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Reaching All Learners: Taking Action for Equity to Close the Achievement Gap

July 12–15, 2021, 8:00 am–3:45 pm

Location: Lesley University, University Hall, 1815 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140. Find a place to stay.

As educators, we often wonder how to be responsive to students when their needs, communities, backgrounds, and experiences are different from ours. We strive to provide reading and writing opportunities for all children that are engaging and responsive to them. But too often current reading instruction leaves too many with negative reading identities, complicating the work even further. We know that reading does not happen in isolation. However, because so many people treat it this way, many kids are left out of a positive culture of reading that will contribute to their success.  

Participants will leave this institute with concrete ways to think about how to connect reading to students’ lives, communities, and aspirations. We will examine reading identity and how it intersects with racial, gender, and class identity. Throughout the institute, participants will learn how to effectively respond to the students in front of them through exploring student identity; observing students; and conducting authentic assessment. We will consider how powerful reading experiences are the means for both student reading growth and for building and shifting powerful learning communities.

The institute will be led by The Minor Collective, a community-based movement designed to foster sustainable change in schools, established by Kassandra Minor, an inclusive educator, and Cornelius Minor, literacy leader and author of We Got This. Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be​​​​​​. Lesley University faculty will also guide you in your thinking around these topics.

You can take the institute for noncredit and earn 24 professional development hours, or take it for 2 or 3 graduate credits.

Hosted by the Lesley University Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative.

  • Featured Speakers

    Cornelius Minor is a Brooklyn-based educator. He works with teachers, school leaders, and leaders of community-based organizations to support equitable literacy reform in cities (and sometimes villages) across the globe. His latest book, We Got This, explores how the work of creating more equitable school spaces is embedded in our everyday choices — specifically in the choice to really listen to kids. He has been featured in Education Week, Brooklyn Magazine, and Teaching Tolerance Magazine. He has partnered with The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, The New York City Department of Education, The International Literacy Association, Scholastic, and Lesley University’s Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative. Out of Print, a documentary featuring Cornelius made its way around the film festival circuit, and he has been a featured speaker at conferences all over the world. Most recently, along with his partner and wife, Kass Minor, he has established The Minor Collective, a community-based movement designed to foster sustainable change in schools. Whether working with educators and kids in Los Angeles, Seattle, or New York City, Cornelius uses his love for technology, hip-hop, and social media to bring communities together. As a teacher, Cornelius draws not only on his years teaching middle school in the Bronx and Brooklyn, but also on time spent skateboarding, shooting hoops, and working with young people.


    Kass Minor is an inclusive educator who is deeply involved in local, inquiry-based teacher research and school community development. Alongside partnerships with the Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project and the New York City Department of Education, she has worked as a teacher, staff developer, adjunct professor, speaker, and documentarian. Most recently, along with her partner and husband, Cornelius Minor, she has established The Minor Collective, a community-based movement designed to foster sustainable change in schools. Kass facilitates critical conversations that lead to improved, engaged, and more powerful teaching practices, allowing pedagogies to persist in the realm of teaching and learning. She has contributed content to Heinemann Education Blog,, and has been featured in Teaching Tolerance Magazine. She is currently drafting a podcast with her peers entitled Pedagogy of the People, inspired by her NorthStar, the late Myles Horton. Kass has taught in elementary and secondary schools in both ICT and 12:1 service models. Her work is inspired by the communities that surround her and motivated by the idea that every adult can teach, and every student can learn.

  • Course Topics
    • Developing student identity
    • The role of community in growing positive identities and agency in our students
    • Facilitating authentic learning opportunities
    • Building and shifting school culture
    • Protocols for discourse and problem-solving
    • Designing inquiry projects that foster student reading growth and strengthen the classroom and school community 
  • Required Texts

    If you're taking the institute for noncredit, these required professional texts are included in your registration cost. You'll receive these texts when you arrive at the institute.

    • Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Dr. Gholdy Muhammad
    • Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension by Sara Ahmed

    If you're registering for the Summer Literacy Institute for graduate credit, you'll need to purchase the required texts during online registration for an additional $100 fee.

Cost and Registration

Noncredit (24 professional development hours)

  • Noncredit cost: $895
  • Group Discount: Register 10 from one district and register the 11th attendee for free
  • Literacy Collaborative network discount
  • Registration will be available in Spring 2021

2 or 3 Graduate Credits (with assignment + fees)

  • Both course sections can be taken for either 2 or 3 credits
  • 2 credits: $2,090; 3 credits: $3,065 ($975/credit* + $40 registration fee + $100 for required texts). See tuition discounts*subject to increase
  • Contact to learn how to register for graduate credit.
"The training last year at the Summer Institute was easily the most impactful professional learning of my 13-year teaching career...this training transformed my teaching. I am even more hopeful that this will transform our school. Other teachers are implementing the work from last summer, and our school is sending a different set of teachers this summer to learn, grow, and be inspired."
Kristina Becker, Primary Teacher, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cancellation Deadlines & Refund Policies


You must cancel in writing two weeks before the event to get a refund, minus a $50 processing fee. Email to cancel. If you are unable to attend, you may send a substitute at any time. Regardless of weather conditions, if the event is held but you cannot attend, you will be billed for the full amount.

If you switch from noncredit to taking the Institute for credit, you must submit the Graduate Credit Form (PDF) to the University Registrar before 3:00 pm on day 2 of the Institute: July 13, 2021. Learn more about registering for graduate credit.

Graduate Credit

  • If you're taking the Institute for credit, you may cancel your registration up until the Friday before the Institute begins: July 9, 2021. You'll be refunded your fee in full, minus the $40 registration fee.
  • Lesley University policy does not allow retroactive withdrawals or refunds. Once the course has begun, there is no refund of any kind.
  • Review the university's cancellation and refund policies for credit-bearing courses.
Contact Us
Please contact the Center for Reading Recovery & Literacy Collaborative if you have any questions.