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Curious Minds - New WCATY Classes Respond to School Needs

New WCATY Classes Respond to School Needs

For years, WCATY has provided innovative and challenging courses through its online Academy. Students take these classes—offered through a hybrid-learning format—in lieu of those offered by their school districts. Students work independently during portions of their regular school day and attend three face-to-face meetings over the course of each nine-week class.  


Now, new WCATY offerings are being developed in response to a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction mandate that all school districts implement the Response to Intervention (RtI) model, a reform effort aimed at providing high-quality instruction for all students and targeted interventions for particular groups of students. Such interventions typically are delivered through 30- to 45-minute “blocks” of time during which student receive small-group instruction tailored to their learning needs.

The DPI defines the target population for RtI as those “at risk for poor learning outcomes or in need of increased challenge,” opening up the process to address the instructional needs of gifted students. However, many districts lack the capacity to do so, due to a lack of professional development for staff or funding constraints, and have approached WCATY for assistance.  


As a result, WCATY is reaching out to schools with a series of special, four-week, online “Project Academy” courses specifically designed for use during RtI blocks. They will run from October 6–31, 2014, and from February 23–March 20, 2015. The courses include: Write Your Own Dr. Who Fan Fiction, The Math of Pirates, Dissect Nature, and Complete WCATY’s Amazing Race. We encourage districts to contact us to learn more about this initiative, and school staff throughout the state to consider joining the effort as online instructors.


Rebecca Vonesh is director of WCATY’s online Academy. This piece originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in the  Spring 2014 edition of its newsletter,  the WCATY Good.