Among the literacy elite

Cullman City Schools named Alabama ‘Science of Reading’ spotlight district

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Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff chats with outgoing Cullman City Primary School Principal Tricia Culpepper and other attendees last year at an awards ceremony when the school was honored with the Dr. Louisa Moats Award for its reading program. (Photo credit: Cullman City Schools)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman City Schools has been named one of only two Science of Reading spotlight districts by the Alabama State Department of Education, in honor of the system’s progressive and creative approach to literacy and reading education in primary and elementary grade levels.

Cullman City Schools was one of two school systems, along with 12 individual schools across the state, recognized for demonstrating a strong commitment to foundational literacy for Alabama’s K-3 learners.

“This is a great honor for our teachers who work so hard teaching reading, disaggregating data and delivering tiered instruction,” Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said. “Our teachers do a wonderful job using tools to determine the strengths and opportunities for improvement of our students and delivering instruction based on that data. To be recognized as one of two systems to receive this honor aligns with our mission to be one of the top five school systems in Alabama.”

The spotlight commendation aims to honor schools and systems that implement steps to improve the reading proficiency for kindergartners through third-grade students, and take steps to ensure that students read at or above grade level by the end of third grade, as part of a strong commitment to foundational literacy.

The Alabama State Department of Education noted these systems and schools made a demonstrated commitment to the components aligned with the Science of Reading as outlined in the Alabama Literacy Act; and utilized explicit, systematic and differentiated reading instruction and interventions with extensive opportunities for practice, based on student need, for all students including those exhibiting characteristics of dyslexia.

The state added the leadership in these schools worked alongside the school’s local reading specialists and teachers to deepen their understanding of the science of reading by fully participating in professional learning such as Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS). The systems and schools recognized also utilized data to monitor individual student reading progress, make necessary instructional adjustments and provide additional instructional opportunities such as Tier III reading intervention, summer reading camp and before/after school tutoring.

Cullman City Schools and Shelby County Schools were the two districts recognized. The individual schools included Russellville Elementary (Russellville City), Hackleburg Elementary (Marion County), Fyffe High School (Dekalb County), Central Elementary School (Tuscaloosa City), University Charter (University Charter), Center Point Elementary School (Jefferson County), Glencoe Elementary School (Etowah County), Sophia P. Kingston (Selma City), Dadeville Elementary (Tallapoosa County), Wetumpka Elementary (Elmore County), Elsanor Elementary (Baldwin County) and Ariton School (Dale County).