Welcome!

Posted by on 29 December, 2010
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Welcome!  We hope that you find this site informative and that you will return to it often to stay current with IRA and today's reading instruction.  We welcome your comments and questions.

– Mitzi Brammer                                  

MSC-IRA State Coordinator                 

Chat with the Coordinator – June 2014

Posted by on 20 November, 2013
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I hope you all are having an enjoyable summer. Many of us in the state of Missouri only finished school this past week! The snow this winter really took its toll on us, attendance-wise. However, it IS summer, and the “livin’ is EEEEEEEAASYYYY!” If you are like me, you have a stack of books that are just waiting to be read during the summer–just for fun. In fact, on the way down to the 2014 Summer Literacy-Leadership Institute at Lake of the Ozarks last week, my colleagues and I talked about reading from the list of “16 Books to Read Before The Movie.” If you haven’t seen this list, check it out. I’m sure there will be at least one book on the list you would enjoy:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/books-to-read-before-they-hit-theaters-this-year. If you were not able to send Local Council Leaders to the 2014 Summer Literacy Leadership Institute, you missed a treat. Leaders learned more about strategic planning, took home a great tool to take the “pulse” of the local council, and discussed how to move forward, prioritize and target specific goals. We were able to hear relevant updates from DESE by Dr. Melia Franklin, State Director of ELA-DESE, as well as outstanding presentations by Aaron Williams from the 7th Grade Poetry Foundation and Dr. Bertha Richardson (EducationPlus-St. Louis) on culturally responsive literacy instruction. The biggest news discussed at the conference centered on MSC-IRA’s involvement in the IRA Conference, being held in St. Louis, MO, in July 2015. MSC-IRA would like to have a prominent place at the convention and we need YOUR help! If you are willing to volunteer your time, please contact either Diana Houlle, President (dianahoulle@gmail.com) or Mitzi Brammer, State Coordinator (mitzib024@gmail.com). One final reminder for Presidents of our Missouri Local Councils. Please be sure to submit your Officer’s Report to IRA by June 30. The form is on the IRA website under resources for local council leaders. This is a requirement from IRA in order to obtain the Honor Council Award. Also, it is imperative that the National Office has a current record of contacts for your council. Happy Summer! me2

Chat with the Coordinator

Posted by on 29 August, 2013
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Hello fellow readers and writers,

By now, we are all well into the school year. I hope yours has gotten off to a smooth start. November will be here before you know it and we will be participating in the Missouri Early Learning Conference on November 14-15 at Tan Tar A. MSC-IRA is a co-sponsor of this event. I hope that you and perhaps a team of educators from your school/district will be coming.

Probably the most significant change in the life of local councils is in regard to those who apply for Honor Council Award and the Show-Me State Award. The due dates for submission of documentation for these awards has changed from spring to fall, November 27, specifically. If you go to the Recognitions tab on our Home Page and then click Awards, you will see updated guidelines and due dates for both awards.

Membership is always a critical issue with our local councils. At our Literacy/Leadership Institute this past June, we discussed this topic and it is no doubt a topic of discussion at the national level. The future of our councils is in the new members we recruit and maintain. I am reading a book right now called Shine:  Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People by Edward Hallowell (2011). In his book, he talks about effective uses of creativity, innovation, and inquiry in our work on a daily basis. I’d like to encourage you to think about creative and innovative ways you might get new members to join and participate in your council meetings.

Have a wonderful fall!

Mitzi Brammer, PhD

State Coordinator, MSC-IRA

Chat with the Coordinator

Posted by on 8 May, 2013
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Hello fellow readers and writers,

I hope this spring finds you well. Many of you who are still teaching are in the midst of state MAP testing. I hope that is going well for you. Some of you may be in a school that is piloting the Smarter Balanced Assessments. I am excited to inform you that plans are underway for our Summer Literacy Leadership Institute at Port Arrowhead at Lake of the Ozarks on June 20-21. June 20 is the Leadership Institute, open to Council leaders. You may send up to 4 council leaders to this. Sign in and networking begin at 4:00 p.m. on June 20. The following day, June 21, will be an information-packed (hopefully fun-filled) day of learning for not just council leaders, but any members of your local council who wish to attend. The cost is extremely reasonable at $20 per person. We will meet on June 21 from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.–just in time for you to get out there and do some outlet shopping!

I hope you will take time to read the newest edition of The Missouri Reader. We at MSC-IRA are thrilled that the journal continues to be alive and well. Our co-editors, Dr. Keisha Panagos and Dr. Beth Hurst have done an outstanding job on this edition.

Show Me Award Guidelines Have Changed

Posted by on 15 January, 2013
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To stay in alignment with the International Reading Association and their guidelines for Honor Council, the MSC-IRA has changed its due dates for submittal of documentation for the Show Me Award. If your local council seeks to be recognized at the state level via the Show Me Award, all documentation must be submitted to Mitzi Brammer, State Coordinator, by November 27, 2013. Local councils are being recognized for accomplishments of the previous year (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013).The Show Me Award Guidelines and Forms are available for viewing and/or downloading. Simply click on the RECOGNITIONS tab on the home page of the MSC-IRA website, then click AWARDS, and finally SHOW ME AWARDS. If you have any questions about the submittal process, please contact Mitzi Brammer at mbrammer@ssdmo.org.

Chat with the Coordinator January 2013

Posted by on 15 January, 2013
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We’ve experienced the excitement of the holidays, and now we’re back in school for that “winter slump”.  Sometimes we begin to feel exhausted during this time of the year because we are preparing our students for the MAP, we’re implementing Response to Intervention, we’re conducting formative assessments, and some of our districts in Missouri have already begun implementation of the Common Core State Standards for certain grade levels. Not only do we as educators become exhausted, but our students seem to lose steam, as well.

How do we keep each other energized through this difficult time of the year? Elina Aguilar, a transformational leadership coach in the Oakland, CA, school district, has some great advice that we all can heed.

First of all, she advises teachers to keep the big picture in mind. Educational reform and change can take anywhere from three to five years. When we are in the midst of it, though, it feels like it is taking forever and we want to see things happen more quickly (including student outcomes). Honor the process of change, slow down and listen to each other and engage in shared decision making. Focus on the small successes. More about this next…

Next, Aguilar notes that if you are in a teacher leadership or literacy coaching position, it is often easier to see the big picture. Focus on those small indicators that show your school is moving in the right direction and share these successes with the rest of the staff. Aguilar calls these “microimprovements”—indicators of progress towards goals. By sharing, positive dialogue results rather than focusing on the negative.

Finally, Aguilar encourages teacher leaders and literacy coaches to lead others in reflective conversations to build resilience (our ability to bounce back from setbacks). However, it’s not important that we do this for others; we also need to think about how we do this for ourselves! What actions can we all take today to maintain our energy, hope, and faith that our schools will be the best they can be in literacy?

Mitzi Brammer, Ph.D.

State Coordinator