West Town Elementary Wins First-Ever Sandra Deal Literacy Prize

Staff Report From Albany CEO

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

West Town Elementary School Principal Steven Dudley and Assistant Principal Dr. Narkisa Howard accepted the inaugural Sandra Deal Literacy Prize for his student’s improvement of reading and writing levels Tuesday.

The Literacy Prize is awarded to the elementary school that shows the largest growth year-over-year in literacy among its students across all grades. The award is named in honor of Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal who was formerly a teacher and who has been one of the state’s leading advocates for literacy.

Dudley and Howard were presented the award by the Deals at a dinner Tuesday hosted by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.

West Town saw a 30% increase in student growth in literacy since 2016, which outpaces their peers across the Dougherty County School System.

Dudley believes his school’s success comes in part due to a focus on literacy-based initiatives at the school. Some of these programs include the Leaping Lexiles program in which the school collaborates with community partners to provide bicycles and other incentives for students to hit reading level goals; Saturday Boot Camp for students where teachers and volunteers from the faith-based community come in with students on Saturdays to help them prepare for the Georgia Milestones; and a strong emphasis on the fundamental, tier 1 instruction as it relates to teaching of literacy across content areas.