Congratulations 2013 S.P.I.R.E. Super Stars!

The S.P.I.R.E.® Super Star Awards recognize students who have overcome significant challenges to improve their reading proficiency, as well as teachers who go above and beyond on a daily basis to provide their students with every opportunity to improve their skills.

It is very rewarding for all of us at EPS to learn about the dedication and perseverance of these award recipients and the incredible achievements they have made. Congratulations on an outstanding year!

Use the tabs below to read about our 2013 S.P.I.R.E. SuperStars. Click here to learn more about the S.P.I.R.E. reading program.

  • S.P.I.R.E. Super Stars
  • S.P.I.R.E. Teacher of Excellence

READING Winner S.P.I.R.E. Super Stars

Winner – 2013 S.P.I.R.E. Super Star of the Year
Sebastian, 3rd Grade Student
Nominated by: Randi Sherrer, Lake Travis Elementary, Austin, TX

I nominate Sebastian for the S.P.I.R.E. Super Star Award. Sebastian is a special needs student who has used S.P.I.R.E. since second grade. He started in a Level 1 and is now finishing 3rd grade in a Level 4 S.P.I.R.E. book!

Sebastian is a boy who can easily shut down when he does not feel successful. The repeated lesson-style format of S.P.I.R.E. has helped Sebastian become familiar with the process over the years. He understands the S.P.I.R.E. lessons so well that he sometimes corrects the teacher when she makes a mistake! S.P.I.R.E. has built his confidence in reading, and he loves the stories and readers.

Every day, Sebastian is eager to learn. He loves his phonetic and sight word cards and counting how many cards he read correctly S.P.I.R.E. has made him a more fluent reader. He has already asked me if he will finish Level 4 before the year end, because he is anxious to get to the next level in 4th grade. He also loves to use the workbook after a lesson. He enjoys working with his small group buddies to read sentences and find the words that fit, or match a picture to a word.

S.P.I.R.E. has truly worked for Sebastian!

Finalist – 2013 S.P.I.R.E. Super Star
Alexis B., 4th Grade Student
Nominated by: Deborah Tomich, Evart Elementary School, Evart, MI

I would like to nominate my fourth grade student Alexis. I feel that Alexis would be the best candidate to receive the S.P.I.R.E. Super Star Award based on the fact that she is always willing to work and does her best each and every day. She has made significant reading gains over a two year period despite several behavioral issues and problems outside of school.

Before Alexis began receiving these services she struggled in the general education classroom. She refused to work or co-operate. She needed repeated directions from the teacher for every activity or lesson they were doing in class. She also has a very vivid imagination which often distracts her from getting her work done. She has moved several times between parents and dealt with new siblings. She does without many of the extra comforts most students take for granted. Despite all these obstacles, Alexis have had to overcome she continues to make progress using the S.P.I.R.E. reading program.

I began working with Alexis providing reading and math services when she was in third grade (2011-2012). She also receives speech and social work services through the school. She first came to my class reading at a low first grade level. She began reading S.P.I.R.E. Level 1, based on test 4: decoding words, which showed that she had significant trouble recognizing and reading short vowel sounds. She ended that school year reading in S.P.I.RE. Level 4.

Alexis is now reading at a middle third grade level with excellent comprehension skills. She likes the structured lessons and knows what is expected of her each day using the 10 step process. Alexis knows the 97 sight words and began working in level 6 this past week. The work in her notebook is very neat and always done correctly. She is always conscience of making all the spelling corrections to the dictated sentences.

To sum it all up I asked Alexis why she liked the S.P.I.R.E. reading program. Her reply was, "It’s PERFECT!!!"

Finalist – 2013 S.P.I.R.E. Super Star
Abby C., 4th Grade Student
Nominated by: Kathy Bleitner, St. Gabriel the Archangel School, St. Louis, MO

I would like to nominate Abby, a fourth grader at St. Gabriel the Archangel School in St. Louis, MO, as a S.P.I.R.E. Super Star. I have worked with Abby since 1st grade using S.P.I.R.E., and she has shown a significant improvement in her reading. We use the DIBEL assessment to watch these improvements take place. She is tested 3 times during the school year, and her scores increase every time she takes a test.

Over the years, I have witnessed Abby improve in her reading, learning to live with a form of dyslexia and eye tracking issues.S. P.I.R.E. has helped tremendously with these challenges and has also given her the confidence to see that she can do it. She also has an incredible work ethic and has learned to reach out for help if she needs it.

I have watched Abby in the classroom. She is an active learner, meaning she works hard and is not afraid to ask for assistance. She is organized and is dedicated to her own education. Her confidence has skyrocketed because of her success using the S.P.I.R.E. program.

I hope Abby is considered for the Super Star of the Year Award, because of all the students I work with, she has shown the most progress, not only because of S.P.I.R.E. , but also because of her fortitude and love of learning.

Finalist – 2013 S.P.I.R.E. Super Star
Mandi C., 1st Grade
Nominated by: Candy Vela, Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy, Grand Rapids, MI

My student Mandi is a 1st grader at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy. In my heart I knew Mandi had it in her to improve. I put Mandi in with 2nd - 3rd grade students in my resource room class. We all started S.P.I.R.E. Level 1. Although we started late in the year, Mandi has made great gains. She is spelling words and writing sentences that are better than my other students. I am proud of her because she proved that she can do anything if you give her a chance!

READING Winner S.P.I.R.E. Teacher of Excellence

Winner – 2013 Teacher of Excellence

Amy Collins, Reading Teacher
Nominated by: Eileen Cassidy, Director of Education, Villa Maria School, Stamford, CT

I want to nominate Amy Collins, a reading teacher at Villa Maria School for the S.P.I.R.E. 2013 Teacher of Excellence Award. After using the PAF program in conjunction with the Merrill readers and workbooks for several years, Amy was looking for material to use with a few second grade students who had not solidified their decoding and needed review. She chose the S.P.I.R.E. program. She taught herself the program using the teacher’s manual, and her students had amazing success. She has since attended a workshop and come back and shared what she learned with other reading teachers here at Villa. Consequently, enthusiasm is building here for the program, especially when Amy shows other teachers how well her students have done.

Amy’s class is extremely organized. She implements each step of the program with enthusiasm and fidelity. This year her second grade students have moved through three levels quickly and eagerly. They have not only increased their decoding and comprehension skills but have developed a love of reading independently. Her students work hard every minute they are in her class, but they don’t realize it because they are having fun. She individualizes supports for students as needed and collaborates with the speech therapist so she can reinforce what students are learning in her sessions with them.

Parents, students and staff at Villa will confirm how excellent a teacher Amy Collins is.