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.

[Photo Gallery] Students Write Letters to Malayaka House Peers in Uganda

50 Former Wilkinsburg HS Books Donated to Ugandan Orphanage Malayaka House. Accompanying these books were letters written by 5th and 6th grade Turner Elementary School students to the Ugandan children who will be receiving them. Photo gallery below:


STEAM Lesson “Parachute Drop” Teaches 2nd Graders About Gravity

Turner second graders learned about gravity during STEAM class lesson “Parachute Drop.” First, students constructed the parachute itself, measuring the lengths of the chute and the string, and tying the knots themselves. Then, STEAM teacher Russ Bush taught the students about gravity and the rate at which chute falls in feet per second. Students conducted […]


Black History Celebration at Turner Elementary School

Throughout the month of February, the students and staff at Turner Elementary engaged in various activities to commemorate and celebrate Black History Month.  Students researched and explored the many accomplishments of African Americans in History, Music, Science, Business, Government and Culture. The festivities culminated in the February 28th Black History Celebration on the beautiful former […]


Wilkinsburg Schools Celebrated Dr. Seuss’s Birthday & Read Across America Day

At the beginning of the month, Turner and Kelly Elementary Schools celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America Day. For example, the first graders at Turner dressed up as “Things” and rotated between other first grade classrooms to hear different books by Dr. Seuss and completed an activity to go with each story, which […]


Wilkinsburg’s School District and Community Create Blueprint for the Future

Today, community leaders, parents, staff and administration sat down together and discussed the Wilkinsburg School District’s top assets, challenges, and goals. We believe that a brighter future for our children includes a partnership with our community, so we are grateful for the outpouring of support and meaningful feedback from our fellow community members. The conversations […]


50 Former Wilkinsburg HS Books Donated to Ugandan Orphanage Malayaka House

Edulink, the vendor that provides our Teacher Evaluation software, came to us with a wonderful opportunity to engage with the orphanage they sponsor in Uganda called Malayaka House. They asked if we could donate books for those children, and we happily accepted. Keri Boyer, librarian at Turner Elementary, selected fifty non-fiction books, primarily biographies, from […]


February Student of the Month Winners

Congratulations to our Turner and Kelly Student of the Month winners!  


March Issue of the Wilkinsburg Sun

The March issue of the Wilkinsburg Sun is here! School district page pictured below. To read the rest of the newsletter, go to:


Local News Coverage of WSD’s Free After-School Dinner Program

Click on each of the pictures below to view the three corresponding news stories. [Updated March 2, 2018]  


Marble Run Physics Lesson for 3rd Grade Turner Students

Turner STEAM teacher Russ Bush’s lesson Marble Run focused on physics and measurement. Constructing and testing various tube heights and lengths, Ms.Hensley’s 3rd grade class explored questions like does the marble pick up speed or slow down and why?

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