Janet N.Y. Zarchen

Janet N.Y. Zarchen began her career as a teacher in multilingual classrooms in California and continued to teach across the grades in Guadalajara, Mexico; New Jersey; and Connecticut. She worked as an instructional designer for a major publishing company and at the University of Connecticut before supporting schools and districts as an educational consultant. As the founder of Learning Layers, LLC, she facilitates the development of curriculum, district and school equity plans, school improvement plans, and multi-tiered systems of support. She also provides coaching and training to educators on topics including literacy, curriculum and instruction, support for multilingual learners, and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. These topics are also her areas of focus, passion, and study. Other areas of interest are researching her family’s Japanese American history and finding the best hot fudge sundae in the country. Janet lives in Connecticut with her partner Lou, their dogs and cats, and the neighborhood bears.


Coherence: Educational Beliefs and Instructional Practices to Support the Needs of All Students: 1- to 3-day seminar

“Teachers should know that…it’s hard to be good at something you don’t like.”
– Liliana B., age 10

Several years ago, as I was preparing a teacher workshop on writing, I asked my next-door neighbor what she thought was important for teachers to know. Her answer was “Teachers should know that students need to choose what they want to write about because it’s hard to be good at something you don’t like.” Profound in its obviousness, Liliana’s words come back to me again and again as I think of how we might increase the effectiveness of our instructional practices and meet the diverse needs of all students.

The demands on teachers to meet the needs of all students are great, yet the decline in teacher agency has, in many cases, resulted in a disconnect between teachers’ beliefs and the policies, programs, and practices they are implementing. In Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning, John Hattie highlights the importance of teacher beliefs and attitudes: “…the differences between high-effect and low-effect teachers are primarily related to the attitudes and expectations that teachers have when they decide on the key issues of teaching…It is some teachers doing some things with a certain attitude or belief system that truly makes the difference.”

Given this tension between teacher beliefs and practices, in this seminar we will explore and develop ways to align educational beliefs, philosophies, and practices in order to enhance academic and social emotional outcomes for all students, honor the humanness in both students and educators, and infuse more “things people like” into teaching and learning.

Participants will:

  • Create, enhance, or revise their belief statement about education, teaching, and learning
  • Identify student outcomes, including social emotional, academic, language and literacy, based on the belief statement
  • Explore instructional frameworks grounded in equitable literacy practices
  • Learn and understand the Educational Beliefs and Instructional Practices Coherence Framework©
  • Use the framework to analyze the coherence among beliefs, outcomes for students, and instructional practices
  • Explore and create differentiated instructional strategies to enhance student outcomes and alignment between beliefs and practices, while fulfilling federal, state, and district requirements
  • Increase opportunities for honoring the humanness in students and teachers by engaging in culturally and linguistically responsive learning to improve student academic and social emotional outcomes
  • Engage in reflective conversation with colleagues
  • Receive a wealth of processes, strategies, and tips for immediate implementation.

Janet N. Y. Zarchen

K-8 teachers, principals, school leadership team

Teaching Experience

  • Farmington Public Schools, Farmington, CT: Long-Term Substitute, Kindergarten
  • Ramsey Public Schools, Ramsey, NJ: Basic Skills Instructional Aide, Special Education Instructional Aide, Substitute Teacher
  • The American School Foundation of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico: Second Grade Teacher
  • San Gabriel Unified School District, San Gabriel, CA: First Grade Teacher, Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE); Second Grade Teacher; Spanish Enrichment Teacher; ESL Teacher, Grades 1-3, Summer School; Spanish Teacher, Grades 4-8, Summer School
  • Baldwin Park Unified School District, Baldwin Park, CA: First Grade Teacher, Bilingual Spanish

University attended, teaching credential, degree(s) information

  • MS Degree, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
  • BS Degree, General Studies, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, cum laude
  • Certificate in Designing Interactive Multimedia Instruction, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY, NY
  • Connecticut Educator Certificate, Grades K-6
  • Connecticut Educator Certificate, Remedial Reading & Remedial Language Arts, Grades 1-12
  • New Jersey Standard Elementary Teaching Credential
  • California Multiple Subject Credential (inactive)
  • California Bilingual, Cross-Cultural Language Acquisition and Development Certificate, Spanish (inactive)
  • Courageous Conversation on Race Practitioner Certification

Professional learning programs presented

Selected Presentations

Civil Disobedience in Literacy Instruction. National Summit for Courageous Conversation, Washington, DC. October 2022. Co-presented with Shawna Coppola and Ivelise Velazquez.

Thank you, Mr. Nixon by Gish Jen – Virtual Book Discussion. West Hartford Reads! West Hartford Public Library, CT. March 30, 2022.

It’s Not Too Early: Helping Elementary Students with Disabilities be College and Career Ready. New England Reading Association Annual Conference, Portland, ME. September 2013. Co-presented with James Bruni, Dana. Menzies, Meg Porcella, Karen Proto, and Greta Skiles.

Using Data to Accelerate Literacy Achievement: The Story of Two Schools. International Reading Association Annual Convention, Chicago, IL. April 2012. Co-presented with Tracy Clarke, Kim Cleary, Mary Lou Ruggiero, and Greta Skiles.

Embracing Our Diversity with Insight and Hope. Presentation sponsored by Hope Works and the UConn School of Social Work and hosted by the Equity in Education Community Partnership, West Hartford, CT. November 2011. Co-presented with Ivelise Velazquez.

Service on advisory boards, committees​

  • Associate Member, 2023- 2025 Cohort, The Educator Collaborative
  • Co-coordinator, English Language Arts Model Curriculum Development Committee, Connecticut State Department of Education (2022-2023)
  • Board Member, Teaching Learning Alliance, Inc., Woburn, MA (2021–present)
  • Steering Committee Member, Literacy Consultants Coalition (defunct) (2021–2022)
  • Board Member, New England Reading Association (defunct) (2011–2019)