Students in Ruth Willis's READ 180 class know that she sets high expectations for growth in reading, and they work hard along with her to reach those expectations, and on many occasions, surpass them. Her caring spirit helps nurture struggling readers, and her belief in them helps build their confidence in their abilities. In the first year of the READ 180 implementation, 91 percent of Ms. Willis's students showed gains greater than 100 points in their Lexile levels, and that growth continues each year. After spending two years in her READ 180 program, many students have gone on to pass statewide assessments and become confident, fluent readers.
"I challenge my students to set goals, and we celebrate their successes--daily, weekly, every chance we get," said Ms. Willis.
"Amazing, exciting, engaging, dynamic and driven are the words that come to mind when I think about Ruth Willis," said Altavista Combined School Assistant Principal Michelle McBride, who nominated Ms. Willis for the award. "Her loving and caring spirit help to nurture struggling readers as they enter her room, and her belief in each of them helps to build their confidence in their own ability to be successful readers."