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The Center for Literacy Studies (CLS) has a long history of professional development for school, districts, and the state. Our expertise is in both in face-to-face training, such as workshops and conferences, and online training, including the development of instructional websites and other forms of distance learning. In addition, we have provided technical assistance (including assistance with state and federal reporting) to the state, districts, and schools, particularly as they implemented literacy initiative and school improvement efforts. CLS staff has also conducted research and evaluation studies of such projects.



The Center for Literacy Studies and the School and Family Support team has extensive experience in assisting our partners with building their unique web presence by doing extensive research, planning, designing and collaborating with professionals. Below are a few examples of our work.

1 Read Tennessee - a joint project designed to allow teachers, families and community members to work together for the benefit of young children throughout the state of Tennessee. The portal introduces resources and activities that are related to best practices in Reading and Language instruction.
The Math Portal of the Read Tennessee site was designed in collaboration with agencies, institutions and mathematicians to broaden access to quality, evidence-based practices.  Educators are invited to explore the site and find toolkits with the latest best practices and supports for implementing common core state standards.
2 SPDG (The Tennessee State Personnel Development Grant) website supports children, birth through middle school, in the development of language, communication, pre-literacy and literacy skills to ensure their academic achievement.  The website provides instructional resources framed with a Response to Intervention (RTI) model, allowing teachers to meet the needs of every child.
Please contact Olga Ebert if you need help with your website:


Work: 865-974-9663

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Research and Evaluations

Center for Literacy Studies has extensive experience in project evaluations utilizing a variety of approaches. We have served as evaluators for many school wide, district wide and state wide programs and initiatives. In addition, we have conducted multiple research projects reflective of our expertise in a wide range of research methods and educational content.

The School and Family Support team conducted a PreK literacy and vocabulary assessment of over 400 students. The conference presentation power point on the Study of the Error Patterns is available to download.

Study of Reading Scores of Hispanic students in Tennessee schools.

From Structure to Instruction is a case study on High Priority Schools that turned around.


Please contact Olga Ebert if you need help with research and evaluations:


Work: 865-974-9663

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The Center for Literacy Studies and the School and Family Support team has many years of experience producing print materials that serve to educate, inform, and publicize.  Our publishing work has included event and project posters, brochures, parent guides, teaching materials, and research reports. Below are examples of our work.

Facilitator's Guide Self-Advocacy cover Parent Guide (Spanish version)


Poster for an educational website Brochure

Parent Guide

Please contact Paula Wagner to assist you with your publishing needs.


Work: 865-974-4109


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Event Management

The School and Family Support team members specialize on managing various educational events, including conferences, trainings, and workshops. From planning to execution, our staff has the expertise to make your event a success. In 2011 alone members of the team registered over 5,000 attendees for Professional Development events, in the course of which we were responsible for:

  • Budget Development/Management/Oversight

  • Promotional materials design

  • Data collection

  • Ongoing communication with attendees, venue suppliers, and clients

  • Design of audience participation tools, evaluations and Certificates of Completion

  • Invoicing

  • On site event staffing/Floor management

  • PD hour tracking

  • Food and beverage management

  • Audio visual management

  • Function room sets

  • Transportation

The team has received excellent feedback from evaluations gathered after various conferences and workshops.

Please contact Paula Wagner to assist you with event logistics.


Work: 865-974-4109

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Feedback from evaluations:

"For me, this conference was renewing and extremely informative. I know that I will be a better practitioner for having attended. Thank you!!!" (Effective Practices Conference 08/2011).

"I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop. It made me more aware of "transition" worries that not only teachers have, but parents and students" (Tennessee Higher Education Commission – Ready to Learn 06/2010).

"I loved it! I would love to have this workshop again next year for our whole staff. I feel we would grow closer and benefit from having this workshop again to continue plans and better develop what we discussed last year" (Tennessee Higher Education Commission –Pathways to School Readiness 06/2009).


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Data Management and Reporting

Data are essential for instructional planning at all levels. More and more schools today use data teams, data meetings, and research to help guide their decisions. The School and Family Support team has extencive experience in helping educators with their reporting needs:

  • Assisting in compiling and analyzing data for the Tennessee Reading First program annual performance report to the US DOE (2005-10)
  • Annual Even Start report for inclusion into the TN Consolidated State Performance Report (2003-2012)
  • Knox County Early Reading First annual performance report to the US DOE (2006-10)
  • School Improvement Funds Grant reports for TN DOE for several schools (2009-11)
  • Analysis of performance data for several high-priority schools for TN DOE

Please contact Olga Ebert if we can help you collect, analyze, interpret, and incorporate data in you classroom-, school-, or district-level decisions.


Work: 865-974-9663


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Technical Expertise and Support

Center for Literacy Studies has provided technical assistance and support to schools, districts, community educational agencies, and the state in the following areas: school improvement; reading, math, science, and social studies initiatives; grant writing; state and federal reporting. In addition, we provide technical expertise in website development, database management, professional development tracking, and event registration.

Please contact Olga Ebert if you need technical expertise and support:


Work: 865-974-9663


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Self Determination and Career Planning

Supported by the Tennessee Department of Education and the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities

The University of Tennessee Center for Literacy Studies conducts training and technical assistance in delivering a self-determination and career planning curriculum to school personnel  interested in empowering students to self-determine their career planning at the point of transition from school to adult life.  Developed for use with a wide range of student academic and vocational abilities and based on the principles of self-determination, the Self Advocacy curriculum helps students discern their interests and abilities, learn more about post-secondary options, make choices and decisions, and chart a career and life course into their future.

Teachers, guidance counselors and others who take the training will be expected to set up a program of classroom instruction using the Self Advocacy curriculum, conduct the class within a 9-week period, use the pre-tests and post-tests to generate data and report the data to the Center for Literacy Studies.  By choosing to use the Self Advocacy curriculum, teachers are acting on their belief that every student can be successful and productive in their lives, and promoting learning environments that will help students develop and reach career and other post-secondary goals.

Services offered include:

  • Basic training that qualifies teachers and other school personnel to use the Self Advocacy curriculum.  A $125 fee covers materials and follow up support.
  • Intensive coaching for selected school systems
  • Direct assistance to students self-advocacy as requested


To learn more about using the Self Advocacy curriculum, please contact Crystal Godwin-Melvin at or Melvin Jackson at


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Transition Services to Post-Secondary Education, Vocational Training or Employment

Supported by the Tennessee Department of Education and the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities

Making a seamless transition from high school to post-secondary education, vocational training or employment can be difficult for students, especially if they are also dealing with potential barriers such as intellectual or physical disabilities. Our schools have an obligation to assist these students in the transition from school to adult life.  We can help teachers write Transition IEPs for their students based on the student’s needs, interests, and strengths that will better prepare them for their future.

Getting into college, beginning career training, or starting a new job can be challenging. But even the most difficult barriers can be overcome with the right information. The University of Tennessee Center for Literacy Studies can assist students, teachers and school systems with these challenges by providing:

  • Training on writing Transition IEPs
  • Technical assistance onsite with review and recommendations regarding IEPs
  • Other Transition assistance targeted to the needs of individual schools


For more information, contact either Crystal Godwin-Melvin at  or Melvin Jackson at