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Mission Possible: Developing and Implementing a Comprehensive K-3 Reading Policy (K-12 Policy) is a Course

Mission Possible: Developing and Implementing a Comprehensive K-3 Reading Policy (K-12 Policy)



Full course description


Data shows that nearly ninety percent of students who fail to graduate high school were struggling readers in third grade. A Comprehensive K-3 Reading Policy establishes intensive reading intervention for K-3 students who are at risk of reading failure to help ensure they read on grade level by the end of third grade. This course will provide participants with the tools and resources necessary to develop and implement a Comprehensive K-3 Reading Policy by taking a deep dive into why reading by the end of third grade is critical to student success, understanding supporting research, and exploring effective implementation practices.

Course Objectives:

Upon course completion, participants will:

  • Understand the importance of reading by the end of third grade and its critical role in ensuring future student success.
  • Understand the relevant research, fundamental principles of a Comprehensive K-3 Reading Policy, and the importance of successful implementation practice.
  • Learn how to effectively communicate K-3 reading policy to stakeholders.
  • Explore resources for drafting and implementing a Comprehensive K-3 Reading Policy.

Topics Covered Include:

  • Why reading by the end of 3rd grade is critical
  • The importance of having a Comprehensive K-3 Reading Policy
  • Funding a K-3 Reading Policy
  • Getting a K-3 Reading Policy Passed
  • Key components of effective implementation and communication of a K-3 Reading Policy
  • Advice and resources for policymakers and education leaders

Technology Requirements:

You can access the course content via a computer, laptop, and/or mobile devices (e.g., iPad, iPhone,Android phones and tablets, etc.). For mobile devices, go to the app store (Apple or Android) to download the Canvas app.


Mary Laura Bragg, Former Director, Just Read, Florida!: Mary Laura Bragg is a Middle School History and Civics teacher in Tallahassee, Florida. She previously served as Director of State Policy Implementation for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Prior to her role at ExcelinEd, Mary Laura directed Governor Jeb Bush’s statewide literacy initiative, Just Read, Florida! As director, she was responsible for crafting and implementing the policies that helped place a command focus on reading instruction in Florida. She has served on advisory groups on adolescent literacy for both the Alliance for Excellent Education and the National Governors Association. She is also a member of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Advisory Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy.

Rich Crandall, Former State Senator, Arizona: Former Senator Rich Crandall served in the Arizona Legislature from 2007-2013 as both the House Education Chair and then later as the Senate Education Chair. He resigned his Senate seat when he was appointed by Governor Matt Mead to head up the Wyoming Department of Education. In addition to being a lawmaker, Rich served as a school board member for Arizona’s largest district. He has also recently been asked to join the board of Arizona’s largest charter organization. Rich is married to Leann Crandall, who he sat by in 6th grade, and together they have 13 children and 3 grandchildren. He earned his MAcc degree from BYU, an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and is finishing his Ed.D. in Education Leadership from NAU. He is the founder of CN Resource, a national child nutrition audit firm and is a partner at Crandall Corporate Dietitians, the nation’s largest consulting dietitian firm.

Dale Erquiaga, Chief Strategy Officer and Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Nevada: Dale Erquiaga was recently appointed Chief Strategy Officer for Governor Sandoval, Nevada. Dale Erquiaga served in his previous role as Superintendent of Public Instruction since August 2013, in which he was Nevada’s second gubernatorially appointed head of the Nevada Department of Education, following 2011 legislation that gave the Governor the authority to appoint a Superintendent to run the Department.

Dale comes to NDE after several years of working in school district- and state-level education policy in Nevada. He previously served as the Senior Advisor to Governor Brian Sandoval, providing general policy advice and serving as the Governor’s speechwriter and spokesman. In this role, Dale was the Governor’s primary education policy advisor. His education policy experience also includes service with the Clark County School District (CCSD), where he worked as the Executive Director of Government Affairs, Public Policy & Strategic Planning; he consulted with CCSD and other education-related groups for five years before being hired as a district staff member.

Tom Greene, Regional Advocacy Director, Foundation for Excellence in Education: Tom is a Regional Advocacy Director for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Before joining the Foundation, Tom served as the Manager of Campus Programs for the American Enterprise Institute, where he launched “AEI on Campus” on over 50 colleges and universities across the country. Before joining AEI, he worked as a policy analyst and senior strategist at StudentsFirst for two years in Sacramento, CA, where he provided legislative analysis and policy support to a portfolio of state advocacy teams. Before moving to Sacramento to work for StudentsFirst, Tom taught high-school economics and political science for four years as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow and taught summer courses for a Duke University youth program. While teaching, Tom volunteered in his community, served on local boards, and started a business.

Dawn Tapscott Hairald, Lead Teacher, Nettleton School District: Dawn Tapscott Hairald is beginning her 17th year in public education. She has served as a first grade teacher and reading interventionist. She is currently serving as the Lead Teacher, Teacher Support Team chair, and School Test Coordinator. Dawn holds a Bachelor of Elementary Education and Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degrees from the University of Mississippi. She also holds a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University. Dawn was Teacher of the Year at Nettleton Primary School and Teacher of the Year for the Nettleton School District in 2011. Dawn played an integral part in developing and implementing standards based grading and report cards which helped Nettleton Primary School achieve a top five rating in the inaugural year of Mississippi’s Literacy Based Promotion Act statewide assessment.

Alex Kelly, Vice President of Advocacy, Foundation for Excellence in Education: Alex Kelly serves as the Vice President of Advocacy for the Foundation for Excellence in Education following his role as the Regional Advocacy Director for the Gulf Coast states region. Previously, Alex was director of local initiatives for the Foundation for Florida’s Future. Prior to this, Alex worked as the chief of staff for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, and served as staff director for the Florida House of Representatives’ Redistricting Committee. Alex also worked in several other capacities in the Florida Legislature, managed a number of political campaigns in Florida, and worked as legislative affairs director for two state agencies. A Baltimore native, Alex received his undergraduate degree from York College of Pennsylvania and graduate degree from the University of Florida.

Scott Laband, President, Colorado Succeeds: Scott Laband is the President of Colorado Succeeds, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, nonpartisan organization that mobilizes business leaders to dramatically improve Colorado’s K-12 education system. Colorado Succeeds represents business executives from corporations of all sizes and sectors across Colorado, united in pursuit of immediate and continuous improvement to the state’s education system.

He served as the vice president of Colorado Succeeds between 2010-2012, overseeing the organization’s policy agenda and programs, including Colorado School Grades for which he was recognized as A+ Denver’s 2012 Public Education Game Changer.

Prior to Colorado Succeeds, Scott worked as the Legislative Director for Senator Mike Johnston, where he oversaw the education policy agenda and legislative strategy, including the passage of S.B. 10-191 (Great Teachers and Leaders Law) as the point person for both internal strategy negotiations with other Colorado state legislators and external relations and coalition-building with advocates and interest groups.

Cari Miller, Policy Director of K-3 Reading, Foundation for Excellence in Education: Cari Miller serves as Policy Director of K-3 Reading for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. She works with states to develop Comprehensive K-3 reading policies and supports State Departments with effective implementation.  A former elementary teacher and reading coach, Cari most recently served as the Deputy Director of Just Read, Florida!, Governor Jeb Bush’s statewide literacy initiative. At Just Read, Florida!, she served in various capacities: Elementary Reading Specialist, Director of Reading First and Director of Elementary Reading. In all roles, her sole mission was to improve student reading achievement statewide.

Hon. Barbara O'Brien, Former Lieutenant Governor of Colorado: Barbara O'Brien is the president of Catapult Leadership, a nonprofit that develops principals for charter and innovation schools in the Denver area. She was elected to the Denver School Board in 2013. She is also a Senior Fellow for the Campaign for Grade Level Reading with a focus on state reading policy. Previously, she was the Lt. Governor of Colorado (2007-2011) and president of the Colorado Children’s Campaign for sixteen years. Over her career she has played a lead role in education reform, beginning with the passage of the Colorado Charter School Act in 1992. She was a founding member of Democrats For Education Reform—Colorado.

Dr. Richard A. Ross, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio: The passion Dr. Richard A. Ross has for improving education for all children in Ohio is rooted in his own childhood experience when a teacher inspired him to pursue a college degree. He has carried this memory throughout his career as a teacher, principal and district superintendent. In any education situation, Dr. Ross searches out educators who possess the gift to improve learning, provide inspiration and make a positive difference in students and their learning.

Formerly the superintendent for three Ohio school districts and education advisor to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Dr. Ross believes in a child-first improvement approach by increasing efficiency and performance, eliminating ineffective programs and making focused staffing decisions

Ralph Smith, Managing Director, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading: As Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Ralph Smith pursues a mission that has been a personal passion throughout his many-faceted career: improving academic outcomes, and with them the life chances, of children from low-income homes. Senior Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ralph has served on the senior leadership team of the Foundation since 1994. Prior to his time at the Foundation, je also served as Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer for the School District of Philadelphia, and as a senior advisor to former Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode on children and family policy. As the founding director of both the National Center on Fathers and Families and the Philadelphia Children’s Network, Ralph helped launch and lead what is now known as the Responsible Fatherhood movement.

Dr. Larry Tihen, Former Superintendent, Lee County School District: Larry Tihen, Ph.D., is the recently retired superintendent for Lee County School District in Florida. He is the primary author of the Florida Reading Model, and was the first recipient of the Florida Literacy Leader of the Year Award from the Florida Department of Education. Dr. Tihen has served on many state committees, including those for the design of Educational Leadership and Teacher Certification Assessments. He was also a collaborator on the Literacy Essentials and Reading Network for the state of Florida. His previous experience includes serving as a Principal, Director of Exceptional Student Education, Executive Director of Curriculum, Staff Development, Quality, and Continuous Improvement, teaching graduate-level courses at two universities, and presenting at state and national conferences. Over the past five years Dr. Tihen has also served as an Educational Consultant/Inservice Provider for State Department Initiatives in Washington DC, Colorado, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, and Alabama.

Gray Tollison, State Senator, Mississippi: Since 1996, Gray has served as a State Senator in the Mississippi legislature.  In January 2012, Gray was appointed Chairman of the Senate Education Committee by Lt. Governor Tate Reeves.  During his leadership of the Education Committee, Chairman Tollison spearheaded education reforms, such as A-F School Grading, the Literacy-Based Promotion Act, and enacting Mississippi’s first charter school law.  From 2004 until 2012, Tollison served as Chairman of the Judiciary, Division “B” Committee under the leadership of Lt. Governor Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck.  He is also a past Chairman of the Constitution Committee.

David D. Tutor, Director of Special Services, Nettleton School District: David D. Tutor, having served twenty-five years in public education including twenty-one years as an administrator at all levels, pre-k through 12, has significantly raised achievement scores to a remarkable degree, both at individual schools and district wide. Formerly functioning in specific capacities such as teacher, principal, federal programs coordinator, director of human resources, and deputy superintendent, David has acquired great insight into the process of developing educational excellence at any level. Currently serving as Director of Special Services for the Nettleton School District, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Mississippi State University and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi. In keeping with his passion for promoting educational excellence, David presently serves as an esteemed member of the National Performance Level Setting Committee for ELA, grades 3-6, and a member of the blueprint review committee for Mississippi’s new state assessment. Distinguished as an “out of the box” thinker, he consistently searches for and seeks out new instructional practices and data collection/analysis methods that will soundly and categorically advance any educational endeavor.

Dr. Carey M. Wright, State Superintendent of Education, Mississippi: Dr. Carey M. Wright is the State Superintendent of Education for Mississippi. She previously served as the Chief Academic Officer and the Deputy Chief for the Office of Teaching and Learning for the District of Columbia Public Schools and as the Associate Superintendent for the Office of Special Education and Student Services for the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. Dr. Wright spent the majority of her career in Howard County Public Schools as a teacher, a principal, and the Director of Special Education and Student Services. She began her career as a teacher in Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland.Dr. Wright has been recognized as an outstanding educator by the National Center for Culturally Responsive Systems, nominated twice for The Washington Post Outstanding Principal Award, and awarded the Howard County Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Educator of the Year. Dr. Wright obtained her bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park.

“Mary Laura Bragg

Mary Laura Bragg

Former Director, Just Read, Florida!




“Rich Crandall

Rich Crandall

Former State Senator, Arizona




“Dale Erquiaga

Dale Erquiaga

Chief Strategy Officer and Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Nevada



“Tom Greene

Tom Greene

Regional Advocacy Director, Foundation for Excellence in Education



“Dawn Tapscott Hairald

Dawn Tapscott Hairald

Lead Teacher, Nettleton School District



“Alex Kelly,

Alex Kelly

Vice President of Advocacy, Foundation for Excellence in Education




Scott Laband

President, Colorado Succeeds





“Cari Miller

Cari Miller

Policy Director of K-3 Reading, Foundation for Excellence in Education



Hon. Barbara O'Brien

Hon. Barbara O'Brien

Former Lieutenant Governor of Colorado




“Dr. Richard A. Ross

Dr. Richard A. Ross

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio




“Ralph Smith

Ralph Smith

Managing Director, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading



“Dr. Larry Tihen

Dr. Larry Tihen

Former Superintendent, Lee County School District




“Gray Tollison

Gray Tollison

State Senator, Mississippi




“David D. Tutor

David D. Tutor

Director of Special Services, Nettleton School District





Dr. Carey M. Wright

State Superintendent of Education, Mississippi




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