On the Wright path
Mar 01, 2009 | 2134 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pettus teacher receives national recognition
Patti Jo Wright, second grade teacher at Pettus Elementary,  laughs with Makenzy House as they read together. On the right is fellow student Damacio Dominguez who could not resist finding out what the laughter was about.
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Brianna Wilson walked through the Pettus classroom proudly exclaiming, “This is the happiest day of my life.”

For this 8-year-old student, Wednesday was the day she learned that she had exceeded her reading goal.

“I made my goal for the week after next week,” she said taking a break from reading her next book.

Her second-grade teacher, Patti Jo Wright, has again been awarded the highest national certification level for outstanding performance in education by Renaissance Learning, a provider of computer-based assessment technology for K-12 schools.

Master Classroom recertification indicates that Wright’s efforts to adopt Renaissance best classroom practices to a high degree have resulted in measurable improvements in classwide student growth and performance over a minimum of one semester.

Wright said that Reading Renaissance is more about children retaining what they read than just bulk reading.

“As second-graders when they started off most of the children were reading just picture books,” Wright said. “When they get to third grade and take their TAKS tests, the Renaissance program helps tremendously because we are transferring these children from picture books to chapter books. When they get into chapter books they have to hang in there longer.

“That is like the TAKS test story. We are helping build their endurance in reading.”

To achieve Renaissance Master Classroom recertification, an educator must demonstrate that students are maintaining high-quality practice for a minimum of 18 weeks. In addition, educators must be actively working with individual students to meet Renaissance recommended standards. They must also see that each student is working at an individual level that promotes the most growth.

“Renaissance Master Educators are at the leading edge of this nation’s effort to improve education,” said Judi Paul, chairman of the board at Renaissance Learning. “Patti Jo has again shown that implementing Renaissance best classroom practices not only improves individual student achievement, but creates performance gains in the entire classroom over an extended period of time.”

Wright’s students have demonstrated high-quality practice and a great deal of growth.

Since the beginning of this school year, her class of 17 second-graders has passed quizzes over 2,215 books. They have an average percent correct score of 90 percent and an average book level of 3.1.

As a whole, her class has grown from a tested instructional reading level of 1.4 in August, to an instructional level of 2.6 in January.

When asked how she feels about using Accelerated Reader in her classroom, Wright said, “I would not work in a school district that doesn’t implement this program correctly. AR is in so many schools across the nation, but only a handful of schools are using all of the strategies and techniques that are learned in the training provided by the company.

“With AR, students become totally independent and take responsibility for their own accountability with regard to reading achievement. They learn to manipulate their reading levels in order to be successful. The extensive practice they get with this program improves their fluency and stamina, which in turn improves their comprehension.”

Brianna said she is grateful to Wright for improving her reading skills. “She helps me read very, very, very, very, well.”
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