The Kershaw County Reading Council’s (KCRC) Administrator of the Year is doing everything she can to make sure students are reading at least at grade level. The KCRC named Jackson Elementary School Principal Matia Goodwin as its Reading Administrator of the Year at its annual recognition program Dec. 8.
Goodwin earned her recognition for her and her faculty’s efforts to:
• improve literacy among students by seeking help from the S.C. Department of Education (DOE);
• implement a reading initiative known as High Progress Literacy Classrooms (HPLCs); and
• incorporate other ways and resources to help teachers provide the best literacy practices and keep students reading.
“Reading was an area of weakness for our students,” Goodwin said. “You want every student reading text and working on their reading level.”
Goodwin’s goal in becoming Jackson’s principal was to have all students at least reading on grade level. The first major literacy improvement approach taken by Goodwin was contacting the DOE. The state provided a consultant to Jackson to analyze assessments and start working with teachers on creating HPLCs.
The initiative required professional development for all teachers, and instruction which included the best literacy practices was provided under the consultant’s supervision. Teachers were given a few resources to try different approaches for parts of literacy as basic as learning the proper sounds of letters.
One of those resources is the “Daily 5,” a foundation for structuring literacy time to keep students reading and improve their literacy skills. Daily 5 allows students to choose to “Read to Self,” “Work on Writing,” “Read to Someone,” “Listen to Reading” and perform “Word Work.”
HPLCs also make it possible for each student in each grade to take home seven to nine books each summer. The DOE-funded books are set up for students to view and take their picks. During the summer, students are responsible for keeping track of their reading in book logs.
Folders are kept for all students from the time they are in kindergarten through 5th grade to keep track of progress, giving teachers an idea about the level at which students are reading. The initiative also includes reading interventionists who work with students in need of additional literacy instruction four times a week.
Aside from the DOE resources given to her and her staff, Goodwin said she and her faculty have sought out additional reading resources to foster literacy.
“(Teachers) get really excited when they go out and find things,” Goodwin said. “We may try it in one classroom and if it works, we keep it.”
Goodwin makes sure all classrooms stay stocked with books with classroom libraries and also placed a “level library” in a break room with books organized according to reading level for faculty to use.
Other resources in use, among others, include Raz-Kids, Zoo-Phonics and the Fountas and Pinnell Assessment and Literacy System. As a result of all the resources and tactics used to tackle literacy issues, Goodwin said she and Jackson staff have learned a lot about reading and writing during the past three years. She said they will continue to work towards the ultimate goal of getting all students reading on a appropriate grade level.
In addition to naming Goodwin as its administrator of the year, the KCRC also named Molly Eckenroth, of Camden Elementary School, as its Elementary Reading Teacher of the Year; and Tammy Small, of Lugoff-Middle School (L-EMS), as Secondary Reading Teacher of the Year.
An independent panel made up of current and former K-12 educators from outside Kershaw County assessed all applicants, according to organizers.
The panel selected Eckenroth for her constant effort to integrate reading throughout all content areas to foster a love of reading among her students. Small, according to the panel, helped write L-EMS’ literacy plan, serves as a reading interventionist and served on the district’s strategic planning team for writing.