Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our Wilson Reading Journey and a Thank You to our Level I/II Certified Teachers

I am sitting here today observing 19 more people beginning their journey to being trained in Wilson Reading. 

I think back six years ago when we researched evidence based multi-sensory reading programs and learned about Wilson. Staff and Mr Leonard made a trip to DC Everestt Schools to see Wilson being taught.

A group of individuals then came together to be initially trained in Wilson Reading by Janet Lorenz with practicum student Katharine Campbell held at MAMS. Several staff also traveled to Elmbrook to see the training again by Janet.

Twelve of our staff (Kris Brandner, Peggy Czerniak, Karen Dallas, Oralee Dittrich, Kim Fechhelm, Mary Fliehs, Shari Gajewski, Misty Galli, Ann Jochimsen, Kathy Schumacher, Joyce Woletz) took it upon themselves individually and collaboratively to complete the Wilson Reading Level I certification through Katharine.  They were observed multiple times, met together monthly, taught a student 1:1 on a daily basis, completed an online class, and finished a year long practicum. 

Five of them (Kris Brandner, Misty Galli, Ann Jochimsen, Kathy Schumacher, Joyce Woletz decided to pursue even further their Wilson Reading Level II certification by completing a two year process, student group practicum, step 7-12 practicum, video taped observations, and online class. 

Five years ago we had a handful of students being taught Wilson. Today Wilson Reading is taught in each school building across tiered intervention levels. Fundations is implemented at the elementary at the universal and tiered two/three levels. Just Words is taught in regular education sections of Grades 4-8 and some at the HS. Adult Literacy has also used Wilson Reading and Just Words. You have had our next groups of teachers to observe you teach the programs and consult with you as they have not had an opportunity to do their Wilson certifications. 

We had students who had cognitive disabilities that were only taught through Edmark and now travel the hallways looking to read to someone. Student who was pulled from school by their parents for over a year only to be brought back to school because of Wilson and their teacher. Students who are now dismissed from special education. A student who likes traveling with his truck driver Dad because he can read the signs on side of the road now. The seeing of student success as they read at home and school. The parents with tears in their eyes expressing their appreciation to their Wilson teachers. 

All of our staff who completed their Level I and II certification laid the groundwork for believing that our students needed a remediation program which taught them skills which can be used in school and in life. We know that not all students learn to read the same way. You all took advantage to learn this new way of teaching for yourselves and a multi sensory approaching for students how to learn to read. You use these skills and knowledge in addition to other means to help all of our students. Never hesitate to go to your building principals or create your own schedule to teach this program more often to help all the students you can. 

In closing those staff were all the forefathers (or mothers) of giving our students a second chance of learning to read which comes through regular ways for most others. Thank you for your passion for student learning, commitment to furthering your own skills, giving of extra time, and doing all you did to being the best in your field. We can have a good program to help the students, but it takes the teachers/staff to make it great and give the students the tools to be successful.

Our students could not ask for any better than you. 

Postsecondary Transition Planning webinar on January 23

Get registered today for a free webinar opportunity on how teachers are using the PTP application live during their IEP meetings and finding success! This webinar will include: what we learned from teachers that piloted the process, how they made it work for them and the IEP team, a panel of two teachers experiences with PTP live, as well as reports of parent and youth experiences with the PTP live! We hope you join us on Thursday, January 23rd from 3:30 - 4:30 pm to hear more. Register here today!

www.wsti.org (Brenda Swoboda)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Update from Department of Public Instruction on Testing/Accommodations Changes for 14-15

We will be talking more about this at upcoming building special education meetings.  Here is the latest information from Department of Public Instruction about the changes in testing and assessment next year through Mrs. Lundy. This information will needed when we write accommodations and list testing into the IEPs/504 plans which carry over into 14-15. 

Update from Department of Public Instruction on Testing/Accommodations Changes for 14-15

ACT (9-11)
  • All juniors will be required to take the ACT and Work Keys(using paper and pencil) in the spring of 2015
    • Juniors are required to take the test on the same day and at the same time. They are looking tentatively at March 3, 2015.
    • Make up day will tentatively be March 18, 2015.
  • All freshmen and sophomores will be taking the Aspire test instead of the Explore and Plan. This is a MAJOR change from the original reports. I guess ACT will no longer be supporting the Plan and Explore after a few years, so DPI decided to go with the Aspire instead.
    • The Aspire is not adaptive (it is the same test for everyone) and it is completely online.
    • There will be a window of about 2-3 weeks for all 9-10 students to take it.
    • Because it is the same test, there will be two forms (A and B). One year they will take A and the next they will take B.
    • It will be a predictor of how they will do on the ACT, but it is not based on a 36 pt scale. Instead, it is based on a 3 pts scale. Not sure how that will work.
    • During the first year only (2014-15) freshmen will have to take the Aspire twice (once in the spring and once in the fall).
WKCE-WAA/DLM (Dynamic Learning Maps)
  • The WKCE will only be given to 4th and 8th grade students, and only in the areas of social studies and science.
  • The WKCE will still be administered in the fall
  • The WAA (Wisconsin Alternative Assessment) will no longer be given. It will be replaced by the Dynamic Learning Maps test (DLM).
  • The DLM will be given in the spring and will be completely online. It is intended to be given to students who currently take the WAA and are being educated using the new Common Core extended elements.
  • This will replace the WKCE in reading and math for grades 3-8.
  • It is completely online.
  • There will be four parts for each grade level (Math and ELA; multiple choice section and performance task section)
  • There will be a window for students to take it that will be in the last 12 weeks of the school year.
  • The DPI purchased the interm package, so that there will be an option of schools giving a mini summative assessment in the beginning, middle of the year. In the future, there may be an option for schools to give a customized assessment to groups of students based on specific common core standards.
  • Starting next year, PK - 2 grade students will be required to take the fall and spring PALS assessment
  • Still paper and pencil test, results inputted online.
  • This test is moving to an online test and will require students to view video and speak into a microphone.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wilson Reading Training on January 13-15 in Medford

The Medford Area Public School District and Taylor County Literacy Council are hosting:

Wilson Reading Training
January 13-15
12:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Medford Area Elementary School Media Room

Trainer: Katharine Campbell

This will be a three day introductory overview which is needed to teach the Wilson Reading program. Wilson Reading programming is a core intervention program for our at-risk and special needs students across our school district for children up through adults. You can also talk with Wilson Reading Level I and Level II Certified Staff about their training and experiences with Wilson and its impact on students.

For more information on Wilson Reading go to their website at:

For more information please contact:

Joseph Greget
Director of Student Services/Special Education
715-748-2316 ext 324