Anyone using Expert 21?

Is anyone using the new "Expert 21" program that Scholastic came out with this year? We will be piloting the program in one of our middle schools during summer school and was hoping to hear some insights ahead of time. Thanks in advance, Melisa Mulder - READ 180 and System 44 District Coordinator, Kentwood Public Schools, Michigan

Posted on: April 08 2010
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  • My district is not using it yet, but we have discussed using it with SPED 11th and 12th grade students. I have signed up to attend the Expert 21 workshop in Nashville this summer to find out more about the program. I know Scholastic promotes it as a 6-9 program, but from what I have read, it seems as though it would be perfect for those 11-12 grade SPED students who are in Resource Center classes. I also have a friend in another district and have been told they are bringing it in next year for their SPED HS students. I'm very curious to see how it works. Are you using it, or also looking for more information? Debbie


    I had a Scholastic rep come out to our district in June '09 to talk to us about Expert 21 (E21) and attended the E21 session last summer at the Nat'l Summer Institute. I have all of the sampler materials and a good overview of the program. I'm hoping to hear from anyone using E21 to find out about any pros/cons or things to be aware of before we start our pilot this summer. P.S. We plan on using E21 for students that were in R180 for 1-2 yrs. and are not yet reading at grade level and/or for students that have never been in R180 but are just a little below grade level and need a little "oomph" of support. Our summer pilot will most likely be with incoming 8th graders that were previous R180 students. Again, any insights would be much appreciated. ~Melisa Mulder

    Do you guyshave any specific questions? I'm actually a Scholastic consultant and can probably cover some basic questions. You can also find som einformation on the program on the Scholastic site.


    1. Are there any issues that have arisen or ways you've needed to compensate or make adaptations while using E21?  2. Any suggestions or words of wisdom for those who have taught it?  It's like when we were trained in READ 180 and System 44; you learn about each program component, but the "in the field" teaching brings a plethora of new insights.  :) Melisa Mulder

    Hi Melisa, great news that you are starting an Expert 21 pilot this summer! Currently we have several schools who are using the program with students in grades 6-9 and several who are looking to begin using the program next year with grade 10. Expert 21 builds on the best practices of READ 180 (anchor videos, small groups, contemporary literature, and more), but gradually reduces the scaffolding and engages students with modern, relevant — and on-level — English Language Arts content. Your READ 180 students – and all your students – should find great success with the program. As with any new program, you may find your pacing/how much content you can cover each day a bit slow in the beginning, but that will pick up as you teach each workshop. We are eager to hear about your pilot – please continue to post with updates, questions and observations!


    Here are some comments from the teacher that is piloting the Expert 21 program at summer school: “First, let me say that the program is wonderful. It has a solid foundation for instruction in language arts, and the materials are very student friendly, even for the challenging group of middle schoolers that I have. The inclusion of instruction in literary elements, reading comprehension, and vocabulary are exemplary. The stories and information text are of high interest to students, and the skill builder interactive presentations really capture the students' attention. (They like Headrick, the cartoon presenter.) Two of the drawbacks are the digital voice for the text reading on Expert Space and the fact that teachers cannot access students' notes in the program as a monitoring technique.” A huge plus of the E21 program is the Expert Space, as it has each of the stories from the 21 Book online. This is different from the READ 180 rBook because the rBook stories are not a part of the R180 software. The 21 Book stories are at a set Lexile level on Expert Space, but it does have related articles that go with each 21 Book workshop that students may choose the Lexile difficulty level 1, 2, or 3. I must add that the content is outstanding and of high interest to middle school students. I conferred with one of the E21 students today, and he was really excited about the program; his eyes actually lit up when he talked about it. The issue that we still need to figure out is if it will suit our needs as a transition-type class for exiting READ 180 students. Since E21 was designed as a core ELA curriculum, it may be too difficult for our struggling readers as an intervention. The teacher is using the E21 Course II (7th grade level curriculum) with the 7th grade summer school students (8th grade in the fall and all previous R180 students). Should we have gone with the Course I? Please feel free to share any ideas or suggestions. Thanks all! ~ Melisa Mulder


    How is the Expert pilot going?  Just curious about what you have to report.


    Update: I will be visiting our Expert 21 pilot on Tues., July 20th...a little later than expected. I will share feedback soon after. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer; Michigan has been GORGEOUS! :) ~ Melisa Mulder

    Thanks Melissa,  We look forward to getting your feedback.  


    Hi, Dee! Thanks for asking about the Expert 21 pilot that we started this week at Crestwood Middle in Kentwood, MI. The teacher asked that I give her a few weeks to get things up and running before I visit, so I will be going by in early July and will post updates then. I'll be in touch! :) ~ Melisa Mulder


    I thought I should mention the workshop at NSI-L-14 Moving From READ 180 to Expert 21!  It will be on Monday.


    Thank you for the feedback.  I'll do a litle research on grade level choices, etc. and get back to you.  I don't know enough about Expert 21 at this time to give you an answer.  


    I'm going to use the Expert 21 free trail.  I'm excited to find out more about it.


    At our school, we are using E21 as our core curriculum for grades 6, 7 and 8.  It is an easier transition for kids leaving R180, but the content and the expectations of E21 are not what I would consider remedial.  For students that are struggling with reading, they participate in Read 180, not E21.  The program, E21, has lots of cooperative learning, engaging stories and holds students accountable for their learning.  Teachers are having success with this program at our Middle School.

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    Hi there, I was wondering if expert 21 is for an entire grade level or just students transitioning from READ 180 to the regular classroom? I guess, is Expert21 for all students? Thanks


    MMulderKentwoodPS, I am a sped LD teacher at a middle school in St. Cloud MN and I are implementing Expert 21 in two co/taught classes this year.  A 7th grade class and an 8th grade class.  Two types of students. Previouse Read 180 kids reading at 750 lexile or higher and mainstream kids who scored low on there Reading tests last year.  I will keep you in the loop.

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