• Commitment to Improving Literacy Garner National Recognition


    A student and teacher at Grace M. Davis High School have been named recipients of the prestigious 2017 National 180 Awards, which recognize 15 students and five educators across the United States. The 180 Awards program, now in its eleventh year, honors students nationwide who, along with the help of their remarkable teachers, have learned to read and comprehend math skills and are now on the path to success in life.

    Nooralhuda Witwit has been named a 180 Student Award winner, which honors students for overcoming significant challenges and beating the odds to become thriving, successful learners.

    Nooralhuda (Noor) arrived in California in 2012 with her family, after fleeing Iraq for safety in a refugee camp. Noor’s READ 180 teacher, Lindsey Bird, says Noor had many high aspirations, but felt overwhelmed that she would not be successful in learning to read due to the language barrier. While those years caused disruption in Noor’s education, it also motivated her once she enrolled in the Language Institute in Grace M. Davis High School. In the READ 180 program, Noor saw her Lexile score significantly increase over the course of two years and is now taking college preparatory and advanced placement classes. She will attend California State University, Sacramento in the fall.

    Victor Soria, a Reading Teacher at Grace M. Davis High School, has been named a 180 Educator Award winner.

    In Mr. Soria's READ 180 classroom, 100 percent of his students are English Learners who have been in the United States for less than four years. His focus on creating a safe and welcoming classroom environment, coupled with high expectations, a positive attitude and constant words of encouragement has resulted in an average classroom Lexile™ growth of 144 points. Tasked with helping kids who have fallen behind due to a variety of personal and academic challenges, Mr. Soria has made it his mission to ensure all students succeed both in and out of the classroom.

    The 180 Student and Educator awards are selected by a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt committee that reviews demonstrated improvement in reading and math based on average Lexile™ or Quantile™ gains in each educator's classroom, as well as student statements and data demonstrating reading or math growth.

    Check out Noor and Victor’s video submissions: