In an evaluation of the year-long Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Design Team process, team members reported that the process was valuable, intentional, inclusive, and achieved the planned outcomes. They also reported that, if well-implemented, the work would improve third grade reading outcomes from North Carolina’s children. Team members indicated that the Pathways approach was effective in engaging members to unite behind a common purpose and do the hard work of building consensus. Design Team members also made suggestions for continuous improvement that Pathways incorporated throughout the process and will learn from going forward.
Design team members expressed that their involvement in Pathways was satisfying and energizing. They placed great value on the racial equity training and racial equity lens used throughout the process, as well as the diversity of input from many voices from a variety of sectors, backgrounds and perspectives. Cindy Dewey, a Design Team member, writes, “The equity focus mattered to me. While I have engaged in equity work for more than 25 years continuously learning and serving as a change agent at various levels of the educational system, this work brought new thinking to challenge me. I reflected anew, met colleagues who recommended new texts, and I read…and listened…and learned…and grew. The work broke me open and reformed me again…it made me a better educator and person. I just wanted to express my deep gratitude for the experience.”
Pathways to Grade-Level Reading is an initiative of the NC Early Childhood Foundation in collaboration with NC Child, The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc., and BEST NC. The racial equity work during the Design Team process was facilitated by Kathleen Crabbs and Sterling Freeman of CounterPart Consulting and OpenSource Leadership Strategies, who trained and coached Design Team members and Pathways staff. Pathways’ partnership with OpenSource was championed and funded by the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (Smart Start).