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July 22 @ 9:00 am July 25 @ 3:30 pm

Leading for Literacy: What Every School Leader Needs to Know

What every school leader needs to know about systemic literacy improvement including effective assessment, teaching, coaching, and leadership.

In this 4-day training for school principals and administrators, learn how to support literacy teaching in grades K–6. Learn how to improve student literacy outcomes by developing a coherent vision for literacy and a vibrant school culture that supports teamwork and continuous professional learning.

Register to participate in-person at Lesley University or virtually!

July 22-25, 2024
9:00-11:30am & 1:00-3:30pm (EST)
Number of Days:
In-Person at Lesley University or Virtual
Grade Levels:
Leadership & Coaching
  • District & School Leadership
  • Literacy Coaches & Teacher Leaders
Earn 24 PD hours or 3 graduate credits
  • Includes professional texts & materials
  • Separate cost for 3 graduate credits (see Graduate Credit information tab below for more details)
  • Literacy Collaborative Affiliation Discount available
Course Description & Outcomes
In-Person at Lesley or Virtual
Policies & Graduate Credit Option


Establish core values and beliefs about literacy teaching and learning that will be the foundation of your visionary leadership.

Learn how to develop a vibrant school culture that supports teamwork and continuous professional learning to get swift improvement in student outcomes. With a strong foundation in comprehensive evidence-based literacy assessment and instruction, you will be able to support instructional coherence for every child in every classroom, at every grade level.

In addition, you will learn how to promote shared ownership of data on student outcomes and address systemic structures that limit the learning of some students in the educational system.

Specifically, you will learn the essential elements of a variety of evidence-based instructional practices:

  • Explicit and systematic phonics, spelling, and word study
  • Knowledge-building and comprehension through interactive read-aloud text sets
  • Building foundational skills and fluency through shared and performance reading
  • Small group instruction including:
    • book clubs
    • guided reading
    • guided writing
  • Independent reading and writing
  • Teaching encoding and decoding through interactive/shared writing
  • The structured readers’ workshop
  • The structured writers’ workshop

You will learn how to support teachers in using the Literacy Continuum to plan for and assess teaching and how to guide them in developing their knowledge of the specific scaffolds needed for multilingual learners.

You will use observation tools for instructional practices, so you can observe, discuss, and support specific elements of high-quality teaching. You will analyze and identify areas of strength and need in school interventions using principles of effective intervention. You will expand your use of precise language to support reflective teacher practice by analyzing videos of teaching to understand decision-making instructional practices that result in improvement of student competencies.

You will receive a variety of professional texts and materials, including the book, Leading for Literacy: What Every School Leader Needs to Know and The Comprehensive Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Guide.

You’ll earn 24 professional development hours upon completion of this training, or you may take it for 3 graduate credit.


Headshot of Cindy DownendCynthia Downend, Associate Director, Literacy Programs

Cynthia Downend has worked at the Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative for 15 years, serving in the roles of primary level literacy trainer and currently as the Assistant Director for Primary Literacy Programs.

Cynthia has worked with many school districts across the United States to train and develop district level literacy staff developers, literacy coaches, classroom teachers, literacy interventionists and school administrators on a variety of topics related to improving literacy instruction.

Prior to her work at Lesley University, Cynthia held positions as a literacy coach, Reading Recovery teacher, and classroom teacher for over 20 years working in a variety of school settings including urban, suburban, and international schools.

Linda Murphy HeadshotLinda Murphy, Associate Director, Literacy Programs

Linda has worked in school districts in New York in a variety of roles and settings. Prior to her joining the center at Lesley University, Linda held positions as a principal of an intermediate school, a Director of English Language Arts, Social Studies and Reading, a district trainer for Literacy Collaborative Intermediate, a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader and a classroom teacher. Linda holds licenses in Elementary Education and School District Administration.


You may choose to attend this training in-person at Lesley University or virtually in real time. Should any of the conditions change and it is determined the training will be offered virtually only, you will be notified as soon as possible. We recommend that you contact us before reserving travel and lodging.

If you choose to attend in-person, the training room will have Lesley University’s HyFlex Classroom Technology to support an engaging learning environment for in-person and virtual participants. If you have questions about in-person or virtual attendance, please email us at

In-person participants are required to follow the Lesley safety protocols.

Graduate Credit Option

With additional assignments and fees, this course can be taken for 3 graduate credits. During the registration process, you will have the option to register as a Graduate Credit attendee. When your registration is complete, contact to finish the additional registration process for grad credits through Lesley University.

  • $2,700 ($875*/credit + $25*/credit comprehensive fee) *subject to change
  • Course number:
    • EEDUC 6036-34

Cancellation Deadline & Refund Policies


If you cancel your registration prior to the first day of training, you will be charged a $50 processing fee. Email if you have a cancellation or substitution request. Regardless of weather conditions, if the event is held but you cannot attend, you will be billed for the full amount.

Graduate Credit

Review the university’s cancellation and refund policies for credit bearing courses.

Registration Deadline & Shipping Policies

If you register within the week prior to the first day of this training, you may incur additional fees for expedited shipping. You may experience delays in receiving your materials.

Requirements for Participation

After the training, you will receive a certificate of attendance for your participation. To receive a complete certificate, participation during the specified times is required. Additional work may be assigned to meet the professional development hours. Graduate Credit participants will be expected to complete additional assignments.


On-Site Professional Development

We can deliver this training to your school/district. This option can be delivered virtually or in-person for a group within your school/district. For detailed costs, complete our online form to request this training for your school/district and we will contact you.

Interested in professional learning at your school or district? Schedule a meeting with one of our faculty trainers.

“This was a great opportunity for me to slow down and think even more about Riverside’s next steps in literacy. I took a lot of notes about things to discuss with our literacy coach. Lesley always provides such wonderful learning opportunities!”

Jill B., Principal, Danvers School District, MA

“This was absolutely wonderful, thank you! This connected a lot of dots for me in my literacy training and journey. I really enjoyed learning how to more effectively utilize the books that were shared with us.”

Jim C., Principal, Brainerd Public School District, MN

“Thank you for creating such teacher-friendly materials that will allow me to share my knowledge and passion with my teachers. Together we will change lives in my school for both teachers and students.”

Kelly Ann D., Principal, Washoe County School District, NV