SOURCE: Scholastic Inc.

Scholastic Inc.

May 24, 2010 14:32 ET

"READ 180"® and "System 44"® Outstanding Educators Turn Students' Lives Around

Scholastic Recognizes Four Extraordinary Teachers for Their Hard Work in Helping Students Learn to Read

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 24, 2010) -  Scholastic Education today announced the three winners of the READ 180® Outstanding Educator Awards and the single winner of the first annual System 44® Outstanding Educator Award. The honors are awarded to remarkable teachers who have achieved great results for their students using Scholastic's READ 180 and System 44 reading intervention programs. These educators have gone above and beyond to help their students overcome their reading challenges and stay in school, truly turning students' lives around.

"The ability to read is a fundamental right and skill that makes all others possible," said Margery Mayer, President, Scholastic Education, a division of Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children's publishing, education and media company. "At Scholastic, we have always strived to make sure that kids learn to read and love to read and that teachers have the right tools to make that happen. At a time when one-third of American high school students are dropping out of school -- largely because they struggle with reading and have fallen behind their classmates -- READ 180 and System 44 Outstanding Educators prove that with a great teacher and the right instruction, anything is possible. We are proud to honor these educators' commitment and salute their achievements."

The Outstanding Educator Awards are determined by a Scholastic selection committee that reviews hundreds of nominations. Each nomination includes a statement about the educator by a colleague who has submitted the nomination, a statement by the educator, and a statement from a student about the impact the educator has had. 

The 2010 READ 180 Outstanding Educators are:

Elementary School

Lauren Liebermann -- Noah Webster MicroSociety Magnet School, Hartford, CT

Lauren started the 2009 school year new to READ 180, but her 27 years of experience as a Special Education teacher made her accustomed to teaching students reading on many different levels. Since beginning READ 180, Lauren has continued to change the lives of her students, empowering them to beat the odds and achieve success in the classroom.

Lauren's peers cite her positive influence in creating a safe, interesting, and challenging learning environment for her students to gain confidence with literacy, communication skills, and a technology environment. Thanks to her dedication and READ 180, Lauren's students who once struggled with behavioral problems and hated to read are now developing a new love for reading that they will carry with them for a lifetime. In just a few months of teaching READ 180, the majority of her students were already gaining more than a year in reading.

"When I came here in 5th grade, I was at a 2nd grade reading level," wrote a student of hers who is now reading on grade level with Ms. Leibermann's help. "Now I am reading at a 7th grade level and still trucking. I feel like a STAR!"

Middle School

Andrea Barnes -- Aragon Middle School, Houston, TX

Andrea is a leader in her district and a true motivator to her students because of the incredible, long-lasting bonds she has built with her students by using her own personal travels as teachable moments. While nearly half of the students in Andrea's classroom are economically disadvantaged and have never had the opportunity to visit different parts of the world, Andrea integrates her travel stories into her instruction, introducing her students to new cultures and communities.

Andrea recognizes that building awareness of world cultures creates a high-interest learning environment for her students, motivating them to think critically and become passionate about new topics. Her students have credited her with not only helping them achieve academically, but in opening their worlds to new possibilities. In less than a year, virtually every student made significant gains in reading, some by more than two grade levels in just a few months.

"Ms. Barnes is by far the best teacher I have ever had, not just because I love to read (now), but because of how she helped me throughout the year," one of her students wrote. "I owe my now being able to read better all to Ms. Barnes."

High School

Terri Taylor -- Englewood High School, Jacksonville, FL

In addition to teaching Stage C of READ 180, Terri also serves as the Chairperson for the School Reading Department, and the combination of the two roles makes her a notable leader in her school and district. But what really sets Terri apart as an Outstanding Educator is the mentorship she gives the students in her classroom. 

Terri is consistently coming up with new and creative ideas to motivate her students and guide them toward success, such as inviting guest speakers into her classroom and creating a "Points Store" as an incentive for students. At the beginning of the school year, Terri reiterates to her students that READ 180 is an opportunity for them to change their lives forever. This sets the stage for learning in Terri's classroom and she creates monthly goals for her students as stepping stones for their success. By signing a contract, her students vow to try their best, and when they reach their goals, Terri rewards their achievements.

Many of her students started the year reading at a 2nd or 3rd grade level, and others were two or three years behind. But almost all of them made at least one year's worth of reading gains, with several progressing even more -- no matter their unique challenges.

"Ms. Taylor has been a model teacher here at Englewood High," wrote her nominating educator. "I've seen her first hand, firmly yet caringly helping her students get back on the right track."

The 2010 System 44 Outstanding Educator is:

Scott Toonder -- Marvine Elementary School, Bethlehem, PA

Scott's strong leadership skills and his students' incredible gains in reading scores made him the perfect candidate for implementing Scholastic's newest foundational reading program, System 44. Scott integrated System 44 into his READ 180 classroom to meet the needs of the most struggling readers. Teaching the most struggling students can be a daunting task, but Scott's mastery of System 44 allows his students to achieve incredible results.

One of Mr. Toonder's students began the year with almost no decoding skills and needed fundamental phonics instruction -- leaving her with no desire to read. After just five months, she was reading on a 3rd grade level!

Scott's passion for teaching and meeting the needs of all of his students is evident. His hard work has merited notable success for one student, Gregmarie Almodovar, who received one of the nine 2009 READ 180 All-Star Awards, which recognizes students who have made tremendous progress in learning to read.

"In addition to the astounding Lexile growth his students are making, Mr. Toonder contributes to the professional development of other READ 180 teachers," a colleague wrote about him. "The students of Bethlehem Area School District... are fortunate to have this outstanding READ 180 educator as their teacher."

The READ 180 and System 44 Outstanding Educators will each receive a $1,200 check from Scholastic, an all-expenses paid trip to the National Summer Institute in Orlando, Florida, and a commemorative plaque. Additionally, the Nominating educators of the 2010 Scholastic Outstanding Educator Award Winners will receive a READ 180 Xtra™ Collection for their classroom.

Click here to learn more about READ 180 and System 44.

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