Developing a culture of literacy and improving literacy instruction and learning across the content areas must be our number one priority.  This culture of literacy is to permeate the district, our families and inclusively, the engagement of the community of Wilkinsburg.

In May 2012, Wilkinsburg School District was awarded $886,696 for the district’s KTO Comprehensive Literacy Initiative at the elementary and middle school levels. Forty percent (59) of the KTO applicants out of 146 were we invited to submit a full application. Fifty-nine (40%) of 146 proposals were awarded a grant; some districts’ requests were greatly were reduced. WSD was one of 18% of all districts receiving an award and one of 27% (39 districts) receiving full grant awards. WSD ranked 9th out of 44 district requests in it grant category of enrollments up to 5000 with a grant cap amount of $1M maximum placing us in the 81st percentile. WSD was the 14th highest in all grants, including those capped at $2M. Pittsburgh Public Schools received the largest amount: $1,983,014, placing WSD in the 77th percentile overall.

WSD’s Literacy Initiative aims for students to:
  1. Learn to Read by the end of grade 2
  2. Read in grade 3 and
  3. Read to learn in grades 4-8.

The grant will enable the district to introduce and grow a culture of literacy via transitions (especially listening and speaking), reading, discussing and writing about respect, leadership, learning behaviors, how to study and learn, choosing and doing the right thing and school spirit in the buildings. It will strengthen teachers’ instructional practices and deepen their content knowledge through intense professional development and engagement in professional learning communities. It will also increase their effective understanding and use of data to guide their instructional decisions and verbal and written feedback to each student.

The district will focus on building a data culture and aggressive intervention and progress-monitoring system that is articulated in and across all grades and facilitated by technology.  Reading intervention will be provided for struggling readers in Pre-K–2 via Fountas Pinnell and grades 3-6 via SpellRead and reading interventionist; and continuing reading intervention in the Middle School via Language! with the added support of the content area interventionist.  Grades 4-8 will focus on non-fiction and academic reading, comprehension, writing and speaking in science and social studies.

In the district’s process to improve students’ literacy learning and achievement, proficient and advanced readers will be challenged to broaden, deepen and apply their learnings from reading and discussing advanced selections across all content areas. As students advance through the initiative’s targets, they will be equipped to transition to the high school prepared to expand their knowledge and information base reading interesting, complex and advanced nonfiction selections in all genres across all content areas to develop their own theories of understanding through advanced research, writings and presentations to hone their higher-level thinking skills and craft personal and convincing deliveries.

STEAM Class Sends 5th Grade Students to Children’s Museum Maker Faire

The fifth grade students at Kelly and Turner Elementary Schools went on a field trip to Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh last week for their Remake Learning Education Friday. It was a behind-the-scenes first look at Maker Faire Pittsburgh 2017 for 1,500 local students and teachers. Students had direct access to the makers and innovators of the Faire […]

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Former Steelers QB Charlie Batch Delivers Backpacks to Turner Elementary Students

Last Thursday, Charlie Batch, a former quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, stopped by Turner Elementary to deliver backpacks to our 4th-6th grade students on behalf of the Best of the Batch Foundation. Thank you so much for your generosity!

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OnHand Schools’ Dr. Steve Biancaniello Models Text Dependent Analysis

Dr. Steve Biancaniello, a consultant from OnHand Schools, models Text Dependent Analysis instruction in the classrooms during one of his four visits.

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First Grade Fall Fun at Triple B Farms

As a culminating experience following a unit on pumpkins and apples, first grade students from Kelly Elementary School went on a field trip to Triple B Farms. The students enjoyed a hay ride through an apple orchard, learned about the importance of bees and soil in the school barn, walked through Pumpkinland, picked a pumpkin […]

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Mrs. Allen’s Bunnies Visit Kindergartners, Students Learn About Caring for Pets

Mrs. Allen, a paraprofessional in the Special Education Department, brought her bunnies to Mrs. Meszaros’ kindergarten class. The students fed their new furry friends and learned about taking care of pets.

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Dr. Miller Models Math Teaching Strategies to 1st Grade Teachers

Dr. Dan Miller, a consultant that leads professional development for our math teachers, models teaching strategies to the first grade teachers in Mrs. Haut’s class. They learn how to ask higher depth of knowledge questions and how to use accountable talk. Accountable talk is when a teacher explains why they agree or disagree with a […]

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OnHand Schools’ New Case Study Shows Improvement in 5th Grade Math Scores

A new case study by OnHand Schools profiles the incredible work of Kelly Elementary’s teacher Kelly Polosky and the improvement of 5th grade math scores. We’re honored to work with this amazing educator everyday and are grateful for our partnership with OnHand Schools. The full case study can be read here: Wilkinsburg Case Study: Innovative Learning […]

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A Co-Taught Math Lesson on Turn Around Facts

Mr. Weinstein and Mrs. Haut co-teach a math lesson to first graders on turn around facts (for example: 2+4 and 4+2). To demonstrate their knowledge of the concept, students describe to Mr. Weinstein how it’s done. He then added rigor to the lesson by asking if they could write the problem up and down instead […]

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Tail Waggin’ Tutors Boost Student Reading Skills & Self-Confidence

Tail Waggin’ Tutors are back at Kelly Elementary School. This volunteer program encourages students to boost their reading skills and self-confidence by reading aloud to certified therapy dogs. Students love to read to the dogs, because they are non-judgmental and calming.

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Pre-K Students Engage in STEAM Classroom Activities

For STEAM class, Pre-K students engaged in activities that taught them the location of the sun and stars, as well as the nature of birds, where they live and how they fly. 100% of the classroom was actively involved in the lesson. The visuals used motivated them to participate and kept them engaged the entire […]

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