Literacy a focus at Pioneer Elementary

Posted by Pierz Schools on 1/26/2024

Hello Pioneer Elementary Families, 

As we’ve turned the page to a new year and a new semester, we have a myriad of things happening at Pioneer Elementary. This is the time of year that we look to maximize student learning. Routines are in place and better than ever. Students have built strong relationships with their teachers and classmates. Teachers are poised and ready to prepare our students for the end-of-year achievement goals and assessments. The upcoming end-of-year assessments are ones we celebrate as we have consistently outpaced our regional peers in all areas. We have top-notch students here at Pioneer and it shows in all that they do! Here are a few highlights of what we’ve been up to this year and more importantly, where we are headed.

Leaning into Literacy

Literacy, which includes all things reading and writing, has been our focus at Pioneer. Teachers have worked tirelessly on early-out and in-service days to hone our instruction around reading and enhance our techniques with students. This year, we have been particularly focused on the area of building vocabulary and background knowledge. Having a solid foundation in words and their meanings is critical to understanding what we read. For example, if you’ve never heard of the game of Cricket, it makes reading a text about it extremely difficult. However, a text around a more familiar topic, such as farming or wintery weather, becomes exponentially easier. 

In the world of reading, the saying “Knowledge Matters” holds true and it’s built through science, social studies, and music as well as the everyday experiences we share with our children. 

One particular focus of training this fall and again last week with Mary Jorhal, literacy consultant from Sourcewell, was on oral language and the “big, bold audacious” words we speak with students. So…don’t be surprised if your student comes home asking you if your day was “delightful” today or if the weather is going to be “horrendous’ tomorrow!


There’s been a fair amount of new legislation this year and of particular importance to Pioneer is the READ Act. Within this act are guidelines for teacher training as well as curriculum selection that will help students gain the skills to read and comprehend. Not surprisingly, many of our teachers have already taken or are in the process of taking this training. The training, LETRS, has already become instrumental in our instructional planning and a turning point for many teachers in their classrooms. We look forward to rolling out the READ act within Pioneer and are thrilled to announce we already have many of the portions of the act already in place!


As you walk the halls of Pioneer, you will not find a more caring and dedicated group of people working with students. From the playground to the classroom, students are learning to navigate their world, find their passions, and build positive relationships that will impact them for a lifetime. We are definitely ONE-OF-A-KIND and we thank you for entrusting your children and their learning to us!

Mr. Tom Otte, Principal

Ms. Wendy Becker, Assistant Principal