Public educators are being asked to prepare the next generation of students to be college and career ready, and the traditional practices for instruction don’t allow for students to attain sufficient and authentic practice in critical thinking and writing/communication skills in order to meet this goal. While many teachers are up to this challenge, help from multiple fronts is necessary. This challenge isn’t the fault of schools; teachers lack the curriculum and often the time to provide the scope of skills to enhance their learning and prepare them for college and job application. The REACCT (“Read Evidence; Analyze; Communicate; and Critical Thinking”) Writing Coach Program was developed by IM Education in response to the need of enhanced writing, critical thinking, and analytical skills in young people. The program operates in partnership with the Wisconsin CESA #4 (Cooperative Educational Service Agency – Community Area Four), one of the twelve nonprofit Cooperative Educational Service Agencies, created by the Wisconsin legislature, which serve educational needs in all areas of Wisconsin.
The goal of the program is to provide students with complementary academic instruction while seamlessly being implemented during day-time learning with limited or no interruption to routine teaching and learning. IM Education provides one-to-one and classroom instruction to support middle and high school teachers and students. Each program is individually tailored to a specific school, and, for the past three years, has operated under three pillars of instruction: Content-Based Writing and Critical Thinking, College and Career Readiness, and ACT Writing Preparation. A new program, the Course-Embedded Writing Coach Program, is being piloted in 2018/19.
Based on the premises and concepts of growth-mindset and student equity, the REACCT Writing Coach Program is a supplement to classroom teaching that enhances learning for the student. Well-trained Writing Coaches work alongside teachers to complement and enhance instruction and students gain the experience of supportive critical thinking and writing interventions. Employers, both regionally and across the nation, are continuing to ask for more training in soft skills and communication. By working with students to develop writing and critical thinking skills, the REACCT Writing Coach Program fulfills this need. Through the integration of critical thinking and further implementation of speaking, reading, viewing and writing, students are able to advance their skills, and our communities will see more successful employees and students.
Writing Coaches, who are experienced educators, use various tools such as experiential learning, forums, civic engagement activities, information technology and media literacy, printed materials, and project-based learning opportunities to engage all types of learners. By being flexible with its menu of services, IM Education is able to meet the individual needs of each school.