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.