Christy Moore

Lyons-Brookfield Elementary School District 103 will use federal Title 1 funds to increase teacher training for literacy skills next year. The district will pay Indiana-based veteran teacher Christy Moore of Authentic Literacy Consultants around $80,000 for 100 days to work in each school about two days per month, coaching teachers in what she calls “authentic literacy.” 

The program will coach teachers to help D103 students read better, starting early, said District 103 Curriculum Director Kelly Baas.

“At the younger grades, we can accelerate to get students working at grade level so that once these students become older they may not need support,” Baas said.

The district received around $589,000 in Title 1 funds for low-income children last year, according the Illinois State Board of Education website. Bass said D103 uses almost all Title 1 money for teacher professional development, especially in math and literacy areas. About 74 percent of the district’s enrollment is low-income students, according to the District 103 Illinois School Report Card.

The district will pay $800 per day for Moore’s services, as well as necessary hotel and travel expenses from her home in Upland, Indiana. 

It is common for educational consultants to work in a regional area said William Dodds, the director of the Illinois Association of Supervision of Curriculum and Development. 

Districts can end up saving money by bringing a consultant to the schools instead of paying per-diem expenses to send teachers out for training and hiring substitutes, he said.

Last year, Moore, consultant Ryan Glaze and a team of other consultants were paid $62,000 plus another $7,618 in travel and hotel expenses for 58 days of work coaching District 103 administrators.

Moore also works with two other school districts. She was paid around $40,000 over the past two years by the Hartsburg-Emden Community District 21 in Hartsburg, Illinois, and around $50,000 by the Anderson, Indiana, school district since 2013. Indiana withdrew from the Common Core curriculum in August 2014. 

According to her bio, Moore worked for 25 years in grades pre-school through third grade. For five years she has worked as a literacy consultant for students in grades K-8. Baas said Moore will help coach teachers in all grade levels at District 103.

In response to an email requesting an interview, Moore sent the Landmark an email outlining in general terms what she’s done in the past and what she plans to do next year in District 103.

Moore gave a literacy presentation at the “Triple-I” conference last year, a Chicago gathering of school board members and school administrators, and finance officials. She has also presented at the Illinois Reading Recovery and Comprehensive Literacy Conference. According to her blog, www.blog.autheniticliteracy.com, students need practice reading for uninterrupted periods to get confident. 

“Kids need time to read voraciously every day,” Moore says on her blog.

As reading for pleasure is crowded out of children’s lives at home, Moore says she encourages teachers to make a selection of grade-appropriate books available and give kids time to read them — not assigning specific books, but allowing them to choose.

Allowing children to read for pleasure builds proficiency and “reading recovery.” Moore’s model also encourages teachers to work with students individually at their own level, and differentiate between how each child is learning. The district also has staff who will help English Language Learners, said Baas.

“Core instruction is key in this model,” Baas said. “It starts with the classroom teacher as the first wave of defense. We want all of our students participating in core instruction in order to accelerate the learning instead of remediating for them [later].”

Moore says her program is aligned with the Common Core standards. 

Josh Wenning, executive director of the Indiana Region 8 Education Service Center in Decatur said he was not familiar with Moore’s company, but that “good instruction doesn’t stop at the border.”

“When there are major instructional and cultural changes in a district you really want a consultant who’s good with face time,” Wenning said.