History of the Literacy Centers


Since 1943, the Literacy Centers have helped more than 20,000 children improve their reading abilities. In part, we credit this success to teaching that is based on proven, research-based principles. But we also recognize that there is no one way to teach a child. So we use a thorough evaluation and continuing assessment of progress to plan for instruction designed to meet each student's needs.

Read more about our history and see some great (very old) photos!
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Some of the Literacy Centers' historical highlights include:

  • 1943: Stritch opens the St. Clare Reading Clinic in the basement of the education building - one of the first such clinics in the U.S.
  • 1946-1948: A clinic in reading is established at Marquette University, including an adult class, of which veterans formed a large part.
  • 1951: Sisters of St. Francis open an Educational Clinic in Boston.
  • 1954: A summer reading program, sponsored by Catholic Charities and the Department of Education, is established in the Archdiocese of Chicago, providing in-service training to approximately 600 teachers, and training for 20-30 supervising specialists.
  • 1956: Stritch begins a program of studies leading to one of the nation's first master's degrees in reading.
  • 1967: : With a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, a new three-level Reading Clinic is built on the University campus, for instructional purposes for children, adolescents and adults; for training University students in the graduate Reading program; and for testing and evaluation.
  • 1968: the Clinic celebrates its 25th Anniversary.
  • 1981: First Lady, Barbara Bush, wife of then Vice President Bush,visits the Reading Clinic and receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University.
  • 1983: The highly successful clinic is renamed the Reading/Learning Center to acknowledge its clinical, developmental and enrichment programs.
  • 2006: The Center begins a partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) at Sherman Multicultural Arts School, first with an intensive residency in advanced literacy for selected teachers, then school wide literacy staff development, and finally, an onsite Literacy Center for two years.
  • 2007: Drs. Molly Shiffler (director of Stritch Literacy Centers) and JoAnne Caldwell (chair of the University Ph.D. program in Literacy and Language), develop the CLIFFTOPS intervention model for literacy. The School of Urban Initiatives within the College of Education and Leadership expands its outreach to settings strategically chosen to serve the highest need neighborhoods in Milwaukee: the Urban Literacy Center at Cardinal Stritch University - City Center and the Urban Literacy Center at MPS’s Townsend Street School.
  • 2009-2010: The Center partners with MPS as part of the No Child Left Behind Act and provides Supplementary Education Services at the University Center, City Center (Pabst Redevelopment property), and Sherman Multicultural Arts School .
  • 2010: The Literacy Center begins training teachers from public and private schools in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood in advanced certification and assessment intervention.
  • 2011-2012: The Milwaukee Science Education Consortium (of which Stritch University is a member) opens up Milwaukee Academy of Science as an independent charter school.  The Literacy Center provides after-school intervention services.
  • 2012MPS begins its federally-financed public after-school tutoring program (GEAR-UP) and the Literacy Center expands to the Lincoln Center for the Arts on Milwaukee’s lower east side.  And through a private partnership, the Literacy Center also expands to Greentree/Teutonia Community Learning Center on the city’s north side.
  • 2013: The Literacy Center expands to Vincent High School on Milwaukee’s north side.
  • 2014: The Lincoln Center for the Arts moves to Madison High School in the Fall of 2014. A summer 4-week science and literature program begins at the City Center location as part of teh Special Education Practicum.
  • 2017The Literacy Center in Glendale begins offering math assessment and tutoring services for students in grades K-12, as well as tutoring for ACT testing. The Center changes its name to the Literacy and Math Center. Also in 2017, through a partnership with Nehemiah Project, Inc., two new literacy centers were opened.  One is at the Leana Sommers’ Youth and Teen Literacy Center at the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care at the Bucyrus Campus on 24th and North Avenue.  The second it at Pathways High.  (Enrollment restrictions apply at both of these centers.)
  • 2018: The Literacy Center celebrates its 75th ANNIVERSARY!

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