Schools rock reading scores

Published 12:16 am Thursday, August 23, 2018

PHS, WSN are 2 of 50 schools recognized for improvement

Pleasant Home School and W.S. Harlan Elementary School are among the 50 schools across the state that will share $1 million awarded by the Alabama State Department of Education for reading success.

Superintendent of Covington County Schools Shannon Driver said that the award was based on improvement in last year’s third grade reading results.

“This award shows that we have improved significantly on our reading scores,” Driver said. “And that is what we are striving for every year.”

Each school will receive a $20,000 check from the ALSDE as a way of recognizing and incentivizing teachers and students who have worked hard to achieve proficiency in reading by the third grade, based upon last year’s Scantron Performance Series Reading Assessment.

“We take the reading Scantron test first in the fall and then again in the spring,” Driver said. “So when we compare the two, that is where we see if we improved.”

Driver said that he knew that the schools had done well, but was pleasantly surprised to be in the top 50 schools for reading growth.

“To be in the top fifty is a huge accomplishment,” Driver said. “I am very proud of our students and our faculty for working so hard to achieve this award.”

Driver said that since reading is the fundamental skill for all learning, he is excited to see growth in the subject.

“Everything is based on reading,” Driver said. “If students do well in reading, it is an indication that they will succeed.”

W.S. Harlan Elementary School principal Joy Colvin said that she is excited that her students and teachers will be recognized.

“I am so proud of our students and teachers for the hard work that they put in every day at our school,” Colvin said. “I am excited that they are getting the recognition they deserve from the state and that their efforts are brought to light for our community and beyond. The monetary reward is much appreciated and will go toward enhancing and improving educational experiences for the students at WSH.”

Pleasant Home School principal Craig Nichols said that it was a good surprise to see that they had made the list of 50.

“We worked really hard to improve our reading scores,” Nichols said. “So it was a really good surprise to see that we made the top 50. I am so proud of not only our third grade teachers, but our Kindergarten through second grade teachers as well, because they laid the foundation down.”

Nichols said that they have yet to decide what to do with the award money, but it will be used to further PHS’ learning.

“It is too early to know what to do with the money and we don’t know what stipulations come with it,” Nichols said. “But whether it be technology or just put it back in the fund for our program, we will definitely use it to enhance learning at PHS.”

Out of 1,071 elementary schools in the state, PHS and WSHES are in the top 50 for reading growth.

There will be a special recognition and awards ceremony in September at the ALSDE after the September Alabama State Board of Education meeting.

Gov. Kay Ivey, Alabama legislators and other dignitaries will be on hand to personally congratulate all 50 schools.