Throughout my career, I’ve worked with students in very high need and high poverty areas where they lack access to educational opportunities to become strong readers. When I was a middle and high school teacher, I saw the effects of that lack of access. My work now is rooted in a commitment to ensure every child has access to a well-trained reading teacher so they can learn to read well and succeed in school and life.”

Dr. Debbie Alexander, Executive Director, Central Savannah River Area RESA

Georgia’s Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) are a network of 16 agencies tasked with supporting the work, improvement, and effectiveness of local systems and schools through research-based professional learning, data-driven school improvement support, local -determined shared regional services, and effective collaboration with other agencies to maximize the impact of statewide initiatives.

The RESAs represent a powerful vehicle for advancing the Campaign’s Teacher Preparation and Effectiveness and Positive Learning Climate pillars. The RESAs build the capacity of schools to embed language nutrition into the teaching of reading and ensure that educators and school systems are effective conduits for access to supports and services.

Each RESA has early learning and literacy specialists on staff who work closely with early grades educators to help them deliver instruction rooted in the knowledge and foundations of teaching reading, including comprehension, fluency, morphology, word recognition, decoding, letter-sound relations, phonological awareness, language, and vocabulary. RESA staff are also supporting educators in seeking Reading Endorsements and Dyslexia Endorsements.

As part of the Growing Readers program, in partnership with the Governor’s Office on Student Achievement, each RESA has a literacy coach who delivers coaching to K – 3 teachers to build their capacity to help struggling readers. In partnership with the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy, reading specialists based in the RESAs work with teachers, instructional leaders, and coaches to strengthen literacy instruction in schools. In 2020, the CSRA RESA launched a Reading Resources Center for teachers and school staff, which synthesizes and compiles seminal work from across the state and nation.

The state directs funding to RESAs to support staffing infrastructure to build the capacity of schools in implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to improve learning climates. This infrastructure has been a critical component of the scaling strategy for this research-based framework, helping to boost the number of schools implementing PBIS to 1,400 in 2020—representing the fastest pace of expansion in the nation. Recognizing that student engagement is key to a positive learning climate, several RESAs are leveraging grants from the Deal Center to advance the use of Social Emotional Engagement-Knowledge and Skills (SEE-KS) and are sharing this work with other RESAs.

To learn more about RESAs, visit the Georgia Department of Education’s website.