Dr. Peter Drucker, the distinguished Father of Leadership, gave Claremont Graduate College (CGU) graduate Dr. Linda Gonzales, the commission to improve literacy in schools. Dr. Drucker was convinced that this is most important mission of schools and this responsibility was being neglected to the detriment of future generations. Dr. Gonzales established the nonprofit organization, New Directions for Academic Advancement, set to develop and implement the best way to accomplish this mission.
During the early years, the organization refined its methodology in failing school districts, patterned after Dr. Linda Gonzales’ successful turnaround experience as a Superintendent of Schools. New Directions A2 gained a reputation as an expert school turnaround organization and became one of the first organizations licensed and approved to carry out those turnaround duties in California.
Seeing phenomenal results in the United States, especially among second language learners, NDA2 expanded its efforts internationally. Partnering with education specialists in China, NDA2 began franchising centers that helped students not only learn English literacy, but critical thinking, emotional intelligence, moral character, and cultural appreciation.
Over its 18-year history, NDA2 has developed curriculum for school turnaround, ESL programs, preschool classrooms, learning at home, after-school tutoring and many other settings.
Children who can read by grade 1 have an 88% chance of school success. If by second grade a student cannot read, they have a 75% chance of life failure. If by third grade a student cannot read, they have a 90% chance of not completing high school. Therefore, literacy is a great determiner of life success and demands prioritization with the best possible methodology and resources.
New Directions A2’s goal of improving child’s literacy has been instrumental in “making every child’s story a success.”
Dr. Linda Gonzales, Ph.D. is the
founder of New Directions for
Academic Advancement. She
served on the writing group for
the California English Language
Arts Framework. She has had a
distinguished career as a school
turnaround specialistwith a record
of success across California.
Dr. Gonzales earned her doctorate from The Claremont Graduate School and San Diego State University. She has held administrative positions as Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Director of State and Federal Projects and Elementary Principal. She has taught and worked at high school, middle school and elementary levels.
As a bilingual teacher, Dr. Gonzales used her native language, Spanish, and her personal knowledge of English acquisition to help students. She has authored computer courseware, The Sheltered English Teaching Handbook, Santillana Intensive English and professional articles. Her work has appeared in Educational Leadership, Thrust and Education Week. She has presented at major national and state educational leadership conferences.
Megan Beck is an author, musician, and advocate of children’s literacy and character development. As a writer for the non-profit organization, New Directions for Academic Achievement, she developed the Dream Cap Series, a children’s book series that helps children experience the value of strong character and discipline in engaging and imaginative settings. She is also the Executive Director of a non-profit organization that uses games to teach life lessons to children around the world. She values her international experiences and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese in addition to English.
The programs and resources of New Directions for Academic Advancement (NDA2) are distinct from other publishers’ curricula (that of Epson, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and others) in several ways.
The first is our strong adherence to the four formal patterns of English which are 1) forming sounds, 2) attaching sounds to letters, 3) memorizing high frequency words, and 4) stringing words together to make the syntactical patterns of English and connecting those patterns to reading and reciting English story grammar and narratives.
This is a cutting-edge educational method that has been proven to be most effective in opening the windows of English to learners. The second way that NDA2 resources are set apart is that we use adequate repetition so that every learner can retain and utilize the information long-term. NDA2 also develops all of its resources specifically for children, rather than adapting an adult lesson and simplifying it for a child. Our program design is based on how children develop and learn.
Finally, NDA2 uses the visuals, narratives, and other teaching opportunities to help students understand and apply good character and discipline to their lives. Our goal is that students having gone through NDA2 programs emerge not only as excellent readers but as critical thinkers and citizens with good morals and discipline in their lives.