Academics and Testing

Programs and Curriculum

Academics are at the core of what we do at the Institute of Technology and Academics. ITA prides itself on providing a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on the whole child. We believe that learning should be hands-on and engaging. We use nationally recognized, research-based programs as a foundation for instruction. Our goal is to ensure that our scholars leave our school at or above grade level and ready to compete with their peers nationally.


The Institute of Technology and Academics strives to ensure that all students become high level readers and writers. Students are expected to meet the State Standards in ELA adopted by the State of Wisconsin at each grade level. ITA uses a Balanced Literacy approach and stresses the essential components of Reading through explicit teaching of phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, expressiveness, vocabulary, comprehension, spelling, writing, and handwriting. 

Reader’s Workshop, Writer’s Workshop, Café Model and the Orton Gillingham approach to phonics are key features in our program. Teachers build strong literacy habit through a wide variety of instructional structures, including: whole group instruction, small group instruction, and one-on-one support. 


Everyday Mathematics is the core curricular resource used in our early childhood and elementary classes. It is a spiraled curriculum designed to build children’s conceptual understanding over time. The program stresses multiple representations, communication, tools, mathematical reasoning, and making sense of concepts and procedures.

In our middle school classes, scholars engage in rigorous mathematical content through the Engage New York program. This program is a spiraled, content-rich curriculum that incorporates performance tasks and conceptual learning opportunities.

Both Everyday Mathematics and Engage New York are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and provide our scholars with real world mathematical experiences. 

SHARP Literacy 

The SHARP Literacy program is tailored to help K5 through fifth grade students build reading, writing and researching skills by using the visual arts as the primary tool for learning. Each lesson corresponds with Wisconsin state-mandated curriculum and is aligned with the Milwaukee Public School district’s Comprehensive Literacy Plan and the Common Core Standards. With that strong foundation in place, our staff and the teachers in our participating schools develop each year’s Writing Challenge and other enrichment components. The program integrates literacy within the following social studies and science units: 

K5: Science – Plants
First grade: Science – Bees
Second grade: Science – Great Lakes
Third grade: Social Studies – Communities
Fourth grade: Social Studies – Wisconsin
Fifth grade: Social Studies – Building a Nation


The Institute of Technology and Academics uses the Full Option Science System (FOSS) at the 5-8 level.  FOSS strives to develop students’ abilities to do and understand scientific inquiry through:

Asking questions and defining problems 

Planning and conducting investigations

Analyzing and interpreting data

Developing and using models

Using mathematics, information and computer technology, and computational thinking

Constructing explanations and designing solutions

Engaging in argument from evidence

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Progress Monitoring and Testing

Wisconsin Forward Exam

The Wisconsin Forward Exam is an online assessment that is administered in schools across the state of Wisconsin. This standardized assessment is given to students once a year and measures student progress in Reading and Mathematics from year to year. 

STAR 360

The Star 360 assessment is an online progress monitoring tool that tracks academic growth in Reading and Mathematics. ITA scholars take this computer adaptive test four times a year. The teacher uses the data to provide targeted remediation and extension activities within the classroom.  

Benchmark Assessments

The Institute of Technology and Academics administers benchmark assessments in Reading each trimester. The benchmarks are centered around ITA’s “Power Standards.” The Common Cores Standards for Reading: Informational Standards Standards 1, 8, and 9 drive instruction and urge students to “Prove It,” “Explain It,” and “Compare It” every day.