Category Archives: Teaching & Learning

Webinar Date & Time: June 11, 2020 | 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. PT

How will you ensure teachers and students have access to high-quality instructional materials that support distance learning this fall?

This spring, COVID-19 changed our collective expectations for teaching and learning. School closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have forced educators to face innumerable challenges. One of the more persistent challenges: adapting instructional materials for distance learning.

Join this webinar with the California Department of Education and CalCurriculum to get advice for implementing a data-driven plan for fall ELA and math instruction that provides access to high-quality materials to every student regardless of their distance learning situation.

In this webinar you’ll:

  • Reflect on the current context for distance learning
  • Review the role of instructional materials in distance learning
  • Assess the quality of your materials and prepare those materials for distance learning
  • Discover supports available to help with planning for the beginning of next school year

If you are unable to join the live webinar, you’ll find the recording posted to the CDE COVID-19 webinars page following the live event.

At the end of a typical school year, districts and schools are in the throes of assessing for student growth, planning teacher professional development, and laying the groundwork for a successful school year.

But 2019-20 was no ordinary school year.

District leaders need to look back and reflect on what happened, how it impacted instruction and learning, and how they can prepare teachers to make up learning loss next year through equitable instruction, keeping in mind that learning could continue remotely.

Download our Equitable Learning Recovery Toolkit, which includes everything you need to conduct surveys with all stakeholders about teaching and learning this spring and synthesize that data to guide professional development and lesson planning for next fall. Also watch the on-demand recording of our webinar, “Finishing the Unfinished: Tools to Create an Equitable Learning Recovery Plan,” for more background on the purpose of the toolkit and how to implement it in your district or school.

Download Your Equitable Learning Recovery Toolkit

The toolkit will download as a zip file. Unzip the file to access the full toolkit PDF as well as the teacher, student, parent/guardian, and coach/student leader surveys.

Watch Our On-Demand Webinar
to Learn More About the Equitable Learning Recovery Toolkit

Once you’ve completed this toolkit, be on the lookout for a second one from Pivot Learning and UnboundEd. The next toolkit will help you continue this important work by putting together a plan to launch equitable instruction and learning this fall.

Pivot and UnboundEd strive to help districts ensure educational equity for all students. Pivot partners with educators to design and implement solutions for achieving educational justice. UnboundEd offers training and tools to empower educators to center equity in their instructional practices.

Have questions about the toolkit or about working with Pivot and UnboundEd to ensure equitable curriculum adoption and implementation next year? Complete the form below and we’ll get in touch!

WEBINAR DATE & TIME:  Wednesday, May 13
3:00 – 4:15 p.m. ET | 12:00 – 1:15 p.m. PT

How can we move forward into next school year with a plan to address learning gaps widened by school closures?

Find out during this free webinar, presented by Pivot Learning and UnboundEd. We’ll showcase practical, customizable tools and a data-driven process that you can implement now to better understand unfinished ELA and Math instruction and learning across your district system.

We’ll also:

  • Explore the technical and adaptive challenges presented by remote learning
  • Discuss the lenses necessary to plan for equitable instruction in a remote learning environment
  • Explain how to use our free data collection process to illustrate the data story of how the past three months of instruction unfolded

No matter what happens in the fall, we know that back-to-school will be far from normal. Don’t miss this webinar to gain actionable tools to help you develop a plan to equitably address the impact of school closures on teaching and learning.

If you are unable to join the live webinar, please go ahead and register. We will email you a recording to watch at your convenience.

The insights in this article are summarized from conversations held by Sophie Green and Priyanka Kaura, Pivot Learning, with Zeynep F. Beykont, Ed.D., Independent Educational Researcher, Eduardo Muñoz-Muñoz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, CBAP Coordinator, Lurie College of Education, SJSU, and Joanna Yip, Ph.D., Multilingual Learner Instructional Specialist. We appreciate all of the extraordinarily hard working English Learner advocates, experts, educators, and others who are championing the rights of our English Learner students and their families.

Districts across the country are now in their first weeks of full distance learning, with others working hard to follow suit. We spoke with experts in New York, Florida, and California to learn more about the initial challenges observed in English Learners’ participation in distance learning and the supports needed to address those challenges.

English Learners face some of the most severe barriers to instructional access.

English Learners – making up nearly 10% of the U.S. student population – are among the most vulnerable to school system failure while schools are open. Many best practices for teaching English Learners require hands-on learning and opportunities to practice using language with peers and with teacher guidance. Distance learning is exacerbating the disparity in access to grade-level learning opportunities that support English Learners. 

And the impacts are layered. For English Learners from low-income families, access to virtual learning can be fundamentally difficult, as devices, internet, physical space for at-home learning, and materials like calculators and books are provided inconsistently or not at all. Reports show that absenteeism is currently very high, particularly among students in low-income communities. And for English Learners from immigrant families, school closures may provoke additional anxieties about their families’ safety and well-being, which can of course affect their learning. 

Some districts and advocates are working hard to set up early warning systems to detect community and student needs. Districts can then connect communities with appropriate resources, including access to devices and internet, financial support, and social and emotional support tools through district community services, government services, mutual aid networks, and direct instruction. Others are using a caseload approach such that students and their families receive regular outreach from assigned educators and/or school administrators. 

In Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) in California, district administration has prioritized district-level multilingual family outreach. Their efforts have benefited from pre-existing partnerships with local organizations, including a community health clinic, Salud Para La Gente, that created a Mixteco-language video about staying healthy during COVID-19. In Fullerton Joint Union, the district is supporting educator creativity in meeting student needs.

Most educators do not have the experience to support ELD in brick and mortar classrooms, let alone virtual classrooms.

Supporting English Language Development (ELD) will require creativity in instructional delivery, but there are still many opportunities to support student learning. Instruction should remain focused on the evidence-based strategies that work for students: engaging English Learners in a balance of synchronous instruction and asynchronous, project-based activities that include reading, writing, listening, and vocabulary development across the curriculum. 

English Learner researchers and experts are envisioning a series of innovative ways to provide excellent ELD online by anticipating language demands and providing authentic, context- and content-rich opportunities to use language in virtual settings. For example, educators can offer opportunities for students to record conversations or reading aloud engaging texts, speak clearly and with exaggerated physical and visual cues, and leverage existing, familiar online tools to support different modalities of language instruction – for example, with Google Docs’ “suggesting” function, chat box conversations, expressive videos with closed captioning, and recording technology to capture student talk. 

For more specific suggestions for how to meet English Learner student needs, check out SEAL’s 6 Key Considerations for Supporting English Learners with Distance Learning and the English Language Acquisition and Math Guidelines developed by the English Learner Success Forum (ELSF). 

Some districts are experimenting with creative scheduling, organizing the day to include more one-on-one time with students in lieu of larger, classroom-sized virtual instruction, and greater family outreach – all of which can be crucial for ensuring continuity of learning for English Learners and their families.

Districts should also make sure that their educators are considering the number and diversity of linguistic interactions in their lessons by encouraging expert-informed communities of practice online, offering explicit guidance, and supporting assessment of student language needs. For example, districts can offer support for using the assessment tools available from the National Center on Intensive Intervention and using the University of Washington CBM Growth Calculator with the guidance of an expert as well as offer guidelines for sifting through the myriad lists of virtual learning resources.

To support districts now, we have curated a list of resources for English Learner instruction. These resources are intended for English Learners in K-12 and their teachers and parents and include interactive, cognitively demanding, grade-level activities across the curriculum. Check out those resources here.

Educators can use this moment as an opportunity for professional learning.

This moment gives educators the opportunity to participate in virtual professional learning around how to best support English Learners, to easily record themselves while teaching to self-assess, and to work closely with their English Learners’ families. Many professional learning opportunities – including those provided by Pivot Learning/CORE – are available online for free or at a discount.

Districts should work with English Learner specialists to ensure all educators have access to the resources they need to adapt to their English Learners’ educational needs – including opportunities to plan together and collaborate. Districts can structure class schedules to allow for professional learning, recommend high-quality learning opportunities, and support online professional learning communities among educators and English Learner experts.

COVID-19 has created an unprecedented transformation for all our students, and we cannot anticipate all the ways that our classrooms will continue to shift. Districts must make sure that those changes do not leave English Learners and their families behind.

Continued Reading: Resources for Educators and Leaders

5 Things Districts and Educators Can do to Support Instruction for English Learners During COVID-19 | English Learner Success Forum
Key principles to guide district and educator support for English Learners during school closure.

Universal Design for Learning in Online Formats | New Visions for Public Schools
offers suggestions for how to use UDL to improve access and user experience for English Learners with online learning – for asynchronous, synchronous, and blended instruction

English Learner Supports During COVID-19 | Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL), Loyola Marymount University
A series focused on Education and Research Supports for English Learners during COVID-19.  Each communication features “Voices from the Field” and “Resources and Research”

This free guide offers key stakeholders simple tips for ensuring a successful transition to virtual teaching and learning. Download the guide to get advice for adapting the following systems for online environments:

    • Collaborating on instructional best practices
    • Providing observation and feedback
    • Offering digital curricula support
    • Communicating expectations
    • Keeping students engaged and supported
    • Assessing student learning and growth


Building systems to accommodate virtual learning is just one step in addressing the challenge of school closures and the move to distance learning. As you continue to think about the future of instruction at your site, please reach out to us with questions about the adoption and implementation of high-quality materials. We’re here to help you ensure every student has access to quality curricula and excellent teachers, whether learning in or out of the classroom. Learn more about our services.

School closures caused by coronavirus have made issues of equity in education even more distinct. Many educators are working to solve these new challenges. For example, how do districts ensure every student has access to high-quality curriculum and continue to support teachers holistically? And how do schools keep a pulse on students’ needs during this pandemic to keep learning going?

Last week, Pivot experts delivered a presentation at the Carnegie Foundation’s virtual Summit on Improvement in Education with some solutions to consider. Watch the presentation on-demand to walk through an adaptive, multi-year approach to curriculum implementation that involves all stakeholders and learn how it can be adapted during a crisis. You’ll also learn the impact this continuous improvement model has had on educators and students within Stockton Unified School District in Stockton, California.


Reading is a complex process, but it can be explained through a simple equation built around five foundations of reading. It’s critical that educators understand the science behind how students learn to read and what skills they need to succeed in order to teach students to be skilled readers. At Pivot Learning, we care deeply about kids and how they learn to read. We also care deeply about teachers and how they learn to teach reading.

To help educators better understand the science of reading and instructional practices based on it, our subsidiary, CORE, has created a Science of Reading Resource Library. This online library includes webinars featuring literacy experts like Dr. David Kilpatrick, Dr. Michelle Hosp, and Kareem Weaver. You’ll also find other videos, links to articles, an infographic, and much more to support you and your team’s learning about the science of reading.

All of the materials in the Science of Reading Resource Library are available for free online. We encourage you to share them with colleagues and others in your professional learning community.

Visit the library now.

According to the latest data from Education Week, 41 states, three U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia have ordered or recommended school building closures for the rest of the academic year, affecting approximately 43 million public school students. As many of these schools move learning online for the indefinite future, educators are tasked with finding solutions for providing all our students with equitable access to learning.

Pivot Learning and CORE have compiled a list of free resources that either we’ve developed or that our trusted partners have shared to help educators tackle this difficult challenge and keep learning moving forward while students learn remotely. Below you’ll find links to resources to support professional learning around equitable instruction and help transition teachers, parents, and caregivers to at-home learning.

Free Professional Learning Resources

  • On-Demand Webinars: From assessment for dyslexia to fractions and word problems, CORE’s collection of recorded webinars is a rich resource for building knowledge of evidence-based instructional practices in reading and math.
  • Blogs: CORE experts share their insights, opinions, and expertise about current instructional practices and educational issues.
  • Free Lesson Model Videos: Develop reading instructional skills in phonics, multisyllabic word reading, spelling, and informational text. 

A curated list of resources and online learning opportunities to help support the continuation of high-quality, integrated college and career readiness educational experiences amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Blog: Access articles, videos, and podcasts to increase knowledge about the intersection of equity and standards.
  • Disrupting Inequity: Having Brave Conversations About Bias: This toolkit contains everything you need to facilitate conversations about bias, prejudice, and race, and includes materials and resources to guide you each step of the way.

Educational Resources for Parents and Teachers

Guidance for parents on how to talk to children about COVID-19 and how to help children structure their out-of-school time. The “translate” feature permits parents to read the guidance in 50 languages.

From Aga Khan

  • Access a collection of free activities, searchable by literacy skill, to teach reading and writing in or out of the classroom.
  • The iReady math and ELA digital learning platform is now available at no cost. Curriculum Associates also has printable activity packs for grades K-8.
  • National Center on Improving Literacy: Get toolkits and other online resources to support early literacy development. Several toolkits are specifically designed to provide parents and caregivers with guidance for developing their children’s literacy skills at home.
  • Nessy: This online learning platform is being offered free to schools during the COVID pandemic. It provides structured language programs that automatically guide the instruction of phonics, reading, spelling, and writing to children aged 5-12 years. Nessy is effective for all children, including those with dyslexia. Teachers may monitor student progress remotely.
  • Open Up Resources: This high-quality, comprehensive curricula for grades K-5 reading and language arts is always free. Register to gain access to the curricula and resources to support implementation.
  • PBS: Interactive, multilingual site for preK-13 students with real-world and relevant grade-level ELA, science, math, STEM, and STEAM activities in English, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, French, and other languages.
  • UnboundEd:
    • Find Lessons: This free collection of lessons, searchable by grades and content area, is an invaluable resource for educators and families as they plan remote learning lessons.
    • Applying Standards to Content: Parents and caregivers are often unfamiliar with learning standards, but are now faced with instructing their children. These teaching guides, videos, and podcasts provide valuable insights focused on the application of content related to standards.
  • The iReady math and ELA digital learning platform is now available at no cost. Curriculum Associates also has printable activity packs for grades K-8.
  • Math Cats: Interactive online activities for children ages 12 and under. The site includes a math art gallery, Microworlds and Logo programming, and math questions on a magic chalkboard.
  • Open Up Resources: This high-quality, comprehensive curricula for grades 6-8 math is always free. Register to gain access to the curricula and resources to support implementation.
  • PBS: Interactive, multilingual site for preK-13 students with real-world and relevant grade-level ELA, science, math, STEM, and STEAM activities in English, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, French, and other languages.
  • UnboundEd:
    • Find Lessons: This free collection of lessons, searchable by grades and content area, is an invaluable resource for educators and families as they plan remote learning lessons.
    • Applying Standards to Content: Parents and caregivers are often unfamiliar with learning standards, but are now faced with instructing their children. These teaching guides, videos, and podcasts provide valuable insights focused on the application of content related to standards.
  • Zearn: Access 400 hours of free digital math lessons for grades K-5 with on-screen teachers and embedded remediation along with paper-based materials that can be used without a device. To help districts, schools, teachers, and parents/caregivers get started quickly, Zearn created a Distance Learning Resource Center with step-by-step onboarding instructions, mini-PD webinars, video tutorials, and parent/caregiver packs to send home.
  • The Exploratorium: Cognitively-demanding, teacher-tested, hands-on science activities.
  • National Geographic Kids: Interactive readings, activities, quizzes, and games focusing on common core science topics.
  • PBS: Interactive, multilingual site for preK-13 students with real-world and relevant grade-level ELA, science, math, STEM, and STEAM activities in English, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, French, and other languages.

A list of more than 30 web-based virtual field trips to locations like San Diego Zoo, Yellowstone National Park, and the U.S. Space and Rocket Museum.

Virtual Learning Resources for English Learners

Online workshops, considerations, and resources on supporting diverse learners, designed with ELs in mind even if not explicitly named.

From New Visions for Public Schools

Suggestions for how to use UDL to improve access and user experience for ELs with online learning – for asynchronous, synchronous, and blended instruction.

From New Visions for Public Schools

Tips on how to engage with emergent bilingual students when teaching remotely.

Created by Rita Tracy (2020), Language Development Coordinator, Summit School District, CO

Webinar series to support ELD in virtual classrooms

From Californians Together

Thank you for working harder than ever to support teachers, your students, and their families during these uncertain and stressful times. We hope that the resources on this list are helpful as you make plans to provide all students with equitable access to online and at-home learning. If we can be of further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at or 510.250.2543.


Pivot Learning refers to both Pivot Learning and our subsidiary, the Consortium on Reaching
Excellence in Education (CORE).

What’s new at CORE?

What’s new at CORE?

Category: Pivot

Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education

On-Demand Webinar: Structured Literacy Instruction for English Learners


On-Demand Webinar: Casualties of War: Reading Science Denial and Racism’s Impact on African American Children

Presented by Kareem Weaver, Member of the NAACP Oakland Branch’s Education Committee


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 evidence-based strategies, in their most recent newsletter.

Also consider participating in CORE’s Online Elementary Reading Academy, a facilitated online, asynchronous course. A new courses starts April 30, 2020 and is being offered for a 35% discount to support remote professional learning during this time. 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:

Last month, released reviews of five ELA Foundational Skills programs, evaluating them each based on the reading foundational skills called for, including whether or not the skills apply research-based practices and are presented systematically with explicit instruction.

Linda Diamond, president of our partner organization, CORE, was a reviewer and provided feedback on the development of the rubrics used to evaluate the various curriculum programs and also reviewed the detailed descriptions the reviewers used along with the rubrics. Five programs have been reviewed so far. We encourage you to read the reviews, especially if you’re currently using or considering implementing one of the programs.


Summary of the Reviews

The purpose of the reviews is to provide independent analyses of foundational skills programs so that educators can ensure they’re selecting strong, research-based supplemental reading curriculum. Unfortunately, the review revealed that none of the five programs fully meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards.

Partially Met Expectations for Alignment to College- and Career-Ready Standards:

  • The Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System (Heinemann)
  • Puzzle Piece Phonics (Corwin Literacy)
  • Wilson Fundations (Wilson Language Training)

Did Not Meet Expectations for Alignment to College- and Career-Ready Standards:

  • Express Readers Foundational Reading Program (Express Readers)
  • Jolly Phonics (Jolly Learning)

In addition to the reports for each of the programs that have been reviewed, also provides a tool to compare programs.


Learn more about why is reviewing supplemental ELA Foundational Skills programs.