To the Editor:
I have been a secondary principal for the past 26 years, and have seen the positive impact on learning throughout my district resulting from Project CRISS, one of the reading programs reported on in your article “Supplementary Reading Programs Found Ineffective” (May 13, 2009). I attended my first CRISS training with three of my teachers in 2005, and could tell then that it was a professional-development program different from any other I had experienced. I recognized that CRISS had the potential to dramatically change the way we taught reading.
In 2006, I became a CRISS trainer so that I could share the program’s learning principles and strategies. Since then, I have personally trained the teachers in my building and more than 250 others throughout the district. There has never been a mandate for our teachers to participate in CRISS training; rather, they have requested it because they recognize the impact CRISS has had on their colleagues and students.
It is this teacher “buy in” and commitment to implementation that made the difference in my school and district, unlike many of those in the federal study described in your article. When teachers are committed to the professional development, schools see more effective implementation and improved results in the classroom.
I encourage educators to go to the Project CRISS Web site (www.projectcriss.com) and locate the list of demonstration sites. If they visit any of these schools in their area, they will see the powerful influence that CRISS has on student learning.
Ken J. Miller
Lake Central School Corporation
St. John, Ind.
A version of this article appeared in the May 20, 2009 edition of Education Week as Principal Disagrees With Study of Reading Programs