GDOE Provides SSIP Schools with RAZ-Plus Blended Literacy Tools

On August 4, 11, and 12, the Guam Department of Education (GDOE), in a collaborative effort with Guam CEDDERS, provided support to the GDOE State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) teachers with a webinar conducted by the Learning A-Z, Director for International Academics and Curriculum, Jennifer Nigh.  The first session on August 4, was for teacher coordinators and subsequent webinars were held on August 11 and 12 for all teachers.  On August 11, the session was for M.U. Lujan and Juan M. Guerrero Elementary school teachers and the August 12 session was for Chief Brodie and Price Elementary school teachers.  A total of more than 100 teachers attended over the scheduled three-day period.

Learning A-Z’s leveled reading program, RAZ-Plus, was procured as a supplemental resource to improve reading proficiency.  Research conducted by McREL on RAZ-Plus showed a strong correlation between reading achievement and motivation to read.  During the hour-long webinars, Ms. Nigh presented SSIP teachers with an overview, highlighting various features, as well as, demonstrating what access to the platform by teachers, students, and families would look like.  There is a need for the continuous strengthening of relationships between home and school—most especially during this time of social distancing.  The RAZ-Plus home-school connection feature acts as a conduit in maintaining communication.  Specifically, RAZ-Plus builds that family connection using their online platform, in addition to, shared printed resources, and other shared types of family communication.

In these unprecedented times, it is imperative to implement a literacy program that integrates seamlessly with GDOE’s three models of instruction: face-to-face, home packet, and distance online learning.  RAZ-Plus resources are fully accessible in multiple types of formats:  mobile, online, printable, and projectable learning. The home packet (hard copy) and online distance models are also supported through printable and downloadable leveled readers, as well as, uploading these resources into GDOE’s online Google Classroom platform.

Throughout the interactive presentations, teachers provided continuous feedback.  Attendees also noted their enthusiasm and excitement in the opportunity to utilize the RAZ-Plus literacy tools with their students.  Moving forward, GDOE plans to continue to provide additional support to all teachers with webinars, small group training, and other technical assistance for all SSIP schools.


On August 4, SSIP teacher leaders attended a RAZ-Plus virtual training session.  Pictured from top to bottom:  Jennifer Nigh, Director for International Academics and Curriculum, Learning A-Z; Josephine Cruz, Associate Director, Guam CEDDERS.  Not pictured: Debra Whitt, Training Associate, Guam CEDDERS; Kevin Behrens, Learning A-Z Representative, SmartEd Inc.; Dolores Cruz, teacher, M.U. Lujan Elementary.

RAZ-Plus trainer, Jennifer Nigh, leading the interactive presentation.