For the second year, Black Hills State University faculty members Cynthia Chandler, Joanna Jones and Patricia Simpson served as members of the International Reading Association’s Exemplary Reading Program Award Visitation Team.

The Exemplary Reading Program Award recognizes literacy work in schools. In the application for this award, teachers describe their reading program, which is then verified by an International Reading Association Visitation Team. During the month of January, the team reviewed the school applicants for the 2007 South Dakota Exemplary Reading Program Award. Upon the team’s recommendation, Belle Fourche Elementary School was the winner of the award and will advance to the national level of competition.

Exemplary reading programs provide opportunities for collaboration among teachers to enhance student learning. An exemplary reading program needs to be consistent in its theory of teaching reading and its implementation of classroom instruction. Assessment measures demonstrate on-going evaluation for all students.

Faculty and staff are supported by district administrators and are encouraged to regularly participate in professional development programs, seminars and workshops. Finally, community members must be actively involved in supporting literacy experiences for all students.

Belle Fourche Elementary School will be recognized at the 2007 South Dakota Reading Conference in Pierre on March 9. Programs recognized nationally will be invited to present at the International Reading Association’s Annual Convention held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in May.

Chandler received her doctorate in early childhood education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has been a member of the BHSU faculty since 2004.

Jones received her doctorate in elementary education from Arizona State University. She has been a member of the BHSU faculty since 2002.

Simpson received her doctorate in reading from Texas Tech University. She has been a member of the BHSU faculty since 2003.