Educators enroll in big numbers for literacy professional development
Teacher attendance for this week’s voluntary training for the district’s new reading program reached over 2,270, despite the fact that MPS teachers are on summer break. MPS will institute a district wide approach to teaching reading to the district’s pre-kindergarten through grade 8 students in the 2010-2011 school year. Teachers must be trained in the new approach before September.
The teachers who enrolled in the training received a full day of professional development during the week of July 26 through July 30 at one of four locations. Registration will open soon for a second set of training days for teachers in August. Training for principals will also be scheduled this summer. “This level of response for our first days of training means that our teachers want to be active in reform,” said Dr. Gregory E. Thornton, Superintendent. “They are at the table, ready to change what happens in their classrooms for children.”
The new approach to reading instruction is outlined in the Comprehensive Literacy Plan and is supported with the $5.8 million purchase of new textbooks and classroom materials. The district has identified its literacy campaign as A New Journey Begins – learning to read and reading to learn.
This new, district wide program is a departure from the way reading has been taught at MPS.
Choices of reading programs and materials have been traditionally made at the school level, resulting in the use of 17 individual reading programs that have provided no consistent structure for the district’s highly mobile student population. The district’s Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Heidi Ramírez, says students in MPS have an urgent need. “The Comprehensive Literacy Plan is a breathing document that adapts to the needs of our teachers and our students, who can be bilingual, learning disabled, and/or performing at the top level of their classes.”
MPS is the largest public school district in the State of Wisconsin, with 184 schools serving more than 82,000 students. Achievement and improvement are guided by the MPS strategic plan, Working Together, Achieving More. Media questions should be directed to Roseann St. Aubin, MPS Communications Director, at (414) 475-8237.