In an annual survey of educators released this summer, more than three in four teachers said they feel somewhat to very negative about their profession, with overall positivity at its lowest in the report's eight-year history and down 14% from just last year. These statistics make me feel both sadness and an overwhelming sense of urgency and purpose. The education community is facing challenges today unlike any we have seen before, and these dire circumstances should be a rallying cry for communities. Reading how our educators feel about their profession, which we know for many is inextricably linked to their sense of self, and hearing about diminished teacher agency, lack of support, and the increasingly challenging and mercurial political landscape, it’s no wonder that educator wellbeing and retention is suffering at such dramatic levels.
This resonates profoundly with the team at Heinemann, because we were built by teachers, are dedicated to teachers, and for more than 40 years, we have been in the classroom, side by side with teachers.
In this moment, Heinemann is moving forward in a way that reflects what has established us as a valued partner for educators—resources that are proven effective through a focus on teacher agency, student-centered learning, and engagement—while also harnessing the power of technology and bringing a modern sensibility to our work in support of teachers. We are doing this by: strengthening and diversifying our resources by embracing new scientific research, culturally affirmative practices and growing fields of study; modernizing our approach to professional development by responding to educators’ needs with multi-channel experiences that help them continue to refine their craft; and accelerating our digital transformation by strengthening our capabilities and providing an innovative yet simple and effective online experience to the educators who consume our resources and curriculum.
1. Strengthen and Diversify Our Resources
Heinemann must continue to ensure its professional development resources and curriculum meet the needs of teachers with evidence and efficacy.
Heinemann’s View on Foundational Literacy: Heinemann believes in marrying the best scientific research and evidence-based instructional approaches with the expertise of classroom-based knowledge from our authors. We believe that foundational literacy must be taught using an explicit and systematic approach to phonics. We also know that comprehension, vocabulary, language skills and fluency are equally important. This means that empowering teachers to personalize instruction based on each child’s individual needs and circumstances, and providing high-quality, engaging reading materials are critical to effective early literacy instruction—along with a structured approach to phonics that prioritizes decoding and phonemic awareness.
For example, the new edition of Units of Study in Reading: K-2 is grounded in the latest research and incorporates an expanded focus on systematic phonics instruction and the reading strategies critical for emergent readers, along with clear and direct methods for teachers to effectively apply evidence-based concepts to their instruction to ensure student success. The Jump Rope Readers, an original series of decodables, serve as a companion to the updated instructional content in the new Units, allowing students to apply the phonics they are learning in engaging, high-quality texts.
Phonics has always been a critical component of Fountas & Pinnell Literacy, which is continuously informed by new research and the changing needs of educators and students. Based on this, in partnership with Fountas and Pinnell we are increasing the emphasis on foundational skills and decoding in F&P materials. This includes making more explicit links between phonics work and in-text practice, intensifying instruction around decodable words both in and out of text, and creating a more robust and integrated digital experience for teachers and students through the Heinemann Flight platform.
A Focus on Curriculum Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity: We view it as our responsibility to provide curricular and educator resources that foster a wide understanding of our world and that recognize, honor, and amplify the voices and perspectives of the diverse communities and individual students we serve. As an organization, we are committed to being thoughtful and intentional in the work we do, the processes we implement, and the improvements we make. In partnership with HMH’s Content Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (CEID) team, we have created and made transparent Heinemann’s new curricular guidelines for diversity, equity and inclusion. Heinemann employees have been trained to ensure they are well-equipped to create curriculum in a way that aligns with culturally affirmative instructional practices and these guidelines will steer our curricular development moving forward
Broadening Our Offerings: We will continue to diversify our professional development and curricular offerings to deepen our support for educators and students, including the introduction of Math@Heinemann, which embraces the same research-backed, classroom-informed approach. This includes flagship products like Do the Math, Listening to Learn, Math In Practice and more.
2. Modernize Professional Learning
Heinemann is bringing practical and inspirational professional learning to life using proven approaches and the power of technology, so teachers can evolve their instructional approaches and day-to-day practices.
The Future of Professional Services: We are deepening our professional services offerings and delivering them to educators through new modalities—taking a digital first approach that brings resources, training and coaching to teachers in the way they want to receive it. We are leveraging our new digital platform Heinemann Flight, which will allow teachers to easily access all of our curricular programs, and enhancing our operational capabilities to bring cutting-edge experiences to educators.
The Future of Professional Books: Our professional books have been the foundation of growth and learning at Heinemann. We are continuing to grow this thought leadership by providing multi-channel delivery from diverse experts and authors that are intentionally connected to reflect teacher’s immediate needs for solutions in the classroom.
Jennifer Serravallo’s The Reading Strategies Book 2.0, available for pre-order later this month and launching after the first of the year, exemplifies the kind of research-based, practical instructional resources that Heinemann is so proud to bring to educators. In it, Serravallo provides responsive strategies based on over 700 research citations. Students make the most progress when teaching is responsive to their needs. To teach responsively, teachers need an extensive toolbox of strategies and ideas, and the ability to be flexible and nimble. Serravallo brings this to life in her most comprehensive and richly researched work yet.
3. Accelerate Digital Transformation
With the large majority of educators reporting edtech as essential to the classroom and technology becoming an integral part of K-12 education,* Heinemann is committed to the efficient delivery of highly valued, differentiated, and efficacious digital-first solutions for educators.
Heinemann Flight: This fall we launched our digital platform, Heinemann Flight, with the goal of providing seamless digital access to the educators who rely on Heinemann’s resources. We will continue to build upon this foundation with exciting developments to come, including video-on-demand, synchronous and asynchronous coaching and more.
Build-Measure-Learn: This also means adopting a build-measure-learn model that embraces continuous improvement and evolution. We will continue to be responsive—to students and teachers and their needs—and to research and the evolution of science and technology.
This is a new era for Heinemann and I’m excited about where we’re heading. I’m confident in our talented and passionate team that has been dedicated to teachers for almost half a century and is rededicating themselves with a renewed energy. But I also know we can’t do this alone. Student success depends on all of us working together to support teachers and educators. This means taking a holistic view that goes beyond the school and classroom environments. It means education and engagement with parents and caregivers. It means that families, schools and communities must come together to find the right way forward for all students, and it means there’s no time to lose.