Countywide Literacy Programs

C. O. R. E. Website


Project Criss Website Project Criss was evaluated and the decision was made not to continue with this program.

Initiative Purpose:

Instructional approaches in teaching reading and writing at the elementary level vary across the county from school to school and teacher to teacher.  In order to reach consensus about best practice in the area of literacy, the Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE) was identified as a valuable resource in assisting elementary leaders in defining effective literacy practices. HCPS administrators, central office personnel, and teachers used the concepts from the work of this Consortium in order to define what best practice in the county is. 

Students at the secondary level also need support in literacy skill development.  This is critical to their success in all core areas because of the heavy dependence on reading and writing skills. 

Initiative Description:

In August, 2007, all elementary principals participated in a two-day training around the concepts from the Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE).   This created a common vocabulary around literacy and began a rich dialogue on the topic with regard to practice in HCPS.  The Elementary Literacy Plan and a PowerPoint presentation will be provided to each elementary principal in August 2007, for the purpose of utilizing them with school faculties.  The literacy leader in each building (the principal) will be leading the staff development on Oct. 8 around CORE ideas.  They will also work with their staff to determine where the school is on the continuum of best practice.   There will be a significant focus on observation and feedback around the teaching of reading and writing during the 2007-2008 year.   (CORE website:

At both the elementary and secondary level Project CRISS has been piloted as a program with the potential to provide students with literacy and learning strategies that will make them successful. Other programs and strategies will be explored over the six-year plan.

Timeline for this Initiative:

  • Summer 2007 – All elementary principals trained using CORE ideas
  • Fall 2007 – All elementary principals will train their staff in CORE ideas
  • 2007-2008 School Year – Observation and Feedback around the teaching of reading and writing will be a focus for all schools
  • 2007- Fall- Evaluation of the Project CRISS pilot and decision making about next steps

2008-09 Advanced Language Arts and the William & Mary Integrated Curriculum

In the 2008-2009 school year, 6th grade advanced language arts teachers will begin teaching a new advanced program of studies. The curriculum is based on the Integrated Curriculum Framework from the William and Mary Center for Gifted Education. This curriculum will be woven into the existing pacing guide to extend the learning opportunities for those students taking advanced language arts in 6th grade.

The Challenge:
Implementing a clearly defined, advanced curriculum that both teaches the SOLs and extends students learning beyond the minimum competency standards.

The Curriculum Framework:
The William and Mary Center for Gifted Education has developed curriculum frameworks and units of study designed to “respond to gifted learners’ characteristics of precocity, intensity, and complexity through its three dimensions of advanced content, higher level processes and product development, and interdisciplinary concepts, issues, and themes” ( HCPS has chosen this framework as the basis for the new 6th grade advanced language arts program of studies.

Specifically, the units designed for language arts “develop students' skills in literary analysis and interpretation, persuasive writing, linguistic competency, and oral communication, as well as to strengthen students' reasoning skills and understanding of the concept of change” ( The Unit of Study entitled “Autobiographies” was chosen as the basis for the 6th grade curriculum. This unit most closely aligns with the newly adopted 6th grade language arts textbooks.

Introducing the Curriculum to HCPS:
In April 2008, 6th grade advanced teachers and middle school gifted resource teachers were trained in the Integrated Curriculum Framework by a professor from the William and Mary Center for Gifted Education. Their day-long training was the first step in implementing this curriculum in Henrico County.
In mid-June, a select group of teachers from the April training met to write the program of studies specific to the curriculum of HCPS.

Implementation of the Curriculum:
In early August, copies of the new curriculum will the available to teachers at their home schools. Prior to the opening of school, there will be a meeting for teachers to review and discuss the new curriculum.

Future Plans:
During the 2008-2009 school year, 7th and 8th grade teachers will be trained in the William and Mary Gifted Curriculum. After training, advanced curricula will be written for these grade levels.

Seventh grade will implement the new advanced curriculum in 2009-2010, and 8th grade will implement it in 2010-2011.


    William and Mary Center for Gifted Education website - A Language Unit for High Ability Learners
    Literature Packet for Autobiographies