RAISE: Scaling Transformative Professional Development for Content Area Literacy

Research & Evidence

RAISE: Scaling Transformative Professional Development for Content Area Literacy

photo of a girl and boy in classroom, boy is reading from book

The Reading Apprenticeship program at WestEd was awarded a five-year Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 for a project called RAISE: Reading Apprenticeship Improving Secondary Education.

These pages capture how the Reading Apprenticeship approach to academic literacy helped to transform teacher practice, classrooms, and schools, and boost students’ abilities and confidence levels.

The goal of the five-year effort was to address key challenges that teachers and students confront with new college- and career-readiness standards, which require students to show advanced literacy proficiency not only in English classes, but also in other core subjects.

Get a sense of the scope of the effort in the graphic below, then scroll further to hear what a principal, district administrator, and teacher have to say about the impact of Reading Apprenticeship on teachers and students.

RAISE By the Numbers

Praise from RAISE participants


Principals see transformation in struggling readers.

Eric Turman, Principal of Reading High School in Pennsylvania, moved 600 students who did not pass the state “Keystone” exam into classes exclusively taught by RAISE-trained teachers, and saw dramatic transformation. Reading passage rates went from 29% to 54% from September to January, then to 61% several months later.

See more examples of student transformation.

District Leaders

District administrators see teachers make big impact through “true professional learning communities”.

Vickie Jones, Director of Language Arts Services, Abington Heights School District in Pennsylvania, attributes some of the dramatic rise in Abington Heights High School students’ state test scores to an energized and “authentic” Professional Learning community that formed through RAISE.


Teachers build capacity to support students’ academic literacy.

Rob Cushman, Biology teacher and teacher leader, saw his own capacity deepen through RAISE professional development, and through access to hundreds of teachers around the country.

See more examples of teachers talking about students’ – and their own – collaboration related to literacy.