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CCPS Teacher Ruth Willis Receives Prestigious National 180 Educator Award

posted May 8, 2018, 9:24 AM by Amy Abell
Ruth Will Read 180 Award winner

Prestigious National 180 Educator Award for Unwavering Commitment to Student Literacy Achievement  

In recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Week, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt celebrates Ruth Willis from Altavista Combined School for her efforts to help struggling students succeed

[ALTAVISTA, VA] – May 8, 2018– Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced that Ruth Willis, a middle school language arts teacher at Altavista Combined School in Altavista, Va., has been named one of only six recipients of the prestigious 2018 180 Educator Awards. The awards, now in their 12th year, recognize educators across the United States who have helped advance the trajectory of their students’ progress in reading and math, fostering both personal and academic growth. 

Ms. Willis is being recognized for guiding students in her class to great success by setting high expectations for growth in reading. Her students work hard along with her to reach those expectations – and on many occasions, surpass them. In the first year of implementing the intervention program READ 180, 91 percent of Ms. Willis’s students showed gains greater than 100 points in their Lexile™ levels, and that growth continues each year. After spending two years in her READ 180 program, many students have gone on to pass statewide assessments and become confident, fluent readers.

“I challenge my students to set goals, and we celebrate their successes—daily, weekly, every chance we get,” said Ms. Willis.

“Amazing, exciting, engaging, dynamic and driven are the words that come to mind when I think about Ruth Willis,” said Altavista Combined School Assistant Principal Michelle McBride, who nominated Ms. Willis for the award. “Her loving and caring spirit help to nurture struggling readers as they enter her room, and her belief in each of them helps to build their confidence in their own ability to be successful readers.”

Ms. Willis will receive an invitation to attend the 2018 Model Schools Conference in Orlando, Fla., in June 2018, where an award ceremony will be held to recognize her achievements. She will also receive an additional library of HMH titles for her classroom that will be selected specifically for her students’ ages and reading levels. 

What Are the 180 Educator Awards?

·       The 180 Educator Awards is an annual program that honors teachers across the United States who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to fostering math and literacy growth in their students, resulting in personal and academic growth.


The 180 Educator Award winners have inspired struggling students to make great strides in reading and math using READ 180, MATH 180 and System 44, intervention programs that use adaptive technology to personalize instructing and accelerate growth.

How many 2018 180 Educator Award winners are there?

·       There are six winners in 2018, ranging in age, background and geographic location. The six winners share a common mission to ensure that all students, including those who have fallen behind due to personal and academic obstacles, have a chance to succeed in the classroom and beyond no matter the circumstance.

How long have the Awards been in existence?

·       The 180 Educator Awards are in their 12th year. 

How are the 180 Award winners selected?

·       The 180 Educator Award winners are selected by an HMH committee that reviews demonstrated improvement in reading and math based on average Lexile™ or Quantile™ gains in each educator’s classroom. Nomination forms include video submissions, personal statements from the educators and students who have been impacted firsthand, and references from colleagues in the nominated educator’s community.

What do the 180 Educator Award winners win?

·       Winners receive a classroom library of HMH titles, as well as an invitation to attend the 2018 Model Schools Conference in Orlando, Fla., where they will honored in an 180 Awards ceremony.

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