Deborah Reck, Chief Product Officer
I began working in education 30 years ago as a history teacher in a Baltimore City middle school. I saw that once my students could express their ideas in writing, they became excited about learning, and even about reading challenging primary sources. But I could not find a reliable approach to get all students to produce writing and to make progress in their skills.
In 1994, my husband, Arthur Unobskey, and I founded a nonprofit, The Writers’ Express, to develop and refine an approach to writing instruction. After expanding the organization’s work into reading instruction in 2006, I worked with a team to develop the writing program for McGraw Hill’s core curriculum, Treasures. In 2009, while working on the Common Core State Standards, I realized that we needed to do more R&D to develop a comprehensive program that would help teachers reach these standards. To access the necessary resources for this R&D, I worked with The Writers’ Express board to sell the organization to Wireless Generation, later renamed “Amplify” when that organization was bought by News Corp. in 2010.
For five years, I led Amplify’s development of a digital ELA program from concept to adoption by the state of California in 2015, spending significant time in classrooms watching how various instructional activities worked—and didn’t. After seeing how complex technology can distract teachers from their essential focus on students’ skills and ideas, I left Amplify to found Riveting Results®. I wanted to create a simple program that enables teachers to focus on the vitality of students’ ideas and use that energy to drive high school and postsecondary achievement.
The activities and texts used in Riveting Results® have been culled from the instructional methods I developed or observed over the last 30 years and based on the latest in the science of reading and brain science. With feedback from piloting teachers and many former colleagues, I have designed technology and print tools from scratch to ensure that these instructional tools work every day for every teacher with all students.
Currently, I am spending my time watching teachers use Riveting Results® in the classroom and in remote settings, looking at the work students are producing in response to the Riveting Results® activities, learning from teachers about their experiences using the program, and continuously adjusting both the content (wording of questions, books, and selected passages, editorial guidance for teachers) and the design of the apps (simplifying the sequence of instruction, presentation of data, and app-enabled student-teacher and student-student interactions). My own growth is on a steep upward trajectory.
I received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, double-majoring in history and humanities, and I received a Master’s in the Art of Social Studies Teaching from Brown University. I remain a lifelong student of the greatest books and wisest people I can find, some of whom teach me daily in their roles on our staff and on our Advisory Board.