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Model school: West Lowndes ‘builds on success’


Dispatch Staff Report



West Lowndes Elementary School at a Wednesday assembly celebrated being named a Renaissance Reading Model School. 


Renaissance Learning Inc. of Madison, Wis.., the company responsible for the Accelerated Reader program, May 7 announced WLES received national recognition for achieving the status of Reading Model School. 


"This prestigious award indicates that West Lowndes Elementary School''s leadership has demonstrated that their students are maintaining high-quality reading practice for a minimum of 12 weeks," Bobbi Vaughn, elementary coordinator for Lowndes County School District, wrote in a press release. "In addition, educators must be actively working with individual students to meet Renaissance-recommended standards and be helping each student work at the level that promotes the most growth." 


"Our school has been utilizing Accelerated Reader for over six years," said Robert Sanders, principal of WLES, noting the program offers an evaluative test to start students at an independent reader level. Students then test on books within their level and work toward the next level. 


"It builds on success," Sanders said. 


"AR provides daily formative assessment and periodic progress-monitoring technology to enhance core curriculum, support differentiated instruction and personalize reading practice," Vaughn explained.  


And the reading Model School designation wouldn''t have been possible without cooperation from parents, educators and students, he added. 


"If there''s any pieces that are missing from that then it''s very difficult to achieve that goal," said Sanders. "It also lets our students know that they are capable of achieving such recognition." 


Eleven WLES classrooms have achieved model certification and been certified through their teachers. Two of those classrooms went on to achieve master status, the next level of certification. Minnie Williams, the school''s librarian, has certified her library for both model and master levels. 


"Allowing time for students to practice their reading skills is fundamental to reading success. Quality implementation of Renaissance best practices and high standards is a must if students are to reap the available benefits from AR," said Vaughn. 


"AR is just a piece of software; quality implementation by the teacher of best practices will result in the reading growth we are trying to achieve," she continued. "West Lowndes Elementary is well on its way to more reading growth. Congratulations! " 


Caledonia Elementary School became Mississippi''s first Renaissance model school in 1998. 





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