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Calendar Year 2023


empowered thousands more adults this year to advance equity of access to high-quality early literacy and language experiences for children. With a depth of skills, knowledge, and compassion, we amplified partner impact to help close the opportunity gap in underserved communities. Our model has significantly strengthened the quality of interactions between adults and children, giving adults the tools and confidence to foster children’s language, literacy, and social-emotional development, leading to skill mastery and self-confidence.

We began 2023

with one of our long and valued partners, Miami-Dade School District’s Head Start. We partnered with them to provide a unique programming strategy over the past several years, by focusing each year on a single area of the big 5 essential components of reading and help develop a solid understanding and practice of each step of the processes. This year educators focused on the steps for a quality Repeated Read-Aloud.
to help SEEDS educators use our frameworks with more consistency and fidelity and ultimately making SEEDS as effective as designed. With the encouragement and support of Cisco funders and staff, FluentSeeds compiled a detailed proposal to build a SEEDS of Learning app. A continuum of our current training, this app would provide convenient support for high-dosage tutoring with on-the-spot, easy-to-use reminders and checklists of SEEDS pedagogy. As a support tool, use of the app would require a solid foundation in SEEDS pedagogy gained through either our eLearning platform or training by one of our certified coaches. We partnered with Prime Digital Academy in Minneapolis to receive a working prototype from their cohort of students. Prime’s UX Academy builds the regional tech workforce by providing training and work experience for underserved young adults, 18-24, in sponsoring cities. The team of three young students conducted thorough UX research, planned logical user flows, and delivered a beautiful design prototype within three weeks.
our first webinar in May of this year, "Early Literacy Fundamentals: Effective Road Maps begin with Evidence-Based Quality Interactions”. Coach Nereyda Hurtado and Program Manager Emily Grunt led the webinar focused on SEEDS implementation in family child care environments. Along with an overview of a model implementation, attendees were provided examples of a Literacy and Math Rich Schedule, the crosswalk between SEEDS and the California DRDP, research from the National Early Literacy panel and specific examples of how SEEDS supports Multilingual Learners.
“Even though research shows that 85 percent of a child’s brain is  developed by the time they are five years old, current teacher training systems are leaving teachers to navigate in a crowded sea of misinformation. I am sure many educators can relate to this!  Like many others, I wasn’t taught about the importance of connecting brain science with social and emotional development or given specific, strategic tools that have direct impact to the students I served every day.” -Emily Grunt
the Center on Reinventing Public Education, conducted a study to consider Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) efforts to reimagine early literacy instruction to improve student outcomes and close gaps between historically marginalized students and their peers. The Oakland REACH and FluentSeeds partnered to recruit, train, and provide ongoing coaching for REACH’s Literacy Liberators - parents, family and community members, who spent an initial eight-weeks with FluentSeeds’ coaches and trainers in preparation for tutoring children in K-2 classrooms. SEEDS was used to prepare tutors to establish positive relationships with students, furthering their academic success through social and emotional learning, and leadership skills were built to ensure tutors could advocate for themselves and their students in district schools. Tutors were given comprehensive training in differentiated literacy instruction with SIPPS, an evidence-based early literacy curriculum produced by Collaborative Classroom. In classrooms of 25 to 28 students, differentiated instruction is critical to ensure every child is receiving attention to their individual academic needs. This study provides insight into the challenges and opportunities to reimagine early learning in public schools. It is clear that commitment from all parties, including district leaders, classroom teachers, tutors, instructors and curriculum providers, is a requirement for successful implementation.

Our Phases of Gradual Release

framework purposefully shifts the cognitive load from our expert trainers and coaches to partner organizations, so their teams become confident, capable early literacy educators. Movement is determined within this gradual release model based on each organization’s zone of proximal development: honoring their capacities, constraints and confidence with child data and the Response to Intervention model for differentiated instruction for children.
has been a FluentSeeds partner for over ten years and is now a Phase 4 partner. They gradually built their internal capacity to provide coaching and training within their organization to implement SEEDS with consistency and fidelity in their Leading Men Fellowship and other tutoring programs. Leaders from Literacy Lab went on a 2-day whirlwind SEEDS to SIPPS observation and learning in Oakland schools. Alesha Martin and Teri Hutsell saw how teachers and tutors arrange their spaces for maximum efficiency and previewed schedule management for Collaborative Classroom's SIPPS in kindergarten classrooms. Teri is head of the Cincinnati Leading Men Fellows, a program which has been designated high priority by an Ohio mandate to improve literacy rates throughout the state. Alesha guides the Leading Men Fellows program throughout the entire United States. SEEDS will continue to support Leading Men with strategies for early literacy foundational skills including relationship building and social and emotional development, with additional guidance to implement SIPPS materials for kindergarten learning. The Cincinnati Leading Men Fellows will be in Oakland in 2024 to learn more first-hand. Meanwhile, they will join SEEDS monthly learning communities via Zoom for cross-collaboration and alignment.
approved a plan to provide universal prekindergarten to all 4-year-olds and income-eligible 3-years-olds in the state within five years, committing to provide universal pre-K at a pace and scale unprecedented in the United States. The Center for District Innovation and Leadership in Early Education (DIAL EE) Institute, hosted “a multi-day convening to hear from and engage with experts across California’s various Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) initiatives on topics important to planning and implementing early education in local school districts. Kate Horst and Emily Grunt, a Dial EE Fellow for 2022-2024, were in Fresno for the Center for District Innovation and Leadership in Early Education (DIAL EE) Institute, convening with other thought leaders surrounding issues around implementation of Universal PreKindergarten. This collaborative experience was designed by California early education district leaders who are part of the DIAL EE Fellows to explore the core tenets of early education and create a shared purpose surrounding Universal PreKindergarten. School district teams and other educational entities were given the opportunity to inform a comprehensive early education strategy and plan aligned to California’s UPK Planning and Implementation Grant requirements. DIAL EE involvement ensures that interested parties receive up to date legislative policy information pertaining to UPK that will ultimately be implemented within their local districts.
continued their unwavering support for our mission this year, continuing a relationship that began almost 10 years ago and one that has impacted tens of thousands of California children by building solid foundations for a lifetime of social, emotional, and academic success. Partnership with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation helped form the successful high-dosage tutoring model that exists today in schools, centers, and parent-led organizations such as the Oakland REACH. Soliciting nominations from classroom staff and center leaders, FluentSeeds provided training and Kenneth Rainin Foundation provided funding for Literacy Liberator family members - parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents and community members - who spend hours learning structured pedagogy to support early literacy, then develop powerful relationships with their young students to ensure their academic success. This November, Executive Director Kate, Coach Irene Segura, and Program Director Emily Grunt were delighted to accompany the Rainin Foundation’s Dana Cilono, Director of Education Strategy & Ventures, and Nicole Kendrick, Education Program Officer, on a site visit to International Community School and Think College Now! in Oakland. The group had the opportunity to watch Irene and her tutors serving second grade readers.
provided FluentSeeds with capacity-building support designed to help better understand and define our target partners, as well as build a sales playbook. Through their support and encouragement, FluentSeeds participated in the Promising Ventures Fellowship, which helped strengthen growth by developing a repeatable and reliable sales process, as well as engage with Listen4Good to better understand customer needs and respond to them. As a result, FluentSeeds’ NPS score is now an impressive 80, which is 18 points higher than in the previous year.

Our commitment

to continuous quality improvement is unwavering and put into practice by soliciting input from community partners, recognizing patterns from training feedback that highlight challenges and using this insight for greater accountability and increased excellence.

We pledge

to remain true to our values of continuous quality improvement based on regular and rigorous evaluation, to discover new information based on reading science, and ensure consistent progress for ourselves, educators, and the children we collectively serve. We are truly grateful for your support and partnership.