Our district’s journey with STRIVE has been amazing! We began our work with STRIVE several years ago when we received a literacy grant to serve our most at-risk students in Title schools. Originally, Deb worked with us to provide guidance in selecting a quality benchmark assessing tool, train teachers and instructional coaches on the use of data to drive instruction, and the introduction of Focus Folders, WIN groups and PDSA cycles. For the teachers and coaches who worked with this initiative initially, Deb and her colleagues’ support was crucial. Our original focus centered largely around professional development for teachers, coaches, and admin, followed by slower implementation steps to begin the process of embedding the work in classrooms in our grant schools. Once we began the work, the growth we saw in our student achievement was outstanding!

Two years ago, the district made the commitment to add instructional coaches in all our buildings as we determined to replicate the work from our grant schools throughout the district. Once again, our work with STRIVE became the foundation for this initiative. We also expanded our focus from k-5 to include 6-12. STRIVE provided district-wide PD on Disciplinary Literacy for teachers in all core areas, as well as coaching and admin training to support the implementation of instructional framework and leadership teams in all our middle and high schools.

STRIVE will continue to be a district partner as we continue to evolve and embed research based best practices for instruction and focused intervention in all our k-12 schools.

Debbie Hunsaker

Debbie Hunsaker, M.Ed., is the Owner and Lead Implementation Consultant of STRIVE, Inc.

STRIVE provides national consulting and professional development services focusing on improving literacy achievement. She has dedicated her career to improving teaching and learning by supporting state and federal literacy initiatives, providing curriculum development and comprehensive literacy planning support, and providing on-site school support of teachers, coaches, principals, and district leaders. Debbie and the STRIVE team have developed evidence-based trainings and professional development in the Science of Reading/Elementary Literacy Model, Disciplinary Literacy/Adolescent Literacy Model, Data Based Decision Making, Effective Coaching, and Effective Teams. Earlier in her career, Debbie was the Division Administrator for Educational Opportunity and Equity for the Montana Office of Public Instruction, which is responsible for implementing programs and resources focused on supporting schools in improving achievement, especially for disadvantaged students.

Some of the programs Debbie has directed include Reading First, Early Reading First, Title I School Support, and the Montana Comprehensive Literacy Project. Debbie is an author of the professional resource book; STRIVE’s Data System: A how-to on planning, teaching, and assessing reading groups and a children’s book, We Made Do.

Leave a Reply