CCPS named spotlight school for literacy, reading initiatives in Alabama

A group of state officials and educators from across Alabama visited Cullman City Primary School on Wednesday to get a first-hand look at the school's innovative and successful approach to reading and literacy. (Cullman City Schools)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman City Primary School (CCPS) has been singled out as one of the top spotlight examples in the state of Alabama for success in implementing the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) and teaching young students literacy skills.

Last spring, Cullman City Schools was among just a handful of systems from across the state visited by state officials, regional educators and ARI representatives to determine the degree of implementation of the Science of Reading strategies and instruction in Alabama schools. In 2020-2021, CCPS was also honored with the Louisa Moats national award for excellence in implementing the science of reading. 

“It is a privilege to lead such an outstanding group of professionals. CCPS teachers are committed to implementing the science of reading,” CCPS Principal Elizabeth Shaddix said. “We are excited to showcase our school to principals across the state. I want to say a special thank you to Kassey Cox, our reading coach as well as Cortney Peed, Jana Thrasher, Ashley Garrison, Allison Bates, Harper Marshall, Chloe Woodley, Jane Ann Chambers, Maeghan Long and Tonya Trammell for hosting visitors in their classrooms.”

On Wednesday, approximately 25 visitors from other school systems toured CCPS to see how the school has implemented new reading techniques and how they’ve proven so successful. They also held a question and answer discussion with school staff to talk about CCPS’ approach to reading curriculum. More tours will follow later in the school year, with officials visiting East and West Elementary Schools to see how instruction is implemented among second and third grade students.

“It is a wonderful recognition for Cullman City Schools to be a spotlight school system because to implement this type of instruction, schools need considerable support from their superintendent, school board and central office,” Tricia Culpepper, former CCPS principal and current ALSDE Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) regional literacy leadership specialist, said. “Cullman City Schools has systems and strategies that we need to share with other schools and systems across our state to benefit all of our students in Alabama. It is a pleasure to highlight Cullman City Schools’ and their implementation of the science of reading.”

Alabama’s Science of Reading Spotlight Schools, including CCPS, were selected based on their strong commitment to Alabama’s K-3 learners. Spotlight schools not only meet the requirements of the Alabama Literacy Act by ensuring K-3 faculty participated in training, such as Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS), but showed student progress in reading achievement.

“We’re incredibly proud of our educators and the way they’re constantly innovating to find new ways to reach students,” Cullman City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to share those techniques with educators across the state.”