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Release: SCOE Leads Literacy Success

Stanford University Study Highlights Student Advancements

SCOE Press Release

Contact: Xanthi Soriano, Executive Director, Communications
Phone: (916) 228-2713 • Email:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, December 4, 2023


Sacramento, CA—In a significant acknowledgment of its commitment to educational excellence, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) has been spotlighted in a groundbreaking research paper from Stanford University. The paper, titled “The Achievement Effects of Scaling Early Literacy Reforms,” was authored by Ph.D. candidate Sarah Novicoff and co-authored by renowned academic Thomas S. Dee.

The study highlighted that the reform originated from a civil lawsuit related to teaching reading. Consequently, California allocated a $53 million grant to support a program aimed at improving reading performance in 75 of its most underperforming elementary schools. In support of the state’s transformative endeavor, SCOE was selected by the California Department of Education to be the Expert Lead for the $3 million Early Literacy Support Block Grant (ELSBG).

The research paper highlights how the ESLBG’s design approach and SCOE’s role were crucial in the program’s execution and ultimate achievement. Key findings from the study reveal that the ELSBG initiative generated significant improvements in English Language Arts achievement within its first two years, along with additional positive effects in math achievement. These results underscore the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of the program, validating the coherent design approach and SCOE’s selection as the steward of this important project.

Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools, David W. Gordon, proudly commented, “The Sacramento County Office of Education, our Board of Education, and our dedicated employees are honored to be recognized in such an academic context and we remain committed to continuing our work in driving educational advancements and improving literacy outcomes for students here in Sacramento County and across the state.”

Becky Sullivan, the Director of K–12 English Language Arts at SCOE and the Project Lead for the ELSBG, expressed enthusiasm about the future, drawing on the success of the ELSBG initiative. “The significant progress and valuable insights gained from the ELSBG have propelled us forward,” she said. “We are now poised to lead the expansive $27 million Literacy Coaches Reading Specialists Educator Training (LCRSET) grant. This new endeavor will enable us to develop comprehensive literacy training programs for the 833 sites identified under the state’s substantial $473 million Literacy Coaches Reading Specialists (LCRS) Grant. It’s an exciting and pivotal moment for us to further enhance literacy education across California.”