Reading, writing, and reform

By Chad Sutton
April 2019
Vol. 40 No. 2
In fall 2012, my colleagues and I in Missouri’s North Kansas City Schools knew something had to change in our approach to teaching the most important academic skills: reading and writing. Missouri would soon adopt the Common Core State Standards and expect students to engage in higher-order thinking that requires strong literacy skills. But student performance on state assessments in English language arts had been below the state average for several years for all groups of students, and even more for free and reduced lunch and English learners, reflecting a troubling achievement gap. At the same time, student needs continued to grow. Among our population of about 20,000 students, the poverty rate approaches 50% and the mobility rate 37%. We recognized that a major contributing

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Chad Sutton

Chad Sutton ( is assistant superintendent of academic services and school accountability for North Kansas City (Missouri) Schools.


The pre-K-8 literacy plan for North Kansas City Schools is available at

Deputy Superintendent – Academics | + posts

Chad Sutton oversees principals, assistant principals, and overall PreK–12 instruction for Kansas City’s Northland Schools, a district of over 21,000 learners and the largest school system in the City of Kansas City as well as the Missouri side of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The Learning Professional

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