The James Irvine Foundation honors Dr. Linda Ventriglia Navarrette as a recipient of its 2023 Leadership Awards, for advancing solutions to critical education issues affecting millions of Californians.
Each year, the Leadership Awards recognize individuals and organizations displaying a commitment to innovation and a record of success in improving people’s lives, creating opportunity, and contributing to a better California. Each recipient’s organization receives a $250,000 grant to support their work that benefits the people of California and merits expansion, replication, or policy support. The Foundation also helps recipients share their approaches with policymakers and practitioners.
While working in under-resourced schools, Linda Ventriglia-Navarrette witnessed how children learning English often fall behind. This experience motivated Navarrette to create Project Moving Forward and its “RULE of 3” curriculum, a new approach proven to accelerate language and literacy attainment for early childhood English learners. A critical distinction of Navarrette’s model is that students learn through analyzing and producing independent thought rather than through memorization alone. The RULE of 3 method includes three steps — REHEARSE, ANALYZE, and PRODUCE — and combines analytical thinking, hand gestures and movement, and peer interactions to build language and literacy skills. The approach is reinforced at the student’s home with extensive digital content and an animated teacher that engages the entire family.
Navarrette’s work is also motivated in part by her experience teaching educators in South Africa and an inspiring interaction with activist and politician Nelson Mandela. He encouraged her efforts to cultivate independent thinking and told Navarrette to “keep moving forward.” With Mandela’s inspiration and experience working in diverse schools, Navarrette developed her curriculum which, now taught in over 800 classrooms, is significantly reducing student opportunity gaps across California and nationwide.
To learn more about the work of Dr. Linda Ventriglia-Navarrette, please visit irvineawards.org/award-recipient/linda-navarrette.