Please direct inquiries to: Dr. Caroline Pate-Hefty, 


WUSD Shares Data Showing Growth from New Literacy Instruction

WHITEWATER, WI — Recently released data from the Whitewater Unified School District’s implementation of literacy instruction practices aligned with the Science of Reading (SOR) in its elementary schools is showing exciting results. 

The data comes from the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills assessment (DIBELS), a measure of children’s foundational skills including fluency and comprehension in their journey through literacy. The assessments were given to WUSD elementary students in September 2023, as part of the shift to the SOR-aligned instructional model. To monitor students’ progress and the impact of the new SOR-aligned approach, students were again assessed in January 2024, four months after the change in instruction. 

January data indicates that, district-wide, the number of students grades K-5 testing above the grade level benchmark increased by nearly 33% from fall to winter. The number of students who initially tested below the grade level benchmark decreased by nearly 17%. “We are encouraged and thrilled for our students, as they all deserve to be reading on target; they are working tremendously hard!” reported Dr. Caroline Pate-Hefty, Superintendent. 

“Our teachers, Literacy Coaches, and our Elementary Principals: Mr. Adam Bretl, Mr. Brad Gefvert, and Mr. Tom Grosinske have dedicated themselves to achieving desired results. We are so thankful and proud! It is incredibly validating to see it all working,” said Pate-Hefty. “Additionally, our teachers are part of the Professional Learning Community that is giving feedback about the new curriculum adoption, led by our Director of Teaching and Learning, Ms. Terilyn Robles. We want to honor the significant contributions they are putting into this literacy movement.” 

In the fall of 2023, elementary schools in WUSD transitioned to aligning literacy instruction with SOR, a vast, interdisciplinary body of scientifically-based research focused on reading and writing. SOR uses key components of instruction that prove to be effective and is gaining traction in literacy instruction across the nation. More information regarding WUSD’s literacy programming and alignment with the Science of Reading can be found at