Proven Results

Improving student achievement and
teacher effectiveness from PreK-12

Side-by-Side Results

The information below outlines our history and expertise in improving teacher effectiveness and increasing student achievement. All professional development is centered around two factors: knowledgeable, skillful teachers that deliver exemplary instruction and educational leaders that know how to provide meaningful instructional centered feedback to staff (Wallace Foundation, 2013).

Our Roots and Beginnings

The success of Side-by-Side Educational Consulting began when its founder, Frances Bessellieu, partnered with Charlotte Mecklenburg School District in North Carolina to develop core, supplemental, and intensive flexible tiers of instruction for PreK-12 students.  As a result of this work, in 2002-2003 the state designated 12.6% of district schools as Schools of Distinction and 5.4% as Schools of Excellence, with no schools being designated as low performing, earning Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools recognition from the Council of Great City Schools.

Ms. Bessellieu continued this important work by accepting a position with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., working as program consultant for Reading First and Early Reading First. During this time, Carrie Cole, the current president of Side-by-Side Educational Consulting, worked as a contributing author to the CORE Teaching Reading Sourcebook (2nd Ed.), the best-selling, research-based guide to effective reading instruction that supports educators in bridging the gap between evidence-based reading research and actionable instructional strategies.

Reading First

Several consultants with the Side-by-Side Educational Consulting team were involved in supporting implementation of Reading First at the national, state, and school levels, working to implement research-based literacy practices within a three-tiered model of prevention in grades K-3.  Specifically, the current president, Carrie Cole, was involved in supporting Reading First schools in Idaho from 2004-2007.

In these schools—which were also considered some of the neediest schools in the state—the average third grade ITBS grade equivalent scores were consistently higher than the state average. Further, based on classroom observations and teacher interviews conducted in the 2006-2007 external review, common characteristics contributing to the success of high-performing teachers included fidelity to the core program, extensive knowledge of the core program, strong work ethic, high academic press in their classrooms, enhanced vocabulary instruction, high-quality workshop and intervention periods, high expectations for all students, excellent classroom management, effective use of data, and awareness of individual student’s strengths and weaknesses—all of which were areas of professional development and coaching provided in the consulting services with Ms. Cole.

Early Reading First

Side-by-Side Educational Consulting, Inc., was the sole provider of professional development for the Montana Early Reading First Project from years 2009-2012. Results showed significant growth in overall effectiveness in student achievement and teacher knowledge (PPVT,PALS, TOPEL) in Early Reading Skills.
Download the Early Reading First Data Sheet (PDF)

Early Reading Skills Results – 2010-2012

Phonological Awareness


Fall 2010


Spring 2012

Alphabet Knowledge


Fall 2010


Spring 2012

Striving Readers Program

Side-by-Side Educational Consulting, Inc., was one of three firms selected to provide consulting services and support to schools selected to participate in the Montana Striving Readers Project, spanning the years 2012-2016. As shown on Istation’s Indicators of Progress (ISIP), all schools served by Side-by-Side Educational Consulting, Inc. during the project showed improved student outcomes, with increases in students qualifying for Tier 1 instruction and decreases in students qualifying for Tier 3 instruction. The graph below illustrates the percentage of students scoring in three categories—Tier I, Tier 2 and Tier 3—from Fall 2012 to Spring 2015.
Download the full Striving Readers Project Data Sheet (PDF)

Striving Readers Program Results – 2012-2015

  • Tier I: Fall 2012 40% 40%
  • Tier I: Spring 2015 63% 63%
  • Tier II: Fall 2012 24% 24%
  • Tier II: Spring 2015 19% 19%
  • Tier III: Fall 2012 35% 35%
  • Tier III: Spring 2015 18% 18%
Montana Preschool Development

Currently, Side-by-Side Educational Consulting, Inc., is one of two firms selected to support preschool programs participating in the Montana Preschool Development Grant (MPDG) 2015-present. Current teacher effectiveness data, as determined by the CLASS observation tool shows increases in all areas for all programs served by Side-by-Side Educational Consulting.
Download the full Montana Preschool Development Data Sheet (PDF)

Montana Preschool Development Results – 2015-2016

  •   MPDG Emotional Support Growth 3.26% 3.26%
  • MPDG Classroom Organization Growth 8.51% 8.51%
  • MPDG Instructional Support Growth 26.15% 26.15%

Side-by-Side Educational Consulting has recently expanded to provide high-quality consulting services in mathematics with the addition of Rhonda Birnie and Angie Godfrey to the consulting team. Our consultants have extensive experience providing deep, sustained, effective professional development, most recently working within the state of Idaho as they help educators to make the necessary instructional shifts to effectively teach Idaho’s Content Standards for Mathematics and the Standards for Mathematical Practices with integrity, ultimately resulting in improved student achievement.

Ms. Birnie and Ms. Godfrey have been part of a team of state regional specialists in Idaho providing this type of professional development, and a 2014-2015 analysis of student achievement in mathematics on the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) recently showed that twenty-eight percent of Idaho’s students were positively affected by the mathematics professional development provided to teachers by the state regionals specialists. After adjusting for prior ISAT scores, SES and grade level, students of teachers involved in this math professional development scored an estimated average of 8.3 scale score points higher on the Math ISAT than those students of teachers who had not participated. Because of these results, the professional development and coaching for mathematics has continued to be funded by the Idaho State Department of Education.

Proven Results


Case Study

Watch this comprehensive video that explores the results achieved in the Libby, Montana School District through implementing our methods.

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