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Chacon, Williamson get awards

Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / May 4, 1998

LAPLACE – Jerry “Texx” Galloway, principal of East St. John Elementary,is proud of the teachers at his school.

He’s especially proud of two in particular. The two recently receivedawards from different organizations, which singled them out and recognized their special classroom programs and all-around excellence.

Elizabeth Chacon’s third-grade class was awarded the honor of becoming a Reading Renaissance Model Classroom. Chacon’s class is one of three inthe state to receive the honor.

And fourth-grade teacher Angela Gaubert Williamson was awarded the Scholastic Excellence Award from the University of New Orleans College of Education. Williamson graduated cum laude in the Spring of 1997. The award is given to one graduate from last year’s class that excelled in their chosen field.

What makes Chacon’s class a model classroom are the reading activities she incorporates into her curriculum. Students do sustained silent readingfor 60 minutes each morning.

“They bring their pillows and can go anywhere in the room and read,” she said.

This allows them to boost Accelerated Reader points. Accelerated Readeris a program where students read a book and then are tested on the contents by a computer program.

“One student started out having to have the books and the tests read to her, and now she does it all by herself,” Chacon said. “She started at LevelI and now is at Level III.”Besides sustained silent reading, Chacon also reads to her students for about 15 minutes every day. They also read aloud together for another 15minutes.

“I think its a great system, and they love it,” Chacon said. “They are soexcited about reading.”Besides all of the reading activities that go on in Chacon’s class, she said all of the students have to be at a certain reading level for a classroom to be named a model classroom.

“Less than 10 percent of the class is below their reading level,” she said.

In addition, to being honored nationally, Chacon will also get $100 to spend on books for her classroom.

Williamson said she was surprised to learn she’d been honored by her alma mater.

“I didn’t expect it,” she said. “I was aware that it existed, but I had noidea that I was nominated for it.”Williamson said the university looked at the different nominees and what they are doing now to come to its conclusion of a winner. She believes theaward was given to her for her innovative and hands-on teaching methods.

“I don’t run a traditional class where you just do work,” Williamson said.

Galloway is thrilled with the recognition his teachers received.

“They’re some good ones,” he said. “We’re real proud of them.”

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