Verona school bucks trend of sliding literacy rates

VERONA, Wis. — As child literacy rates slide nationwide, a Verona school is bucking the trend.  Proficiency rates at Country View Elementary School are up this year as reports show 1 in 3 students across the country are missing reading benchmarks.  The New York Times even called it a “reading emergency“.

Test results at Country View show quick progress.  Compared to earlier this year, students of all grade levels are scoring higher in reading.  Proficiency rates are up as much as 43 percentage points.

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“Kids are raising their hands.  They’re really wanting to take ownership of their reading,” says teacher Hope Schroeder.  “It’s definitely a confidence booster,” she adds.

The success, Principal Jessica Beem says, is the direct result of growing a compassionate school community.

“It’s the work we’ve done these past two years on our mindset, how we see kids and what our hearts are telling us is best,” says Beem.

The strategy is to develop students’ emotional, social, and physical well-being so they see themselves as a learner.

“I can be positive, be strong, get my work done and do my job,” says third-grade student Armani Love.

“When you’ve made that connection those students know you care about them and you love them so they want to put their best self forward and wanting to achieve their greatness because they’ve a whole school of adult advocates that are willing to support them,” says Schroeder.

Another key part of their plan at Country View is staff collaboration.  Teachers meet often to share ideas and feedback which they say helps them find out what’s working so they can build on it.