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Sanger's Story

**Talbert, J.E., & David, J.L. (2010). Turning around a high-poverty school district: Learning from Sanger Unified’s success. n.p. Not available online.

This paper highlights Sanger Unified School District’s systemic district reform strategy focused on evidence-based decision-making, student learning, and collaboration. The authors document the district’s approaches, such as professional learning communities and explicit direct instruction, and highlight the key role they had in sustaining change, accelerating student achievement, and creating a collaborative culture. The appendix includes Sanger’s demographic information and student achievement data that documents the district’s success over the last six years.

**DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., & Karhanek, G. (2010). Under no circumstances blame the kids: Sanger Unified School District. In Raising the bar and closing the gap: Whatever it takes (pp. 151-162 and 200-201). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. Available for purchase at

The chapter documents Sanger Unified’s successful efforts to increase student achievement and create a “culture of collaboration” by developing professional learning communities (PLCs). Their PLC process has allowed educators to reflect on their own practices and develop unique systems of interventions at each school site, including providing additional support for at-risk students and training teachers in explicit direct instruction. The district has also worked to develop the leadership skills of principals through intensive training, public summits to share and discuss data, and retreats.

The final two-page excerpt outlines barriers that Sanger Unified overcame during the implementation of the PLCs.

Moore, D. (n.d). Direct instruction: Targeted strategies for student success. Los Angeles, CA: Hampton Brown. Available at


This article summarizes reasons why direct, explicit instruction is effective in developing students’ academic skills, especially in reading. The author outlines the five stages of the model (orientation, presentation, structured practice, guided practice, and independent practice) then highlights instructional strategies embedded in these stages including scaffolded lessons, structured response techniques, checking for understanding, and immediate corrective feedback.

Hollingsworth, J., & Ybarra, S. (2008). What is effective instruction? In Explicit direct instruction (EDI): The power of the well-crafted, well-taught lesson (pp. 12-13). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Available for purchase at


This excerpt defines the main components of explicit direction instruction (EDI). As Sanger uses the methods contained in this book across their schools, we have included this short piece in order for you to familiarize yourselves with the language of EDI.

Sanger Unified School District California English Language Development Test (CELDT) data. Not available online.


CELDT language proficiency, by grade, 2010.

Progress in language proficiency, 2008-09 to 2009-10.

**This document is considered a priority reading.