Hill Learning Center

State Level: NC



Teach For America (TFA) National Summer Institute 2020, where 2,800 incoming corps members were trained to become classroom teachers, had to quickly be shifted to a virtual training, due to Covid-19.


Hill Learning Center, in partnership with The Barksdale Reading Institute, The Reading League, The Right to Read Project and The Reading Teacher’s Top Ten Tools, rapidly developed a 4-week professional development series on the Science of Reading for incoming TFA corps members, most of whom had minimal experience in teaching or the evidenced-based practices of explicit reading instruction.


Beginning in mid-March 2020, Covid-19 necessitated the closure of public schools across the United States. Students are now beginning the 2020-21 school year even further behind in their learning and less prepared to read on grade level, in addition to having endured pandemic traumas. More than ever, TFA teachers must be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify student reading challenges accurately and achieve accelerated reading gains.

The virtual training developed by Hill Learning Center and its partners teaches corps members the foundational elements of reading instruction, regardless of grade level or content area, including problem solving when faced with a struggling reader and managing a structured literacy block. During the summer institute that began in June 2020, corps members had two hours of weekly, self-paced asynchronous learning on the Science of Reading.

“All of the corps members will be walking into their classrooms with exposure to the Science of Reading and knowing that all students learn to read in the same way and benefit from direct, explicit instruction,” said Beth Anderson, Executive Director of Hill Learning Center. “Modeling of reading instruction and lesson plan templates were two of the most effective, hands-on resources within the training.”

Anderson concluded, “In addition to this pandemic moment, there is growing national momentum around the Science of Reading and outrage that two-thirds of 4th graders in the U.S. can’t read proficiently. As TFA corps members begin their teaching careers all over the country with this new basis of knowledge, we hope they will become advocates for the Science of Reading in their classrooms and schools and beyond.”

In 2020, The Belk Foundation invested $50,000 in the Hill Learning Center.