ChiefWilliamsBrooklyn Junior High seventh grader, Chief Williams, has been named a 2015 180 Award winner by Scholastic for achieving excellent gains in reading. Annually, Scholastic recognizes 16 students and 5 teachers nationwide for achieving extraordinary gains in their reading and mathematics skills through the use of READ 180®, System 44® and MATH 180® while educators using these blended learning programs are thanked for their unwavering support of their students, fostering both personal and academic growth.

Chief came to America from Liberia last spring and initially was a shy student, reluctant to read aloud in class. Using System 44®, he challenged himself to succeed and believed he could advance his reading skills. Through thoughtful, hard work, Chief accomplished just that and, in record time, completed all 160 topics of the System44® program this year. He now provides tips to other students to help them succeed and hopes to one day pursue medicine.

“I want to be a doctor because I love helping people. I want to work on the brain; I feel that is amazing,” said Chief. “To be a doctor, you have to read a lot.”

System 44 is a program using explicit instruction in phonics, comprehension, and writing that helps students master the foundational reading skills required for college and career readiness.

“Chief is a very thoughtful, purposeful, and hardworking student. He is interested in improving and thinking carefully about what he is learning,” said Janet Jones, Brooklyn Junior High reading teacher and literacy coach. “He worked diligently to learn basic reading skills and completed the System 44® curriculum provided for him.”

Student nominations are reviewed by a Scholastic committee that takes into account not only student growth, but also personal achievements as detailed in their statements and their teacher’s testimonials. When considering 180 Educator Award nominations, the committee takes into account statements from their students and colleagues detailing the impact the nominee has had on a school, classroom or community. The award comes with a $1,200 prize.

“Each year we are astounded by the nominations and are in awe of the obstacles these students have fearlessly overcome and the lengths these educators go to in order to foster learning,” said Margery Mayer, president of Scholastic Educational Technology and Services. “Today we celebrate not only their journeys to this point but their futures as well, whether that be students aiming for higher education or educators changing the lives of even more students as they enter a READ 180, System 44 or MATH 180 classroom. We are honored to recognize the success of the 2015 180 Award winners.”

-May 2015