Recognizing that limited time and distance are barriers to in-person sessions for many, Wilson is now offering a new service of live interactive support to districts no matter where they are located.
Called Virtual Implementation Support (V.I.S.), this professional learning is geared toward teachers who are new to Fundations® or Just Words® and is delivered over the course of a school year by an Instructional Development Specialist.
The online format is well-matched for a variety of schools and districts, including rural districts looking for professional learning and large urban districts expanding support to teachers in schools beyond the district’s designated demonstration site with onsite coaching.
“We’re looking at the next generation of Wilson® support,” shared Mark Foran, Director of Professional Learning for Virtual Implementation. “This lets us engage with more teachers and impact more students to help them become fluent, independent readers.”
Following a pilot in several Massachusetts and Connecticut public schools during the 2017-2018 school year, the service launched for 2018-2019. More than 200 educators from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas participated in Just Words and Fundations Levels K, 1, and 2 Virtual Implementation Support. During this school year, more than 530 educators representing 34 school districts are enrolled.
For Linnea Fitzgerald, a middle school special education teacher in Westbrook, CT, Just Words was her first experience implementing multisensory structured language instruction. The virtual support over the course of a year served her and her students well, she said.
“The English language can be very difficult for some students to grasp. Through the Just Words training, I have gained knowledge of strategies and skills to help students with their word study, reading, spelling, and fluency,” she shared. “It provided me with ideas on how to reach students through a multisensory approach with a variety of interactive activities. Knowing there was a constant support system was helpful.”
As part of Wilson’s comprehensive continuum of professional learning, Virtual Implementation Support promotes teachers’ understanding of concepts and instructional strategies. Five interactive sessions are scheduled at critical junctures throughout the school year with live 45-minute study group discussions on the upcoming Units and concepts, and opportunities to ask questions and learn practical classroom tips and teaching suggestions. A recorded version of the session is posted so teachers can review the strategies presented in the module. Teachers enrolled in the program also receive “just in time resources.” Curated content is shared just when a teacher might find it useful, pointing to resources already available on the program’s online Learning Community, such as demonstration videos, classroom organization and tips, printable resources, and much more. A discussion board monitored by an Instructional Development Specialist provides teachers with the opportunity to have questions answered and share ideas with teachers across the country. One-to-one meetings are available to those enrolled as part of a dedicated cohort with a district.
Virtual Implementation Support is available through our COMPASS plan process or for individuals. An Introductory Workshop is the required prerequisite for Implementation Support. For more information, contact Wilson’s Customer Support Center at 800.899.8454 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This article was originally published in the spring/summer 2019 issue of The Decoder).