Avondale Middle School Teacher Honored Supporting Student Literacy

Avondale Middle School Teacher Shavonne Jacobson Honored for her work Supporting Student Literacy

Avondale Middle School teacher Shavonne (Shevy) Jacobson received the Nila Banton Smith Award from the International Literacy Association (ILA) during a special reception and ceremony in Boston, Massachusetts. The ILA recognizes outstanding achievement in literacy and celebrates educators, literacy advocates, programming, and organizations for work focused on raising literacy rates around the world. The Nila Banton Smith Award is given to a teacher who demonstrates outstanding leadership in translating theory and current research into practice in developing content area literacy.

Avondale Middle School teacher Shavonne Jacobson assists a student during Book Break

Avondale Middle School teacher Shavonne Jacobson assists a student during Book Break

Jacobson, who was named the 2014-2015 Oakland County Outstanding Teacher of the Year, received the ILA award for her leadership at the middle school in professional book studies and specifically, the staff’s study of the impact of independent reading on students’ literacy growth. The culmination of the study resulted in the implementation of Book Break, a school-wide independent reading initiative which occurs for 25 minutes on Mondays and Thursdays and is extended into English classes.

A special education and reading intervention teacher, Jacobson knows the importance of inspiring students to be readers and how solid literacy skills increase a student’s chance for success in school and beyond. “Developing Book Break as a building-wide initiative that gives kids the time to read not only provides them opportunity to grow as readers but also sends the message that ever staff member in the building values reading and acknowledges the importance of becoming a strong reader.”

Avondale School District Superintendent, Dr. James Schwarz, lauds Jacobson as deserving of the award, pointing out that she demonstrates commitment to continuously driving innovation in teaching that inspires students to take charge of their learning. “Shevy understands the importance of helping students embrace the mindset that they can take ownership of their learning,” he said. “Couple that with helping them build the skills they need to own their learning – like literacy proficiency – and the teacher and the teaching is empowering. Shevy empowers her students through initiatives like Book Break and in her classroom every day. It’s very fitting that she has received this recognition,” he added.

Along with receiving the award from ILA, Jacobson also received $800 which she will use to purchase professional texts for book studies and novels for classroom libraries.


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