Falkner Elementary was recognized as one of the first ‘Sciene of Reading’ schools in Mississippi with a ceremony at FES on Wednesday that was attended by the Mississippi Department of Education.
The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) designated seven elementary schools as the state’s first Mississippi Emerging Science of Reading Schools (SoR). This recognition is for schools that have trained teachers in the science of reading, exemplified a change of instructional practices, and embodied a school culture that focuses on building skillful, strong readers in kindergarten through grade 3.
Falkner Elementart Principal Emily Eaton was commended by the representatives of MDE for her leadership in helping FES attain this recognition, but Eaton was quick to praise the teachers in the school for making this possible.
“We are excited and very proud of our teachers. We have worked hard to ensure that we are following the science of reading with intensive phonemic awareness instruction, explicit phonics decoding instruction, and opportunities for repeated practice with reading controlled text. Students must learn to decode the words, but also have the language comprehension skills to understand the meaning behind these words. We have the very best teachers in North Tippah, and they are to be commended for the enormous amount of preparation and planning they put into reading instruction daily,” Eaton said of the award.
All Mississippi schools were invited to apply for the science of reading recognition for program’s inaugural year. Additional schools will have an annual opportunity to apply for the science of reading status.
“Mississippi has become a national leader in literacy because our children have made more progress in reading in recent years than any other state,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Mississippi educators have committed themselves to providing instruction aligned to the science of reading so students can build the literacy skills they need to succeed throughout their education.”
The teachers at Falkner were commended for starting a virtual summer reading camp and implementing that program in the face of challenges related to the pandemic.
“This award was well deserved for Emily and all of the teachers at Falkner Elementary. Our teachers were able to implement this program and bring some students back to campus as some of the first students on campus in our district despite the challenges they faced. Our students get the benefit of our teachers going through this training,” North Tippah Superintendent Scott Smith said of the Science of Reading recognition.
The ceremony was attended by FES students, teachers, North Tippah Board members and State Literacy Director, Kristen Wynn, along with the Literacy Leadership Team.
The Falkner high school cheer team was also on hand to provide a pep rally.
“Falkner staff and teachers….you are literally rockstars,” Director Wynn said of the staff at FES.
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