CPS earns national certification

Published 8:05 pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CPS classroom volunteers Tammy Ballance (seated left) and Betty McSweeney are joined teacher Donna Austin (back) and students (from left) Saagar Desai, Jade Mizell, Landon Quidley, Kyle McSweeney, LaQuisha Woolard, Monaya Rodman, Jasmine Davis, Shanya McCall, MaKayla Robertson and Kelsey McRoy. Not available for the photograph were students Kevin Angeles Vargas, Alyssa Ballance, Jorge Casiano, Joseph Johnson and Tyler Long. (BCS Photo)

CHOCOWINITY — A Beaufort County Schools teacher has received national recognition for outstanding performance in education.

Donna Austin, a third-grade teacher at Chocowinity Primary School, was awarded Reading Master Classroom certification by Renaissance Learning, a Wisconsin-based company. This certification indicates that Austin’s dedication to implementing the company’s accelerated-reader best practices to a high degree has resulted in measurable improvements in her students’ reading performance over an 18-week period. These include allocating 45 to 60 minutes daily for students to engage in independent reading practice, monitoring student progress, diagnosing reading problems, setting goals and motivating her readers.

This is Austin’s first year reaching master-classroom certification.

“I’m so proud of my students’ efforts,” Austin said. “We couldn’t have earned Reading Master without our classroom volunteers, Betty McSweeney and Tammy Ballance. They have dedicated hundreds of hours of their time helping my students achieve this certification.”

Austin’s previous classes have achieved reading model-classroom status consistently since 2008. She is a graduate of East Carolina University, earning a B.S. in 1988 and a master-of-arts degree in 2008.

Renaissance Learning developed the Accelerated Reader software more than 25 years ago to help teachers accurately and efficiently monitor the quantity and comprehension of their students’ reading practices. After reading a book at the appropriate level, students take a comprehension quiz at a computer. Teachers may use Accelerated Readers’ immediate feedback on reading and vocabulary growth to motivate and monitor student growth.