media and Design. By the end of the 2018-19 school year, the number of students prepared for college and career increased by almost 15 points. The number of students not prepared for college and career saw a healthy decrease as well.

Read the full impact report to learn more about the work Pivot Learning is doing in partnership with OHS. Read about how it’s building capacity among educators to implement and sustain successful pathways and ensure students graduate prepared for life after high school, whether that’s in a technical, two-year or four-year college, or in a career.

You also can watch this short video to hear from educators at OHS about the impact they’ve seen from their work with Pivot Learning and Beyond High School.


Growth Culture: A New Approach to School Improvement
Thursday, September 26
8:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Harvard Graduate School of Education


Over the years, educators have undertaken hundreds of initiatives and programs in the quest to improve outcomes for all students. There is no single program or step-by-step recipe that can solve the complex educational challenges faced by many schools. However, if there is one approach that has the potential to be the most transformational, a focus on culture with an adult development lens might just be it.

Results from Pivot’s pilot project with the Monterey Peninsula School District (MPUSD) demonstrates the possibility of Growth Culture to be an essential ingredient to truly begin to reinvent schools.

Join us September 26 at Harvard Graduate School of Education as we share initial findings from MPUSD’s work with Growth Culture and also hear from other schools and organizations, including Building 21 and Way to Grow, that are working to develop Growth Culture in K-12 schools. Andy Fleming and Dr. Lisa Laskow Lahey, two of the authors of An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization (2016), will also present.

More About MPUSD & Pivot Learning’s Work with Growth Culture

Like many school districts, MPUSD faces many complex challenges. From raising student achievement among vulnerable populations to hiring and retaining high quality teachers, there are many initiatives and programs in place throughout the district all attempting to drive change. During the 2018-19 school year, educators from across MPUSD took a step back to approach their work from a different perspective, Growth Culture.

Leveraging the adult development research by Drs. Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, Andy Fleming, Matthew Miller, and Deborah Helsing of the Harvard Graduate School of Education outlined in their recent book, An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, Pivot Learning partnered with MPUSD to develop and implement an organizational culture where people are encouraged to grow as individuals and team members, while tackling their most challenging equity work.

For nine months MPUSD learned about the latest research on adult development and Growth Culture and how to apply it to their lives, relationships and practice. While the MPUSD pilot was limited in size and scope, early indicators are strong that applying a developmental lens to work with adults in schools and school systems has tremendous promise as a game changer for our educational system. Fostering a Growth Culture can not only transform the work experience for a school and district’s employees, leading to higher job satisfaction and retention, but there is evidence that it can also improve faculty and staff performance, and ultimately, student outcomes.


Even though we’re in the middle of summer and temperatures are soaring, the new school year will be here soon. As you start to plan for students’ return to the classroom, we wanted to share some information about Open Educational Resources (OER).

OER are becoming increasingly popular as both core and supplemental instructional materials. And it’s no surprise why: OER materials are flexible, don’t require a contract, and a number of programs are highly rated by

To learn more about OER and what to consider prior to adopting OER, take a moment to read this short but informative article, OER: Tips for Educators and Administrators. It includes ideas, best practices, and helpful tips from California districts who have considered or adopted OER materials in the past.

ELA and math implementation rubricDistrict and school leaders play a vital role in making the structural and instructional changes necessary to ensure that all students will read and write well and become mathematically proficient. It is not enough that teachers are trained; school systems must significantly alter the ways they provide ongoing support and organize and conduct the teaching of literacy and mathematics in all grades. Now more than at any time, perhaps, districts and schools will be under close scrutiny in the implementation of state program requirements, rigorous state standards, or the Common Core State Standards. Large sums of money have been invested in professional development, but unless administrators and teachers are diligent and relentless in the pursuit of excellence in teaching with high-quality curriculum, much of the money may be wasted.

This free implementation rubric was developed by Pivot Learning’s partner, CORE, to assist teachers and administrators in effectively implementing a research-based reading/language arts or mathematics instructional program. Using the rubric, superintendents, district and site administrators, and others responsible for literacy and mathematics leadership as well as classroom teachers will better understand the elements that must be in place for full and successful implementation leading to high student achievement. In addition to this rubric for assessing the state of literacy and mathematics implementation, a separate scale for assessing leadership and organizational capacity is part of this rubric. This rubric is not to be used for teacher evaluation; rather, it is a continuous improvement document that should be used for support and growth.

Download the rubric

teacher coaching checklistMany studies have shown that teachers who receive coaching in addition to instruction are far more likely to implement the practices they learn in workshops than teachers who only participate in professional development courses.

Maximize the impact of professional learning and improve instructional quality and academic achievement in your district or site next school year by following the six coaching best practices outlined in this checklist.

Pivot Learning and CORE can also help you strengthen instruction with our coaching and professional development services. Our expert team of coaches are skilled at job-embedded coaching, individual or small audience support, and blended learning tools to develop your internal coaching capacity, instructional practices, and organizational management initiatives.

Beyond High School from Pivot Learning builds post-secondary and career preparation into the high school experience through an equity-centered approach that supports communities as they innovate and transform their schools.

Watch this short video to hear how Oceanside High School and Monterey Peninsula Unified School District have improved the college and career readiness of their students by working with Pivot Learning.

To learn more about Beyond High School and working with Pivot Learning to implement this comprehensive school redesign model, visit our product information page.