The educators at St. John Vianney Catholic School are turning the page to a new chapter in improved reading skills.
The K-8 school at 1755 N. Calhoun Road this fall will launch a reading skills initiative that includes a support team prepared to assist teachers and students alike.
At its core, the new Learning Support Team is formalizing assessment of reading proficiency for every student from kindergarten through fifth grade. Principal Pamela Pyzyk said the approach to intervening when necessary in a student's reading skill growth is basic to all learning.
"You really need to know how to read and comprehend material for any subject and in all phases of life," Pyzyk said, adding that the Milwaukee Archdiocese is a driving force behind this reading initiative. She noted that while teachers have done a good job of assessing students in the past, they did not have access to a more formal approach. The new system provides an assessment of each student every six weeks throughout the school year.
"We will be much better positioned to give support where needed," Pyzyk said. She added that the school has a close relationship to the Elmbrook School District in assessing some students more critical reading and learning needs. On an annual basis, three to five students are referred to the public district for more evaluation and assessment of future needs.
"It's a great relationship and we will continue to have that," Pesky said. "Now, however, we will be able to identify more issues earlier and work with students more efficiently."
Courtney Albright, a first-grade teacher, will move into the full-time reading specialist position. Nancy Arena who has taught several grades at the school will become the part-time learning specialist. Together, they will work with Assistant Principal Jill Fischer to bring an intensive classroom-based program to various grades each morning. Albright will follow up as needed during afternoons.
"We have done a lot of work with teachers so far," Albright said, noting that it is not always easy to come into a teacher's classroom and be a natural part of that learning environment.
"It's a collaborative process," Arena said. "It takes time."
Learning Support Team members give Pyzyk credit for "jump-starting" the accelerated reading program. The principal is a former reading specialist who came to the school three years ago after an elementary principal stint at a public school in Hartford.
"It has been energizing to have a new approach to education," Albright said. "I am really looking forward to it.'
Parents also anticipate improved reading acumen. Allison Rusch, who has two children at St. John Vianney, said she is looking forward to the regular assessments.
"As a parent, you go along and talk to teachers at conferences and you hope your kids are dong well," Rusch said. "Having the assessments to look at will be a big help. It's great that they have put in these additional resources."
Pyzyk said the Learning Support Team efforts this year are a kind of pilot and that they may add additional learning areas and grades in the future.
FOUNDING:St. John Vianney was built in 1956 and accepted its first students in 1957.
GRADES: kindergarten through eighth grade
ENROLLMENT: averages about 475 annually
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Man charged with fleeing Brookfield police making drunken driving stop
- City: Drinking water is safe despite contamination warning
- Purses targeted in car break-ins outside Wilson Center
- Guaranty Bank in Brookfield robbed
- Auditors draw different conclusions on Azana spa shooter case
- Residents wait for answers on cell tower
- Business owners launch school funding initiative
- Elmbrook students honor most influential teachers
- St. John Vianney celebrates year's end with Grills and Guitars
- High school seniors can leave building during study hall period