The Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) Growing Readers Program (GRP) is a K-3 literacy professional learning grant administered through the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA). The program aims to provide consistent and high-quality professional learning to teachers on effective reading instruction to help more children read at grade level by the end of third grade. The GRP is part of GOSA’s goal to invest in universal RESA initiatives that ensure all regions in Georgia are receiving access to high-quality, replicable professional learning in reading instruction.
Each of Georgia's 16 RESAs identified one or more reading specialist(s) to provide coaching support to teachers and leaders on reading instruction and tiered interventions for struggling students. The GRP has 26 reading specialists working with 61 schools in all 16 RESAs. The goal of the GRP is to provide consistent, statewide, high-quality professional learning to teachers to improve student achievement. The 2015-2016 school year was the first year of the GRP. The program served 61 schools, approximately 230 teachers, and over 4,000 students across the state.
During the 2015-2016 school year, all sixteen RESAs successfully collaborated with one another to deliver universal professional learning to teachers, coaches, and administrators on effective reading instructional practices. Over 90% of program participants feel the GRP is valuable to improving reading instruction practices, and the percentage of teachers who feel at least proficient in conferring with students, administering and using assessment data, and selecting targeted interventions for students grew from 40% to almost 100% by the end of the year. Despite large variability in student performance due to the variety of assessments used by participating schools, the percentage of GRP students meeting national benchmarks grew by 6 percentage points from 39% to 45%.
 Tiered interventions are part of the Response-to-Intervention (RTI) model in which teachers provide individualized supports in addition to regular classroom instruction to students who are performing below grade level according to the student’s specific needs.