The SIM Administrative Leadership Award
Mary Little, Principal Investigator, Project Central University of Central Florida
Project Central identifies and disseminates information about resources, professional development, and relevant research to educators throughout Florida. Its ultimate goals are to provide the ingredients necessary to ensure quality outcomes for all students, and it has long included SIM among its programs. In her leadership role with Project Central, Mary Little has aggressively worked to increase the level of state support allocated to SIM initiatives and has been instrumental in linking SIM professional development with other state initiatives, including various Florida reading projects. Now, IM is viewed as an integral piece of the states education system and nnot just as a special education initiative.
Doris Williams - Maryland State Department of Education
Doris Williams is the driving force behind Maryland’s Passport to Success project, a replication of KU-CRL’s Pathways to Success project. The goal of the fiveyear- old project was to create several demonstration middle schools in which every child learned SIM strategies and routines. There are now five demonstration middle schools in Anne Arundel County, and all have a common language in SIM. Each school determines the strategies and routines to be used and embeds its choices in its school improvement plan. Each school has a part-time facilitator (or instructional coach) and a paraprofessional who teaches the Word Identification Strategy to small groups. During 2005-2006, several new middle schools from around the state will enter the project. As the project director who wants everyone—especially students—to be successful, Doris constantly encourages staff to examine successes and failures as opportunities to learn and grow. Doris sees in SIM a selection of tools each school can use on its way to improving student achievement.
Michelle Bishop - SC
Michelle Bishop, education associate for learning disabilities for South Carolina’s Department of Education, first became involved with SIM instructional programs 11 years ago and has since encouraged their use in settings from as small as a classroom to as large as the entire state. Michelle first used SIM in a middle school class for students with learning disabilities that she taught, before moving on to a high school setting as a curriculum resource teacher. There, SIM was instrumental in helping students who had not passed the high stakes exit test, and she also passed on the secret of SIM to the special education department. In her current position, Michelle has connected with South Carolina professional developers to develop a long-term plan to again promote SIM statewide. In three years, they have worked with about 400 teachers in at least one strategy, with 305 having mastered two or more strategies. Michelle has been an advocate for SIM—both Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement—in general and special education classes, and she and other professional developers will continue to work with more teachers this fall. She says being able to share SIM with teachers has been one of the most rewarding experiences in her professional life. She believes that with more teachers using SIM in their classrooms, SIM can continue to make a difference for students in South Carolina.
Ron Brewer, director of the Education Department at Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, has led an effort to implement the SIM approach with the 16- to 21-year-old inmates at the prison with wonderful results. Ron has written grants to cover the purchase of SIM materials, held on-site trainings, supported continuing follow-up sessions, and made SIM a requirement for every inmate in the educational department of the prison. SIM classes are offered in conjunction with helping the men learn a trade. The success of this effort has come to the attention of key members of the state government. In nominating Ron for this award, SIM Professional Developer Karen Koskovich wrote, “I am nominating Ron and the PCDI because the lives that have been changed forever might otherwise go unnoticed. There is no way to prove that the successful men leaving this educational program would have returned to the prison system had they not had SIM and the trade training. However, if we look at the trend across the nation, these are the very people that most likely would return to the prison system in the future without increased skills and new self-confidence.”
Rosalind Davenport - CA
Rosalind Davenport, principal of Woodstock Elementary School in Alameda, California, has both vision and perseverance as she integrates SIM throughout her school. She diligently influences district administrators and neighboring school principals and cultivates increased use of SIM. Rosalind has expanded the model to the local middle school. She includes community-based organizations and school-linked programs in her vision, making SIM consistent between school day programs and after school instruction.
Since discovering SIM’s useful applications, Beverly Johnson, principal of Linwood Middle School in Shreveport, Louisiana, has adopted it as the main research-based component of her school improvement plan. She has sought assistance from the Louisiana State Department of Education as well as from members of her staff who are knowledgeable about SIM. Beverly has provided the professional development and support that is necessary to make SIM an effective part of the school’s plan. She requires every teacher to conduct a monthly peer observation, encouraging them to carefully consider how to use strategies and routines in their classrooms. Rather than taking the “because I said so” approach, Beverly has provided the data and research behind SIM, and as a result, most faculty members have come to see the benefits and are using Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routines regularly.
Debby Mossburg - VA
Debby Mossburg, Curriculum Resource Teacher with the Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools Office of Special Education, arranged for several teachers to attend a potential SIM Professional Developer workshop as part of her vision that all students with special needs in the district receive SIM instruction. She has presented before the school board, fought for money, encouraged department chairs and individual teachers, and been a good friend to all. Debby supported each potential professional developer as they struggled through the certification process, meeting with them often and even offering substitute days for preparation time. Without her dedication, FCPS students would never have had the chance to participate in learning they themselves recognize as life-changing.
Arlyn Zack - MI
Arlyn Zack, principal of Muskegon (Michigan) High School, has been a SIM supporter for several years now and has truly “put his money where his mouth is.” Arlyn has supported efforts to implement SIM-based programs because he knows they are good for students. He is a vocal supporter at board meetings and at the local and state level. Arlyn and SIM Professional Developer Sue Woodruff have presented Muskegon High School results at an annual North Central State Conference, and he has welcomed visiting groups to the building.
Larry Hartig - IA
Larry Hartwig, an educational consultant with Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in Bettendorf, Iowa, is largely responsible for a recent resurgence of interest in SIM, according to SIM Trainer Ann Valus, who nominated him for this award. Larry’s first exposure to SIM’s strategies came in 1986. Since then, he has been a tireless and enthusiastic supporter of strategies instruction. Through his advocacy, two schools he works with have implemented SIM components. Larry personally pre- and post-tested numerous students in the schools and was instrumental in ensuring that a group of teachers from the high school were included in a field trip to Muskegon (Michigan) High School to see SIM in action.
Thurma DeLoach - MO
Margaret Wolff - MN
Peg Wolff, Principal, Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Elementary School, Minocqua, Wisconsin, said in a recent interview with a Wisconsin newspaper that her real strength lies in SIM and in implementing strategies in the classroom. She has trained more than 500 teachers, is a regional SIM leader, and has made numerous presentations at SIM conferences.
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