Congratulations 2014 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 2014 S.P.I.R.E. Super Stars. Click here to learn more about the S.P.I.R.E. reading intervention program.

Winner – 2014 S.P.I.R.E. Super Star of the Year

Tiffany, 4th Grade Student, Pentucket Lake Elementary, Haverhill, MA

Nominated by Kristin Grenier, Special Education Teacher

Tiffany is a wonderful little girl who has worked so hard to increase all of her skills in reading. She is an ELL student and has a significant learning disorder. She started in my 3rd grade class not knowing the alphabet or any sounds the letters made. She had very little encoding and decoding skills. I could tell she just wanted to learn how to read and with her hard work and perseverance she has. She worked in a small reading group daily with the S.P.I.R.E. reading program. She loved it even though it was hard for her. With her hard work and determination she is now starting level 3 of the program. I am very proud of her!

Finalist – 2014 S.P.I.R.E. Super Star

Zandaja, 4th Grade Student, LaFayette Elementary School, Kipling, NC

Nominated by Stacie Wood, Lead Exceptional Children's Teacher

At the beginning of this school year Zandaja was reading on a second grade reading level. She is an extremely shy child, and speaks at almost a whisper due to a lack in confidence. As the year progressed, Zandaja began showing a lot of growth within the S.P.I.R.E. program, beginning in Level 3 and now midway through Level 4! She has successfully passed all of the quick checks throughout the lessons as well as the end of book post assessments. I am very proud to say that Zandaja has increased her confidence as we can now hear her when she speaks using a much louder tone. Zandaja enjoys learning, comes to school every day, and tries her best... even when she is not feeling well. We have also had many different visitors throughout the year observing her group in S.P.I.R.E. and she has handled those moments like a champ. I am looking forward to continuing S.P.I.R.E. with her next year—the possibilities with her are endless!

Finalist – 2014 S.P.I.R.E. Super Star

Jose, 9th Grade Student, Brandon High School, Brandon, FL

Nominated by Elizabeth Holloman, Reading Teacher

Jose has made huge gains this year in Intensive Reading One through the use of S.P.I.R.E., Academy of READING, and MCI. At the beginning of the year, Jose was reluctant to give S.P.I.R.E. a chance because he was unable to see how it would help him to improve his reading ability. He began his first year of high school reading at a low 7th grade level; this was not an area he felt comfortable in, nor did he think he was capable of improving. Through pure hard work and dedication to bettering himself, Jose has made vast improvements in his reading ability. His Lexile score went from a 750 all the way up to 1245 in his freshmen year, simply because he made a conscious effort to believe in the program and give it his all. He is a shining example for all students, showing that with determination and hard work, anything is possible. The smile on his face when he found out just how much he has improved truly expressed how much more confident he now feels. He is willing to read out loud now and volunteers to work with other students to help them improve their own capabilities. I truly believe Jose is the perfect fit for the 2014 S.P.I.R.E. Super Star Award.

Winner – 2014 Teacher of Excellence

Elizabeth Holloman, Reading Teacher, Brandon High School, Brandon, FL

Nominated by Karina Streeter, Reading Coach

It is my greatest pleasure to endorse Elizabeth “Betsy” Holloman as the S.P.I.R.E. Teacher of Excellence Award due to her dedication to not only her students, but to her profession as an Intensive Reading One (IR One) teacher in Hillsborough County.

Since my appointment as Reading Coach at Brandon High School, I have seen all of the materials and resources provided by S.P.I.R.E. used to its full potential in Ms. Holloman’s class. She has mastered the ability to make each rotation meaningful, monitored, relevant, and rigorous to each student in her IR One class, as well as creating a culture in which students feel comfortable to participate and support their fellow classmates.

Concretely through S.P.I.R.E. and Ms. Holloman’s tutelage, her students have shown consistent growth on district, curriculum-based, and state assessments. Ms. Holloman’s IR One class has shown significant growth on both the reading comprehension and MAZE portion of Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR) and her students’ exam averages during the first semester of the 2013-2014 school year ranked second for the District. Her constant dedication to her students and the interpretation and coalition of their data has caused many schools in our District to ask for her support, which she has willingly and graciously provided. Ms. Holloman has opened her classroom to many high schools and maintains communication and mentorship with many of the IR One teachers that came to observe her class.

The parents of her students constantly rave about her consistent communication and her creation of “Intensive Reading One Night”, where they were allowed the opportunity to observe their child and actively participate in each of the three rotations imbedded in her IR One class. Each parent in attendance left understanding and truly seeing the relevance of each rotation, such as S.P.I.R.E., and feeling truly confident that Ms. Holloman would be a significant player in their child’s success.

Finalist – 2014 Teacher of Excellence

Aimee Stevens, Reading Teacher, Lennard High School, Ruskin, FL

Nominated by Ashlee Predmore, Reading Coach

Mrs. Stevens has done an outstanding job implementing the S.P.I.R.E. program. She engaged the students at the beginning of the year with a Jenga game! She used this game to build class culture and help them understand why they need the elements of the S.P.I.R.E. program. Jenga, a game of building blocks and balancing, was played to show them that there are holes in their fundamental reading abilities and when there are too many holes, the structure collapses. Helping her students to understand that if you lack a foundation in reading you are unable to comprehend; what you’re reading just doesn’t make much sense. She explained they needed to fill in these holes to make a firm, sturdy foundation and help them be successful. Then she began doing just that, by building their phonemic awareness.

She received support from our Administration to provide incentives for her students along the way and encouraged her students to participate in our school's Wimauma Elementary Community Service Project. This Project is designed to build a library of books in homes of children starting from Kindergarten. Lennard High School students visited the school monthly and read to the students and then passed out donated books. Each elementary student got a book to take home during each visit. By encouraging her students to participate, she was encouraging them to read more, build fluency, and serve within their local community.

She also completes data chats with her students on a regular basis. These chats help the students understand how far they've advanced within S.P.I.R.E., MCI, and Academy of READING and set goals for the weeks to come and develop any areas of weakness. She is the type of teacher that has high expectations for her students and manages the demands of the S.P.I.R.E. program to help "fill the holes" and help these students overcome their struggles with reading. Mrs. Stevens is very deserving of this award!

Finalist – 2014 Teacher of Excellence

Marguerite Pryor, Reading Interventionist, Liberty Elementary School, Franklin, TN

Nominated by April Harper, Resource Teacher

I would like to nominate Marguerite "S.P.I.R.E." Pryor for the S.P.I.R.E. Teacher of Excellence award. Our school has used many different reading intervention programs, and Marguerite has participated in most of them. However, when we decided to use S.P.I.R.E. she was so enthusiastic we knew right away it was a special program.

From the moment the boxes were unpacked; she was organizing and developing her plans to implement S.P.I.R.E. with our students. During our training, she was already suggesting different ways to present the curriculum. She is so organized with her materials (her notebooks and plans are the envy of us all), and her students use cookie sheets to build words and while they are busy having fun, they are learning to decode. Her students have made remarkable gains this year easily going from level one to level two and sometimes to level three. Our English Language Learners show great gains and enjoy her classes.

Marguerite is always willing to share her knowledge of phonics and her organizational skills so that S.P.I.R.E. is very user friendly. She says it's an easy program to use, and has way less parts than many other programs. She is our true S.P.I.R.E. cheerleader and I wanted you to know that she is a great representative of how to teach children to read and how S.P.I.R.E. plays a huge part in our success as a school. She is truly an inspiration to all of us.