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UAlbany to Create Web-Based Literacy Materials for High School English Teachers

Contact: Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 22, 2004) - The University at Albany's Center on English Learning and Achievement (CELA) has received a $150,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to provide web-based professional development materials to high school English teachers. The award will be used to adapt a web-based guide for middle school English teachers produced by CELA, for teachers at the high school level. The guide is called Supporting Student Literacy Learning: A Program of Instructional and Professional Development.

The guide focuses on a set of multi-linked topics, such as building comprehension by helping students develop deeper understandings of what they read, and fostering reading, writing, and thinking skills with high-level class discussions. Adaptations to the guide will involve replacing the current middle school-appropriate literary examples with those suitable for high school, as well as inserting examples of student work, samples of teacher plans, and video clips (on CD) from high school classrooms.

"The flexibility of the guide allows schools to tackle their individual areas of highest need. Twice each year, CELA facilitators will assign a particular topic, and one of its leading researchers or other nationally recognized expert will facilitate the ensuing online discussion," said Judith Langer, SUNY Distinguished Professor and director of CELA. "The approach is one of blended e-learning and draws on the University's leadership in distance learning, including online courses, as well as the center's considerable experience facilitating online discussions and virtual professional communities."

The Center on English Learning and Achievement has been creating and testing the effectiveness of a professional development program that strengthens teachers' ability to increase students' reading, writing, and other language skills as measured on state standardized tests, in other assessments of reading and writing, and through class work.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, based in Jacksonville, Florida, are a national philanthropic organization established through the generosity of the late American industrialist, Arthur Vining Davis. The purpose of the foundations is to provide financial assistance to certain educational, cultural, scientific and religious institutions within the United States. Arthur Vining Davis became president of the Aluminum Company of America in 1910 and served as chairman of the board for many years.

For information about CELA, visit


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