National Teacher of the Year Speaks at CSU

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Columbus State Universitys College of Education hosted 2006 National Teacher of the Year Kimberly Oliver for a series of campus and community activities Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 27-28.

KimberlyOliver, right, teaches kindergarten at Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md. She shared insight into how she helped raise the academic performance at her once-low performing school just outside Washington, D.C., where 90 percent of the schools students live in poverty and 75 percent speak English as their second language.

Having Ms. Oliver visit our city is a great honor, said David Rock, dean of CSUs College of Education. Her visit will provide area educators and Columbus State teacher education candidates and faculty an exciting opportunity to learn from a dynamic, dedicated teacher.

When Oliver joined Broad Acres in 2000 at age 24, the school was targeted for state restructuring because of declining academic performance. However, over the past six years, she is credited with initiating several programs to ensure consistency in curriculum, instruction and assessment throughout the school. For example, Books and Supper Night brings families of Broad Acres students to the school to check out books from the library, read together, enjoy a communal dinner and get to know one another. They also receive free books and are encouraged to continue family reading activities at home.

Oliver also has written and received grants to purchase electronic learning systems, tape players, and books in English and Spanish to send home with students, taking the burden off parents who struggle with language barriers or illiteracy.

Her efforts quickly impacted the school. In 2001, Broad Acres surpassed all other schools in its system for test score improvement. Test scores also met or exceeded No Child Left Behind standards in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

In addition to the public lecture at CSU and interacting with teacher education students and faculty, Oliver also spoke at the Muscogee County School District Teacher of the Year Breakfast (7:30-9:30 a.m. Tuesday), give a workshop for Fort Benning schools (noon-4 p.m. Tuesday) and at a Wednesday morning breakfast for CSU student teachers.

I am sure that Ms. Olivers classroom visits and presentations will stimulate additional interest and enthusiasm about the teaching of, and learning by, children in our region, Rock said.

For more information, call the CSU College of Education at 706-568-2212.