Learning to read, reading to learn

Third grade reading proficiency is one of the most influential indicators for overall student success. Why? Before third grade, students are learning to read. But as they enter the fourth grade they must be able to read in order to continue learning. According to data from the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, roughly 67 percent of students nationwide - and more than 80 percent of those from low-income families - are not proficient readers by the end of the third grade. We bring together community volunteers, including teachers and school leaders from Racine Unified School District, nonprofits, and community members to use data to identify programs and strategies that will increase elementary reading achievement.   


Our Work

Data-driven decision-making is a core principle at Higher Expectations. We believe that, by constantly using data to understand how programs are working, we will ensure that we are improving programs that already exist and implementing new programs that will help us reach our goals. Higher Expectations is working closely with these programs by using data to see what works:


United Way of Racine County’s Schools of Hope

A United Way-led initiative in partnership with Racine Unified School District, local businesses, and community members, Schools of Hope provides young children with tutors on a regular basis to increase reading achievement in the early grades.


Wisconsin Reading Corps

Wisconsin Reading Corps works with Racine Unified School District, the Racine Community Foundation and Higher Expectations to bring their evidenced-based literacy intervention programs to four Racine Unified elementary schools: Julian Thomas, Knapp, North Park and Roosevelt. Learn more about Wisconsin Reading Corps by clicking here.


Continuous Improvement: Professional Learning Community

In 2016, Higher Expectations partnered with the Racine Unified School District (RUSD) to help teachers continuously use data to better track student progress and make improvements to ensure students are successful. Higher Expectations and many RUSD teachers participated in the School District of Menomonee Falls' Symposium on Continuous Improvement. There, participants saw firsthand how teachers and staff are using data to measure student achievement and adjust practices. Building on that work, Higher Expectations is now partnering with RUSD to implement Lean Six Sigma "Green Belt" projects that bring together teachers and administrators from all across the district to deepen skills in continuous improvement and apply learning to district challenges.


Racine Early Intervention Academy

With support from the StriveTogether Accelerator Fund, Higher Expectations partnered with Racine Unified School District (RUSD) to help 22 first and second grade teachers build their expertise around literacy. The initiative, known as Racine Early Intervention (REI), includes coaching from an RUSD literacy support teacher and participation in a Concordia University supported graduate-level course. Higher Expectations worked closely with RUSD to help track and analyze data on a regular basis to assess the impact of these supports on student achievement.  Now, RUSD is expanding the training to more teachers.


Elementary Reading Partners


Click on an icon to learn more about our other outcome areas: