Educators visit Inverness Elementary to see award-winning instructional practices

Published 12:56 pm Friday, October 28, 2022

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NORTH SHELBY – Educators recently visited Inverness Elementary to see instructional practices that led to Shelby County Schools being named a Science of Reading Spotlight by the Alabama Department of Education this year.

On Monday, Oct. 24 educators from four school districts and the Alabama Reading Initiative visited Inverness Elementary.

Schools and school districts received the Alabama Science and Reading Spotlight distinction for demonstrating a strong commitment to foundational literacy for students in early elementary grades. Shelby County and Cullman County schools were the only two districts recognized by the Alabama State Department of Education with this distinction. The ALSDE also recognized 12 individual schools across the state.

The spotlight was given to Shelby County Schools for having district leaders who have created structures that prioritize professional learning in the science of reading and foster the principal-coach partnership.

As part of the recognition, award winning schools and school districts were asked to host visits to share their best practices. Inverness Elementary hosted Talladega City Schools, Calhoun County Schools, Chilton County Schools and Pike Road Schools.

Regional Literacy Leadership Specialist for Region 7, Jodie Lawley, helped coordinate the visit and participated in the presentation.

Lawley shared that The Science of Reading Spotlight recognizes SoRS districts and schools that are implementing steps to improve reading proficiency in kindergarten through third grade and ensure students read at or above grade level by the end of third grade, as outlined by the Alabama literacy Act. SoRS schools were also recognized for prioritizing that K-3 faculty participated in Science of Reading training, such as Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling and for showing student progress in reading achievement as evidenced by third-grade reading outcome data between 2019 and 2022.

Inverness Elementary principal, Amanda Hamm, shared the school’s demographics with the group and how the diversity of her student population, which includes students who speak 22 different languages, impacts how teachers approach teaching literacy.

Attendees rotated through three classrooms as part of the visit. Afterward, they regrouped to debrief and discuss their observations. A special note was made of the multi-sensory methods being used to teach phonemic awareness, sight words and vocabulary. There was also purposeful small group work.

Dr. Lynn Carroll, deputy superintendent and assistant superintendent of instruction, noted that she was pleased to see the integration of other subjects into the English Language Arts lesson.

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