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Ellis’ Units of Study literacy program wins 2021 Hoffmann and Kristi Porter Award

family members read aloud to studentsCongratulations to Ellis Elementary School for winning a 2021 Hoffmann Award for their Units of Study in Reading, Writing, and Phonics program!

Units of Study is a framework for teaching developed at Columbia University’s Teachers College that is rigorous, engaging, and encourages students, no matter their level, to build a love of reading and writing.

Teachers present mini-lessons each day to teach a reading skill or strategy. Students then apply the skill in their own “just-right” books during independent reading time and deepen their work on that skill. During workshop time, students engage in class and partner discussions about reading, write about their reading, and reflect on themselves and their growth as readers. Families also get to participate during themed Reading Nights and students get to celebrate by sharing what they’ve learned reading during an “Ask an Expert” narrative writing celebration.

Since the implementation of Units of Study in 2014, Ellis’s measurable data has shown consistent growth in the area of English Language Arts. The percentage of students below proficiency has been cut in half (34% reduced to 17%), while the percentage of students exceeding has nearly doubled (20% to 38%.)

In student surveys administered, 78% of Ellis students said they read to learn something new or because it is fun, 87% read at home most days or every day, 92% feel they are good readers, and 96% like or love to read.

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The  Glenn W. Hoffmann Awards is a 37-year tradition coordinated by the Santa Clara County School Boards Association that celebrates school and school district programs that significantly impact student success in our region.

The awards honor Glenn W. Hoffmann, who served as the Superintendent of Santa Clara County schools from 1967 to 1984, and believed that leadership is a key factor in educational reform.

A committee of school administrators and school board members scored the entries from Santa Clara County school programs. Awards are given to only those programs that receive the highest scores.

On April 28, we celebrated Ellis Elementary (virtually) at the annual Santa Clara County School Boards Association Hoffmann Awards.  Ellis was one of five schools from across the county to receive an award this year. 

The Santa Clara County School Boards Association awards an additional honor to one program each year. The program receiving the highest marks out of the entire field of applicants receives the Kristi Porter Outstanding Program Award, named after a late board member of the Oak Grove School District and past president of the SCCSBA. This year, Ellis Elementary was given the Kristi Porter Award! Congratulations Ellis!! Go Eagles!

Previous Hoffmann Award winners in the Sunnyvale School District include Bishop’s Leader in Me and Vargas’s Students Success through Science programs in 2020, San Miguel’s Community School Model in 2017, Fairwood Explorer’s Parent Participation and Cumberland’s project-based learning programs in 2016, Columbia Middle School’s FLEX program in 2014, and Cherry Chase’s Stretchers Art program in 1997.

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