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Friday, Feb. 23
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

IU works with high school teachers to prep students for reading

The University will soon be lending a helping hand to high school teachers in the art of teaching undergraduate-level reading and writing.

IU faculty will collaborate with high school teachers on the Writing and Reading Alignment Project.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education awarded $286,662 to the IU School of Education and the IU Department of English for WRAP to assist high school teachers from marginalized school districts prepare students for collegiate reading and writing
curriculum.

“We’re acting as facilitators to aid the language arts faculty of high school teachers as they work to improve the reading and writing of their students,” said Ray Smith, clinical associate professor in the Department of Literacy.

Two cohorts of teachers will travel to Bloomington.

Once the groups are in Bloomington, the teachers will collaborate with IU faculty and participate in a series of workshops to fortify their teaching skills.

“What we’ll do is work with them in designing assignments and choosing readings that are most beneficial for their students,” Smith said. “It’ll help them ensure that a greater percentage of their students are ready for college when the time comes.”

The idea of WRAP blossomed through discourse between some of IU’s faculty and high school teachers who were uncertain if students were being properly prepared for college.

“We often discussed the academic gaps that can happen when high school students leave for college,” said Ada Simmons, former director of the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration and co-director of WRAP.

“Teachers wondered how well-prepared students were when entering these writing composition courses. The idea grew out of those conversations.”

Improving Teacher Quality Grant, a federal program supported by the U.S. Department of Education, funds WRAP, Ali Curtis, Indiana Commission for Higher Education Communications manager said.

To receive funding, a program must aim to enhance academic achievement by professionally developing teachers and principals in core academic subjects. Additionally, institutions of higher education must be collaborating with “high-need” local education agencies.

The majority of the funding will serve the high school teachers, Simmons said.

It will help provide them with resources for their classroom and pay for their travel, lodging and meals while in Bloomington. The teachers and participating IU faculty will be paid a stipend.  

Through WRAP, the IU faculty hopes it will serve as a conduit for high schools to understand what will be expected of their students if they attend college, Smith said.

“We’re going to work with them in an attempt to articulate very clearly the kind of reading and writing that college-bound students ought to be able to do,” Smith said.

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