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Russellville Elementary receives recognition for reading program

Russellville Elementary School is continuing Russellville City Schools’ tradition of excellence. The Alabama State Department of Education named RES a Science of Reading Spotlight School – one of only 12 in the state.

“This is a very special selection to us because it shows the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff,” explained RCS Superintendent Dr. Heath Grimes. “In order to be a Science of Reading spotlight school, the entire faculty and administration must clearly evidence a commitment to learning and teaching using the Science of Reading.”

Grimes said the ALSDE Alabama Reading Initiative team’s visit confirmed that’s the case at RES.

Kristie Ezzell, then-principal at RES, explained test scores have “gone up tremendously” from last year.

“A lot of the paperwork falls on the third-grade teachers in connection with the Alabama Literacy Act,” explained Ezzell.

For RES ARI coach Melissa Greenhill, it’s something she describes as “a great honor,” to be recognized for all the hard work that’s gone into getting to this point.

“I think the biggest impact has been the teachers making a difference in students’ lives each day as they work with our diverse population,” explained Greenhill, “and they have embraced learning about and incorporating Science of Reading strategies in their classrooms.”

She said these teachers are “an amazing group,” explaining they approach each day with a positive attitude and are willing to do whatever needs to be done to help students progress in their reading abilities.

“The students have definitely improved in their oral reading fluency, ability to comprehend what they’re reading and their vocabulary,” added RES third-grade teacher Tessa Rushing.

“All of our teachers are trained in the Science of Reading, and that isn’t true everywhere yet,” said Grimes. “It’s one more example of the dedication, hard work and leadership that happens every day in Russellville City Schools.”

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