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 – November 2013

Posted by on 20 November, 2013
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Happy fall, everyone! I cannot believe that we celebrate Thanksgiving next week. The holidays are coming upon us very quickly this school year. I have an important announcement in this “chat” for you all.

First of all, I would like to thank Drs. Beth Hurst and Keisha Panagos for their stellar leadership as Editor and Co-Editor of The Missouri Reader. Our new co-editors of The Missouri Reader have been named. Please help me welcome Dr. Julie Bryant , Associate Professor of Education from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO. Her co-editor is Mrs. Jennifer Fox, Instructor of Education, also at Southwest Baptist University. I know that our two new co-editors will do a wonderful job editing and putting together an exceptional journal for our membership as well as others who visit our website and seek information on literacy through university journal databases.

Next, thank you to all of our members of MSC-IRA who either attended, volunteered, or presented at the Missouri Early Learning Conference on November 14-15. Once again, this conference gave participants new ideas for literacy (as well as tying literacy to math, which is going to be important for the implementation of the Missouri Learning Standards). The keynote speakers and break out speaker sessions were informative, hands on, and relevant to our current practice. If you were not able to attend this year, try to make plans to attend next fall as this is always a conference that is full of resources and information.

Finally, this is a gentle reminder that if your local councils are going to be submitting documentation for either the Show Me State Award or Honor Council award your documentation is due November 27, 2013. That date is approaching quickly so be sure to submit according to the timelines.

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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