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By Seth Romsa
Staff Writer 

Local teacher receives award to aid struggling readers


September 19, 2019

Seth Romsa

East Side Elementary Reading Recovery Teacher Sharee Barrus helps a reading recovery student during a session on Monday morning.

WORLAND – Washakie County School District No. 1 teacher Sharee Barrus is attending (remotely and onsite) Saint Mary's College of California, for a full-time year of study focusing on how best to help first graders who are struggling with beginning reading and writing.

The study is part of a training program that will qualify Barrus to be a Reading Recovery teacher leader. The award was generously funded by Pioneer Valley Books.

"Reading Recovery is a short-term, early intervention program for first-grade students who are at the lowest level of achievement in reading and writing," Barrus said. "The purpose of Reading Recovery is to accelerate the child's learning so they are able to catch up to grade-level standards."

Barrus felt "honored" and is excited to see what this next year will bring her and what new opportunities will bring her and the district itself.

Barrus will be required to attend class at least two times a month, online through Zoom, or on Saint Mary's campus for five to six hours of instruction. Between these courses, Barrus also teaches four students in the morning, and has a variety of assignments to do, as well as observing other Teacher Leaders to learn more about the process.

"The mission of WCDS No. 1 is 'to ensure high levels of learning for all students in order that they are college and/or career reading when they graduate high school,'" Barrus said. "The district understands the importance of high-quality early intervention, as well as the importance of highly qualified teachers that can make a difference in student outcomes."

"Through Reading Recovery we can place the most fragile learners on a new path where they are no longer falling further behind the rest of their peers," Barrus added.

The award will provide support for the initial training of a teacher leader, which consists of full-time study at Reading Recovery training centers in the U.S. and Canada. Teacher leaders train and coach Reading Recovery teachers in their district and teach children having extreme difficulty learning to read and write.

In addition, three scholarships were awarded to train teacher leaders during the 2019-20 training year. Funds were generously provided by Pioneer Valley Books, Hameray Publishing Group/Yuen Family Foundation, and MaryRuth Books. The awards are administered by the Reading Recovery Council of North America (RRCNA).

In the end, the training Barrus will receive thanks to this scholarship will help Barrus work with students, and train other teachers, and provide continuing professional development to teachers. This will allow her to work closely with district administrators to provide literacy support to elementary schools throughout the district.


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