Area school districts read all about West Allis' teaching method

April 3, 2012

West Allis - Elmbrook School District teachers are among the teams of educators who have been visiting West Allis-West Milwaukee Schools lately to learn how the local district teaches reading.

West Allis is in the third year of implementing the latest techniques that incorporate the best thinking of reading researchers, said Chris Vento-Bente, the former West Allis-West Milwaukee director of instruction who came out of retirement to be coordinator for the grants the district received for its reading program.

The schools have been awarded $325,000 in two competitive grants that are being used for teacher training involving intense staff development in reading comprehension and inquiry, she said.

A model lab was set up at Wilson Elementary School, while the other elementary schools are considered incubators, she said. Leadership teams in those incubator schools observe the model lab teachers at Wilson and then help their home teachers employ the new methods.

Visiting teacher teams have come from a school district in Minnesota, from Sheboygan and from the Indian Community School in Milwaukee.

In addition, information on how the model program at Wilson is being used to spread the best practices methods in reading throughout the school district has been requested by the Department of Public Instruction and state Superintendent Tony Evers.

- Jane Ford-Stewart

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