Cornerstone Literacy, Inc. (CLI) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that strives to improve literacy outcomes for students in elementary schools serving urban and high-poverty communities by dramatically increasing the number of highly effective teachers. Originally established in 1999 as a national literacy initiative of the New York Institute for Special Education, CLI is a powerful and innovative response to the growing body of evidence that building "basic literacy skills”—reading, writing, and communicating—is the most important goal for education.
Since our inception, CLI has provided a broad range of services to more than 100 schools in 14 districts across the country—from Cleveland, OH, and Bridgeport, CT, to Jackson, MS, and Talladega, AL. Current efforts include working with Springfield Public Schools (MA) to improve teacher effectiveness in select elementary schools, developing centers of excellence (anchor schools), and addressing the special challenges presented by middle schools.
What makes us distinctive
The Cornerstone Literacy Framework is implemented through site-based teaching and learning and follows a cycle of adult learning opportunities that include:
- Development of district communities of practice, which involves opening up effective classrooms for district-wide study
- Lesson study, a teacher-led and teacher-driven professional development activity guided by CLI and district literacy fellows
- In-depth weekly coaching of coaches in the CLI framework, using a variety of techniques
- Ongoing school site visits that build the capacity of principal and teacher leaders to identify the supports adults need to increase effectiveness
- Annual school reviews that measure school effectiveness against a set of research-based indicators
- Cornerstone Literacy institutes where school staff convene in professional study informed by successes and challenges