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GCPS wins School Bell Award from GAESP for innovative RISE reading program

October 31, 2022

Greensboro, Ga. – Greene County Primary School has received the School Bell Award from the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals (GAESP) for its innovative work in reading comprehension with second and third grade reading students through the RISE Program (Reading Inspires Students to Excel).

Each year, the Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals grants awards that highlight exceptional practices in Georgia schools. Over the past two years, the work of schools across the nation and globe has dramatically shifted. The pandemic brought many school challenges, frustrations, and unknowns, but the mindset of the GCPS leadership has been one of viewing challenges as opportunities to transform. To help close the ‘Covid Gap’ in reading, GCPS implemented the RISE Framework, developed by Jan Richardson and Ellen Lewis. 

The goal of the RISE program was to take students who are below grade level in reading and raise their reading level by as much as two grade levels through intensive, small-group tutoring in vocabulary, comprehension, and other goal areas that make up a well-rounded reader. Throughout the course of the program, the RISE teachers for each goal area evolved and adapted their lessons based on the students’ progress in order to design an individualized learning plan for each student. Another important element of the program was a literacy partnership with the parents’ students, who participated in a family RISE night at the school to learn the reading strategies taught in the RISE classrooms in order to practice at home with their children.

The results show success: at both the second and third grade levels, roughly two-thirds of students who entered RISE grew to reading on grade level after just 8 weeks of the program. Teachers also testified that they saw an increase in reading confidence among the RISE students, and the students who participated in the program said it was fun and that they couldn’t wait to go to RISE each day.

The momentum continues as teachers across the school visited the RISE classrooms to learn strategies they could take back to their own classes, resulting in a learning lab community atmosphere among the school’s faculty and the methods that made the program so successful being replicated across the school.

“At GCPS, we realize the ongoing challenges of learning gaps and the challenges that have emerged from the pandemic,” said Principal Ashlie Miller, “but the vision and mission have kept the course, and it is vital that we each hold to the mission of student success for every child.”