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Four Educators Receive Learning Ally's 2020 Winslow Coyne Reitnouer Excellence in Education Award for Exemplary Performance in U.S. Schools

Categories: Education & Teaching, Educators, General, In the news, Press Releases


Learning Ally is excited to announce the recipients of its 2020 Winslow Coyne Reitnouer Excellence in Education Award, a national achievement award named for a longtime advocate for helping struggling readers reach their potential.

Learning Ally’s mission is to transform the lives of struggling learners by providing educators with proven solutions that enable students to reach their academic potential. In a time when distance learning is necessary, the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution has become a crucial teacher resource that allows struggling readers to work independently at home and keep up with course work. This award honors educators in U.S. schools who embody our mission.

Today we recognize four educators--and for the first time, a school--who have, despite the current challenges, provided exemplary opportunities for their students with reading deficits to achieve both inside and outside of the classroom.

Terrie Noland, Learning Ally’s VP of Educator Initiatives, offered congratulations to this year’s nominees and winners, saying, “In the face of unprecedented challenges, you stepped up and made a difference. The circumstances of this school year could have written a tragic story for many students, particularly those who struggle to read. Your dedication to education excellence has made all the difference, and we couldn’t be more proud of you.”

A national selection committee chose this year’s award winners from a pool of hundreds of nominees.

The 2020 Winslow Coyne Reitnouer Excellence in Education Award Winners are:

Maria Arcodia, General Education Teacher at Brooklyn Arbor Elementary School, New York, NY

Ms. Arcodia, the mother of a student with dyslexia and visual impairment, has made it her goal to ensure all of her students develop a love of reading--even when learning to read--no matter what challenge or disability they face. She has been extremely proactive in her efforts to secure reading accommodations for her school, creating an educator and parent coalition to secure funding from charitable sources. She has held workshops for parents so they know to help their kids use accommodations at home and has even helped fellow teachers advocate for accommodations to support their students who attend other schools. She is currently completing work to become a certified Orton-Gillingham instructor so she can ensure all her students succeed at reading.

Julie Gutman, Director of Special Education at Lake Orion Community School District, MI

Ms. Gutman and her district have been recognized by local, state, and international organizations for their student successes in reading instruction and achievement. Her leadership and hard work have led to the development of many high impact programs that continue to have positive impacts on student outcomes, including 90% of the district’s elementary students reading at or above grade-level reading.

Susan Ketterer, Dyslexia Specialist at Cross Oaks Elementary School, Cross Roads, TX

Ms. Ketterer is a strong advocate for all students who struggle to read and has helped restructure her district’s dyslexia department procedures, policies, and communications. She creates a healthy environment for reading and learning with audiobooks among her students and takes time to share and educate other teachers about the resources available to them. She has also worked closely with parents in an effort to encourage and support their participation.

Kevin Wright, General Education Teacher at Clarendon Avenue School, Mukwonago, WI

Mr. Wright has long championed the use of assistive technology to support the reading development of students who struggle with decoding. Having partnered with his school’s speech pathologist to identify new and better tools, his success, including improved test scores, has become a model for his district and led to his school being awarded “exceeds expectation” on their state report card two years in a row.

Park Vista High School, Lake Worth, FL

Park Vista HS presents a model for successfully creating an atmosphere that fosters inclusiveness and learning for all students, including those with reading deficits. The school encourages students to participate in their IEP meetings and provides academic counselors to discuss course work and other concerns, making them active participants in their education. They require all teachers to take dyslexia overview training and provide the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution to all qualifying students, even those taking technical classes. Their success has led a number of neighboring schools to try to emulate their model.

Support Your Students with Reading Deficits with the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution

The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is a multi-sensory reading accommodation that levels the playing field for students who struggle to read due to a reading deficit, providing them the opportunity to achieve in school and in life. Gaining access to the books they want to read—and the books they need to read—in an easy-to-absorb format can be a game changer. Sign up for a demo or get more information today to experience the satisfaction of seeing students who have never before experienced reading success blossom, with improved grades, higher test scores, and increased confidence and self-esteem.

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