The Louisiana BAP Experience

As many of you know, the Basal Alignment Project involved districts coming together to work towards the same outcome: assisting teachers in taking current materials and more closely aligning them to the Common Core. Whitney Whealdon, an English Language Arts Program Coordinator and Senior Project Coordinator for the Louisiana Department of Education, shares her state’s BAP experience with Washoe educators.

A group of literacy leaders from the Louisiana Department of Education attended the Basal Alignment Project in Baltimore to learn how to revise questions and tasks to be more text-dependent. The work continued in Louisiana. Following the Baltimore training, Meredith and David Liben and Rachel Etienne from Student Achievement Partners trained a group of district literacy leaders in Louisiana. Each district then determined a plan for creating revisions to submit for the Basal Alignment Project. In most cases, district leaders gathered groups of master teachers within their districts to be trained and to work on revisions for the project. The groups submitted multiple rounds of revisions to expert reviewers, and now their revisions are posted on Edmodo for teachers all over the nation to use.

Feedback from the project has been overwhelming positive. So much, in fact, that we have taken on Basal Alignment Project, Part 2 in Louisiana to revise questions and tasks for read aloud texts in grades K-1 and main selections in grade 2.

 Some of the comments from Louisiana BAP participants have been:

  • “This is the best professional development to come out of the state department yet.”
  • “The Basal Alignment Project truly shows teachers how they can use what they have and make it better for Common Core.”
  • “The best thing about the Basal Alignment Project is the process. The resources are good, but the process really showed me how important it is that I have a deep understanding of a text before I teach it. I haven’t really thought about that before.”
  • “I can say nothing but amazing things about BAP. It has truly been the most rewarding experience to go through the process. I was humbled every time I received a review of my questions and tasks, but I learned so much from the collaboration. This is something every teacher needs to go through!”
  • “I keep joking that we need to have a Skype party with the national reviewers after all of this is over. It is has been such hard work, and while frustrating at times, the information and experiences I have gained from the review process have been invaluable. I mean, here I am in Louisiana, and my work is being reviewed by a ‘national expert’ on the CCSS! I couldn’t pay for that kind of professional learning.”
  • “Participating in the BAP training, creating the revisions, engaging in the review cycle, and eventually using the revisions are really helping me understand the CCSS.”

Thank you Whitney for sharing your experience with us.



About Aaron Grossman

I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary. Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here). In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador. I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at
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