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.

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