Selecting and implementing the HB3 Reading Academy model has been one of the most challenging decisions for school districts. Questions you may be asking as a team are: What model should we choose? Will our teachers be successful? How much will it cost? Will we have time built into our school calendar? What trainings may need to occur off contract? The list can go on and on.

Here is how the process works. 

Decision #1: Selecting an Authorized Provider

TEA screened and selected what is called Authorized Providers (AP). The company or, for most areas, the regional service center must meet specific criteria to be chosen as an authorized provider. The AP will have to accept full responsibility for administering the reading academies, provide staffing, cover travel, operational expenses, provide technology as needed, and decide upon the cost of services. Becoming an AP is an undertaking as it does require a financial commitment. Larger-sized districts may choose to become authorized provided if the responsibility of the requirements can be provided. 

Decision #2: Local Implementation vs. Using the AP

School districts work with their selected AP to decide how they will implement the Reading Academies. Districts must decide if they will implement their Reading Academies locally or depend upon the authorized to provide all services.  

Suppose a district is selected to implement locally. In that case, they must enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the AP, become responsible for staffing, deliver the curriculum, provide technical support and logistical support. The cost for this option is $12,000 per coach for comprehensive or $10,000 per blended facilitator.  A cohort leader will need to be hired within the district to deliver the material and complete the AP and TEA requirements.

A district may implement both the blended and comprehensive models locally. If a district is not wanting to take on this specific responsibility, it would have to enter into a financial agreement with the chosen AP. The AP would then provide all services, and the district is responsible for sending teachers OR embedding time for training. The cost for this option is $3,000 per participant for comprehensive and $400 per participant for blended. 

Decision #3: Comprehensive vs. Blended

The comprehensive model delivers content face-to-face by the selected coach. The comprehensive leaders are known to be full-time positions and can only have 60 participants per cohort. The leader attends training, meetings with TEA, meetings with the AP, conducts in-person walkthroughs, four coaching cycles with each participant (two in the fall and two in the spring), along with monitors the LMS (canvas), pre-grades submitted artifacts, and serves as a moderated grader. The beauty of this model is the district has control (if implementing locally) to decide upon training dates to ensure all participants are completing the required content. 

The blended model delivers content via the LMS (canvas) that is monitored by the facilitator. Leaders of the blended cohort may have up to 100 participants per cohort. It is estimated to take approximately twelve hours per week per cohort. According to TEA, to have a full-time facilitator for the blended model, the leader would be able to take on a maximum of three cohorts (300 participants total). Utilizing this model requires less financial responsibility on the district; however, it is essential to know that the content is still the same as delivered in the comprehensive; therefore, dedicated time must be scheduled for participants to complete the required work. A common myth regarding this cohort is that the modules can be completed at the participant's own pace.

Making these three decisions will significantly impact your district, teacher learning, as well as the success of students' reading. Consider and map out all options, and at the end of the day, consider what model best fits your district. 

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