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Sally Mauro elementary school wins national reading award



By Sun Advocate

Principal Mike O’Shea shows off the plaque Sally Mauro Elementary won for it’s reading program.

Three years of excellence training has paid off for a Carbon school. The International Reading Association and the Utah council announced the selection of Sally Mauro Elementary School in Helper as the 2003 exemplary reading program award recipient for the state of Utah.
Sally Mauro is a Title I school service 365 students. The K-3 teachers have received over 300 hours of research-based strategies to incorporate into their literacy program, as the result of a Reading Excellence Act (REA) grant awarded to the school in 2000. The upper grade teachers are also participating in professional development, and have been involved in after school study groups that focus on balanced literary strategies for two years. Sally Mauro has also built extensive school and leveled libraries and large classroom libraries. Reading scores are on the rise, and teacher morale and confidence are high.
Michael D. O’Shea, in her fourth year as principal of Sally Mauro and three of her teachers will travel to Orlando Flor. May 4 to attend the Annual Convention of the International Reading Association. They will not only attend additional reading workshops and programs but they have been invited to present their program to the entire conference. And they will be one of only 26 schools in the nation and throughout Canada to be honored for their reading program.
According to O’Shea, teaching excellence means being more precise and targeted. Teachers model to the students examples in five key areas including phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency. The criteria help the students stay focused and to improve their reading and comprehension.
The objectives of the International Reading Association in developing the exemplary reading program include to improve literacy in our society, to recognize school staffs who demonstrate excellence in reading and literacy programs, to encourage the development and refinement of exemplary reading and language arts programs, to report to the public noteworthy efforts to improve reading instruction and to disseminate specific information about high quality programs so that other professionals can use it to improve their own instructional efforts.
Their SAT scores last fall went up dramatically pointed out O’Shea
“Teaching has improved substantially and has made good teachers great teachers,” she notes.
The initial grant, known at “Reading First” was part of the new educational program initiated by President Brush as part of the No Child Left Behind campaign. Although the grant was awarded to three schools initially, two of the schools had test schools too high to apply and Sally Mauro took advantage of the opportunity to improve their reading skills.
“We are excited that we have made such terrific gains,” says O’Shea, giving full credit to the dedicate teachers that work in their school.
One of the little extras that just occurred last month was named March Madness and included an after school program where kids were invited back to work with their teachers to review math, reading and test taking skills. Over 80 kids showed up on their own for the class, which lasted four weeks.
“This shows the dedication of our teachers and the determination of our students,” explained O’Shea.

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