Lincoln-Way Reading Program Serves as Model for Other Districts
Monday, July 27, 2015

Lincoln-Way Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Tim Reilly last week offered a two-day workshop on the districts reading program to administrators and teachers from Eisenhower and MacArthur High Schools in Decatur, Illinois.

We learned a lot of engaging activities that we are excited to bring back to the classroom, said Eisenhower Principal Dr. Amy Zahm. We decided to implement this to give freshman students the reading strategies they need to be successful in all of their courses.

Lincoln-Way provided the curriculum and resources necessary for Decatur Public Schools to implement the freshman Reading Seminar course at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

Mary Ann Galligan, Eisenhowers Assistant Principal in charge of curriculum, said Lincoln-Ways freshman reading curriculum will help give all freshman the same experience, so they have a common event and a shared experience which will create a more cohesive culture among the students.

When we implemented Reading Seminar as a freshman requirement, we saw tangible results in that students had better test scores and were performing better academically as a whole, said Reilly. We are pleased to share our best practices with other districts because we have seen how successful the reading program has been with our own students.

Lincoln-Way reading scores soared from 66% meet and exceed in the early days of PSAE (2001-2004) to a high of 76% meet/exceed in 2010-2014, and those numbers have attracted more than 30 high schools and middle schools to attend Lincoln-Ways summer training sessions. Over 60 different Lincoln-Way teachers have been instructors in the program since its inception in 2005.

Manteno High School reading teacher and Lincoln-Way graduate Ryan Piento brought a unique perspective to the training session. Piento took Reading Seminar as a freshman high school student when it was first implemented at Lincoln-Way. It was his favorite class and he has since been hired at Manteno High School to teach the course there.

The teams from Decatur and Manteno were really enthusiastic about the program and its potential impact on their students, Reilly said. One of the best parts about our training is hearing the success stories from other schools and when they send us back ideas and insights on ways to improve what we do here. Its a win-win for everyone involved.