Educators Boost Literacy Knowledge through ECHO Education Program

WATCH: See how Project ECHO is applying the groundbreaking ECHO Model to New Mexico’s literacy crisis.
A teacher is smiling and wearing glasses, standing in a classroom for elementary school students, with a white board and bins of books behind her, while four students look up at her.

Project ECHO is applying the groundbreaking ECHO Model, which shares expert knowledge through telementoring and community-building, to New Mexico’s literacy crisis through a new program for structured literacy.

In working with educators from across the state, the ECHO Education team saw a gap: many teachers in New Mexico are completing LETRS training, a nationally accepted best practice program designed to increase teacher knowledge of what structured literacy is and the research behind it – but LETRS is not a curriculum that can be directly used in the classroom. Teachers need support to ensure that these crucial practices are reaching New Mexico’s students.

Project ECHO is closing the gap with mentorship, guidance, and resources to ensure teachers can navigate in-classroom structured literacy implementation. In the pilot program for Structured Literacy for the Classroom, 10 sessions with participants from districts in 10 New Mexico counties provided educators with collaborative group work, tangible resources, and expert guidance. As one participant shared, “This program gave me excitement and changed my attitude toward my literacy [teaching] block. I have new resources, new things to try out with students, and a community to be able to talk to.”

At the end of the program, teachers reported a 45% knowledge gain across all topic areas covered, and that they are all implementing practices shared in the program in their classrooms. These programs are changing teacher practices and student experiences. Project ECHO is now running three school year-long programs to support Kindergarten, first grade and second grade teachers across the state.  A second cohort of the program will launch in the fall of 2024 for the 2024-2025 school year in order to continue supporting New Mexico K-2 teachers.

“It’s okay not to know and to reach out for help, and that’s exactly what I was able to do with Project ECHO,” shared Rebecca Ballingall, an elementary school teacher in Albuquerque and one of the first participants in the Structured Literacy program. “I wish every teacher in New Mexico could benefit from Project ECHO like I did.”

For more information on ECHO Education programs, email the program team.

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Media Contact:

Ben Cloutier
Director of Communications & Marketing
Project ECHO
(505) 252-4157