Project ARISE: Center for Whole-Child Education Joins CCCOE and Partners to Accelerate Reading in California
At the heart of education lies a commitment to ensuring that every young person has the opportunity to develop strong literacy skills—a foundation for lifelong learning and success that has not always been accessible to students from historically resilient populations. The Center for Whole-Child Education (formerly known as Turnaround for Children) is proud to be a crucial partner in Project ARISE, a transformative initiative poised to reshape literacy instruction across California and empower educators to lead meaningful change.
Project ARISE (Accelerating Reading Intervention for Systemic Excellence) is a visionary endeavor designed to propel literacy instruction beyond conventional boundaries. Organized by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), Project ARISE sets forth an ambitious mission: to provide evidence-based resources and support to educators across the state of California, creating a thriving ecosystem of inclusive, asset-based literacy learning for all students. Project ARISE focuses on providing professional learning for K-12 educators statewide to support students with disabilities, students with dyslexia, multilingual learners, and students who are dually identified. Topics of professional development include intensive literacy interventions, the Science of Reading, support for executive functioning, celebration of diversity and asset-based approaches, and pedagogy of equity and family involvement.
Transforming Learning Through Educator Empowerment
At the core of Project ARISE’s approach lies a powerful theory of action. Under powerful leadership from CCCOE’s Erin Roberts, the project seeks to equip educators, leaders, and school staff with high-quality professional learning (PL) opportunities that align with California’s Comprehensive State Literacy Plan and the Statewide System of Support. The belief is that when educators receive targeted PL in evidence-based literacy instruction, intervention strategies, executive function support, and more, the impact resonates far beyond the classroom. As teacher learning improves, so does classroom teaching, ultimately leading to enhanced student learning outcomes.
The consortium driving Project ARISE brings together a diverse range of expertise to address the multifaceted challenges of literacy instruction in California. Led by CCCOE, the consortium includes partners such as the San Diego County Office of Education, Glenn County Office of Education, the University of La Verne, the University of California, San Francisco, and organizations including the Center for Whole-Child Education, TNTP, and the National Center on Intensive Intervention at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). United by a shared goal, the consortium has committed to accelerating literacy learning, delivering evidence-based professional learning, fostering sustainable change, and cultivating a network of trained educators who will drive equitable student outcomes, all grounded in whole-child education approaches that center the learner.
How It Works
Project ARISE introduces a comprehensive three-tiered professional learning model, enhancing educators’ capacity to implement evidence-based learning acceleration strategies. From baseline to intensive training, the model addresses the diverse needs of educators across California’s diverse educational landscape. The model integrates Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP), and whole-child learning practices (social, emotional, cognitive, and academic, in integration), ensuring a holistic approach that resonates with all learners.
Project ARISE is aimed at empowering educators to lead evidence-based reading instruction, implement effective intervention strategies, and foster the development of executive functioning skills. These goals align with California’s aspirations to ensure that every child learns to read by third grade, setting the stage for a future of enhanced educational opportunities.
The Role of the Center for Whole-Child Education
As a key partner in Project ARISE, the Center for Whole-Child Education at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College brings decades of expertise in whole-child design and the science of learning and development. With a profound commitment to creating the conditions that our young people need and deserve for learning, the Center has worked alongside schools and districts across the nation to create settings that nurture each young person’s strengths, meet their needs, and fully develop their potential. With Project ARISE, the Center is poised to contribute its insights, resources, and transformative approaches, further propelling the project’s mission toward systemic excellence.
The Center’s work on this project is especially meaningful to project lead Jazmin Hernandez-Lavezzo, Director, Partner Impact at the Center for Whole-Child Education and lifelong California educator and literacy advocate. Hernandez-Lavezzo shared that “We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with educators across California, united in our shared goal of empowering students through literacy. Progress is possible and change can be ignited from within our classrooms. Collaborating with educators statewide fuels our optimism for improved literacy outcomes. The progress we make here demonstrates the potential to create a ripple effect of success in education everywhere.”
Reshaping Literacy for Equity and Excellence
Project ARISE signifies more than just an initiative; it’s a transformative journey to reshape literacy instruction, empower educators, and ensure equitable learning for every student. California’s educational landscape is poised for a brighter, more inclusive future—one where literacy becomes a pathway to unlocking the potential of all learners, regardless of background or circumstance—with huge learning implications for states, districts, and educators nationwide.