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Students in Humboldt Unified are Rising to High Reading Expectations

Prescott Valley, AZ | Submitted by Cole Young

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What do the National Blue Ribbon, National Title One Award, George Lucas – Edutopia Schools That Work, Rodel Award of Distinction and Anne Casey National Spotlight Award all have in common? Humboldt Elementary! One of the best kept secrets in our state is a one-hundred year old K-6 elementary school nestled on a hill in the historic mining town of Humboldt, Arizona. Please, don’t be fooled by the appearance of this aging facility as you might just miss the amazing student learning happening within this school’s seasoned walls. A culture of high expectations and a belief in kids permeates throughout this school. This impassioned staff takes personal responsibility to ensure the promise of providing each student that walks into their school an education that will open doors and pathways to future success.

One of the major contributing factors to Humboldt Elementary’s success is their belief in literacy and the power it possesses in determining a student’s current and future success. The ability to read and synthesize information is a quintessential 21st-century skill, without which, many doors will close to these students. It’s a top priority for the school, since reading ability at young ages can inform success in high school and beyond.

With a focus on growth, as well as proficiency, this school has instituted a number of changes aimed at boosting reading skills. With intentionality and laser like focus, all eyes are on making sure the foundational literacy skills are embedded deeply in grades K-3, where we know readers are shaped.

Humboldt’s methods have evolved over more than a decade, and the onion-like layers of support for students are ensuring that student challenges are identified early. With multiple points of data as a support, all staff at Humboldt Elementary are able to find and assist those who need extra aid with English language arts.

  1. For those students who need a small boost, in-classroom assistance includes guided reading and other tier one interventions. These strategies will provide most students the help they need to get them back on track and moving forward into the next skill level.
  2. When faced with children who need more intensive instruction, the teaching team can provide access to their Title I program and a reading lab, where students receive personalized instruction focused on building specific skills for an additional 30-60 minutes every day.

Data has played an important role in the transformation of reading at Humboldt. By routinely monitoring, and ensuring that the entire educational team is communicating regularly through PLCs (Professional Learning Communities), they can quickly understand individual needs and intervene immediately, where needed. This also allows teachers to keep parents informed of their child’s progress and the instructional strategies being used to assist them.

Fun incentives are an important ingredient to this formula leading to success. All students are encouraged to grow and succeed. Humboldt Elementary uses prizes, contests and more maintain their momentum. Students can earn everything from an end-of-year field trip to ice cream sundae parties to goodie bags. Students track their own progress, and the pride in growing makes them want to read even more.

As you can tell, Humboldt Elementary is focused on keeping the promise of providing a world-class education for ALL students.  For more information, give them a call!

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