Curriculum Associates recently selected 31 teachers across the nation for the inaugural class of its Extraordinary Educators Program, including Anna Bone, a kindergarten teacher at Boaz Elementary School.

The honor is to distinguish teachers who exhibit best-in-class use of i-Ready and/or Ready in their classroom, illustrate growth and achievement via formal assessments, and demonstrate classroom innovation and engagement practices for students, according to Curriculum Associates.

“I am very honored,” Bone said. “I was very excited when I found out in December that I had won this award. One in 31 is just exciting. I look forward to this journey and growing and learning with the other Extraordinary Educators.”

Bone was nominated after Curriculum Associates looked at students’ growth performance and other data, she said. Boaz Elementary School Principal Josh Walker said Bone was the perfect choice to be honored with such an award.

“Mrs. Bone is an exceptional teacher, and I think it was an easy choice,” Walker said. “And, she does a good job of reaching kids at their needs and where their needs are and then moving them to have as much growth as they can, and I think that’s what i-Ready does.

“It’s a tool for the teachers,” he said of the i-Ready program. “It’s not there to replace the teacher. You cannot replace good teachers. I mean, you cannot replace good teachers.”

i-Ready is an online program primarily used to help students get better at reading and math while monitoring and tracking student development, Bone said. Students complete assessments at the beginning of the year, middle of the year and at the end of the year to help teachers, like Bone, “individualize” what areas each student needs to focus on.

“Throughout those checkpoints, though, we have lessons that they work on,” Bone said. “They’re individualized and differentiated toward each child’s needs — whatever they made on their first diagnostic. It puts them at their school level and their lessons are based on what they scored, and it works up.

“If the program sees it’s getting too hard, it lets us know,” she continued. “I can log in and see their data daily. It flags me when the child starts to struggle so I can know what we need to work on and what I need to pull for small group with so I can individualize their instruction as well.”

i-Ready is a tool that Bone said benefits students by not only keeping them on the right educational track, but also as a fun way to further incorporate technology in the classroom.

“Our children these days, they love technology,” Bone said. “However, we do limit the amount of time they spend with technology. As they do their lessons, they earn coins, and with their coins they earn rewards and prizes. So, not only are they learning but they’re having fun doing it.”

Bone said students spend about 40 minutes per week for math and reading lessons.

Bone was one of the first teachers to use the i-Ready program last school year as part of a pilot program. Now the entire school and other schools across the district use the program.

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