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2023 Year In Review

Notes from the Executive Director's Desk Banner

Dear Slingerland Supporters,

As the winter months roll in here, bringing their blankets of heavy, gray clouds, I fight the urge to hibernate with the bears in the mountains not far from my home. Instead, I wrap myself in the red blanket I leave on my desk chair, make another cup of tea, and remember that there is work worth doing here at Slingerland.

One of the biggest challenges I face as Executive Director is communicating the magic amount—enough that everyone is getting what they need, and not so much that I bog anyone down in details. At the end of 2023, though, I feel like it is only appropriate to cover as much as possible in a year-end wrap-up.

I invite you to sit down, make yourself comfortable, and grab the beverage of your choosing. Let's look back at 2023.

Slingerland Classes

In 2023, Slingerland had the highest number of classes and class participants since before the pandemic. In 2024, we are on track to have even more classes and participants than 2023.

January 2024, we are training several school districts with our online short classes.

From February through April 2024, we have scheduled some of our most in-demand short classes online. Those classes will be officially announced by December 15, 2024.

You can always check on those classes at here.

In a later post, I will update everyone on the Comprehensive Classes we are offering across the United States, and maybe, even beyond those borders. We are too early in the planning to announce many specifics just yet.

Sustaining Slingerland Skills Classes

Nancy Cushen White continues to offer her monthly Sustaining Slingerland Skills follow-up classes. Sustaining Slingerland Skills classes are follow-up classes intended for those who have completed at least the Introductory Comprehensive class. Specific classes may be appropriate for those who have taken a Slingerland short class based on a related topic. You can learn more here.

Updating Slingerland Services

Those who have been reading my previous notes know that we have been doing a lot of updating and streamlining of our Front Office systems. The goal has been to make working with Slingerland easier for everyone. Our completed projects include:

  1. Updating our website to reflect current information about the Slingerland® Literacy Institute

  2. Moving our online store, event registration, and subscription services all to our website. (It's your one stop for all your Slingerland needs.)

  3. Created a Slingerland Certification Renewal Portal that guides every step and automates processes to make renewal as simple as possible

  4. Created a Slingerland Workspace that allows our Faculty Senate to meet, collaborate, and create projects more quickly

Projects In-Progress

  1. Updating our Instructor's Notebook and instructional materials for today's needs. This includes updated class materials reflecting the most up-to-date understanding of the science of reading and how that research applies to the Slingerland® Approach

  2. Updating and printing second edition versions of Slingerland texts, some of which that have been out of print for many years

  3. Planning the 2024 Spring Meeting

  4. Developing new classes to further support those learning the Slingerland® Approach

  5. Digitizing nearly 60 years of records to preserve those records

Faculty Senate

Our Faculty Senate is made up of the Certified Slingerland Instructors of Teachers (CSITs), Certified Slingerland Teachers (CSTs), and volunteers who ensure that Slingerland® Literacy Institute maintains fidelity to the Slingerland® Approach as well as our mission: Excellence in Literacy Instruction for All.

Thank you to each and every member of our Faculty Senate for your hard work. We could not do this without you.

Here are just a few things the Faculty Senate Sub-Commitees have been doing in 2023.

Certification Committee

  • Updated all certification requirements and processes

  • Oversaw the creation of the revised initial certification process

  • Oversaw the creation of the Slingerland Certification Renewal Portal

Course Management

  • Updated syllabi for classes required to become a Certified Slingerland Instructor of Teachers (CSITs)

  • Currently assembling a list of "Slingerland Signature" lectures with matching resources to aid our CSITs as they prepare and teach classes

Published Materials

Professional Development

  • Putting final touches on planning the 2024 Spring Meeting

(details to come)

  • Revising the Coaching and Light Mentoring offerings so they better meet the needs of our community

  • Developing a list of Continuing Education resources to support those seeking to keep their certification up to date

Front Office

The Front Office is made of everyone who helps plan and support classes, pack and deliver shipments, and maintain the records and daily operations of Slingerland® Literacy Institute. We have been hard at work supporting those updates to our online offerings and the hard work of the Faculty Senate. In particular, we have:

  • Updated internal guides and documentation to ensure continuity of systems

  • Streamlining order processing so customers get their materials faster, and in many cases, with cheaper shipping

The Executive Director

My role is vast and varied. While every day looks different, there are a few things that are themes throughout my work.

  • Supporting everything listed above

  • Ensuring our finances remain in the black (or the green, if you prefer, but never the red)

  • Building scholarship opportunities and funds for those taking comprehensive classes

Collaborating with partners in multiple states to move structured literacy and science of reading firmly into the public eye

Looking to 2024

Next year, we are looking at growing our number of instructors, training locations, and offerings. We are also seeking to build our community. We hope you will remain part of it.

If you've made it this far, thank you. I know it's a lot to read. It's been a lot to live.

Wishing you a happy end to 2023 and a fabulous start to 2024.

Seth Watkins

Executive Director Slingerland® Literacy Institute

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