Madison Magazine June-July 2019 - Page 9

Profile Clark-Moore’s Middle School book club students enjoyed lunch while award- winning author C.C. Payne visited. Changing children’s lives A my Smith has been changing children’s lives since the early 2000s. She grew up in Middlesboro, Kentucky, before finding her- self in Richmond as an under- graduate student at Eastern Kentucky University in 1991. Her first experience in chang- ing children’s lives started as a primary classroom teacher at Maxwell Elementary Span- ish Immersion Magnet School in Fayette County and also at Model Lab School. Smith returned to EKU to obtain her master’s degree in reading and writing in 1999. Prompted by one of her profes- sors, she applied for a grant opportunity through Eastern to train as a reading recovery teacher leader. Reading Recovery is a short- term intervention program for Story and photos Kaitlyn Brooks The daily challenge is motivating and gives me a sense of having done something valuable for our children and our teachers. first-graders having extreme difficulty with early reading and writing. Specially trained teachers work individually with students in daily 30-min- ute lessons lasting 12 to 20 weeks. The job that Smith and her colleges do in the Reading Recovery program produces positive outcomes for those students. After a full series of lessons, about 75% of these formerly lowest students reach grade-level standard. Smith joined the Madison County School system in 2003 after completing her training in 2001. “Superintendent Mike Cau- dill and our Curriculum Super- visor, Clara Parrish, were very committed to early literacy achievement. They saw Read- ing Recovery as an important vehicle for improving outcomes for our students,” Smith said. “They not only provided fund- ing to train at least one teach- er in each elementary school, but they also made MCPS an official Reading Recovery Training Site.” Now, Smith provides initial training for the next group of Reading Recovery teach- ers and ongoing professional learning for trained Reading Recovery teachers. She spends a lot of time analyzing data and using it to establish goals for her site, schools and teachers. Smith also works with first-grade students at Kirksville Elemen- tary and provides general support for literacy instruction in the district, as needed, she said. But her job doesn’t stop there. “I also work with partner organizations, like the Uni- versity of Kentucky, Reading Recovery Council of North America, and conduct outreach with state and federal legis- lators to garner support for literacy intervention models,” Smith said. For Smith, her job requires a mixture of familiar procedures and challenges. “If my job had only the for- J U N E - J U LY 2 0 1 9 Madison Magazine 9