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Principal Kristie Ezell accepts a trophy and monetary award for Russellville Elementary School from Kristine Averill and Christy Sanders with Imagine Learning.

RES wins literacy championship

Literacy is on the rise at Russellville Elementary, and the school was recently recognized for the progress it has made.

March 20 representatives from Imagine Learning visited RES and presented Principal Kristie Ezzell with a trophy recognizing the school for being the 2019 Alabama Literacy Cup Champions – along with a check for a $250 Amazon gift card to be used for the school.

“This has been the best birthday ever,” said Ezzell. “Thank you for all of the hard work you have been doing, and keep it up.”

RES started using the Imagine Learning Literacy and Math programs this semester, and reading coach Angela Richardson said they are already seeing results.

“We’ve already seen growth on a scale score across the school system,” Richardson said.

The literacy program requires each student to put in at least one hour of work per week and is comprehension based, Richardson explained. Once students have read a story, they are tested on grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension to meet Common Core or college- and career-ready standards.

What is unique about this program is it is individualized to each student. At the beginning of the program, each student takes a benchmark test, and from that the program advances with each student individually based on his or her ability, rather than the class’ ability as a whole.

“It grows with the kids and adapts as they’re learning,” said Richardson. “It also keeps up with where they are struggling and shows teachers where intervention might be needed.”

Imagine Learning provides full language support with 15 different languages, which is one of the reasons Superintendent Heath Grimes thought it would be a good program for the school system.

“He wanted to make sure to help all of the kids,” said Education Partnership manager Christy Sanders.

RES competed against 245 schools, 570 classrooms and 5,700 students and won the Literacy Cup by having 544 students complete 1,668 hours during the month of February.