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Stritch and Racine Unified School District partner to impact student reading success

Cardinal Stritch University and the Racine Unified School District (RUSD) have launched an innovative partnership to improve student performance and help offset the learning loss students are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 80 educators from RUSD are currently enrolled in Stritch’s Reading Teacher Licensure program.

“The educators are able to apply what they are learning in our program to their work in their classrooms and have an immediate impact on their students’ success,” said Rhonda Schoonover, chair of Stritch’s Literacy Department and an assistant professor in the Teacher Educator department. “Teachers from a wide range of grade levels and content areas are enrolled, so students of all ages and ranges of literacy development will benefit from this partnership.”

The program prepares teachers, especially those who are striving toward literacy development in grades PK-12, to provide focused and intensive reading instruction. Educators who successfully complete the program are eligible for the State of Wisconsin Reading Teacher license.

“We are grateful for this partnership with Stritch,” said RUSD Deputy Chief Academic Officer Janell Decker. “Working together, we are significantly increasing the number of teachers who have specific training in how to teach students to read. Putting these trained educators in front of students is going to make a difference.”

Kristin Williams, a teacher at Walden III and Case High School, shared, “reading is a part of learning. Students cannot fully comprehend content texts if they are lacking the tools to successfully read them.” Williams, who earned her teaching license and a master’s degree in secondary education from Stritch, will “have new tools and a better understanding of how to help students in my Literacy class as well as struggling readers.”

Stritch has been a pioneer in literacy research, intervention and instruction since it was founded by the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi in 1937 to prepare their members to become teachers.