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2007 Bill Ellis Award Winner

Kimberly Weber
Principal of Chavez Elementary School
Long Beach, California

Before moving to Chavez, Ms. Weber implemented a successful Response to Intervention (RTI) model, a multi-step approach to instruction that provides intervening services for students who struggle with learning, at Kettering Elementary School. Kettering, despite limited resources, was successful in meeting its Annual Yearly Progress goals, an index of how well schools are doing to provide high quality, effective instruction to all students under No Child Left Behind.

(l-r) Dr. Sheldon Horowoitz, Director of Professional Services, NCLD; Kimberly Weber, 2007 NCLD Bill Ellis Award Winner;
James Wendorf, Executive Director, NCLD

Among her many achievements at Kettering, Ms. Weber maintained a positive school climate fostering trust, risk-taking, and collaboration; provided instructional leadership to the K-5 staff in order to meet (and exceed) academic goals, including a 74 point gain in Academic Performance Index scores within only two years; provided direct instruction to first, third, fourth, and fifth grade students in the areas of reading, writing, and math; collaborated with parents and teachers of students with special needs to ensure educational and behavioral goals were clearly established and appropriate support was provided to students and teachers; and supported the successful implementation of a MAP2D math program in grades four and five.

At Chavez, 55 percent of its 563 students are English language learners, and 100 percent of the students receive free and reduced lunch. Ms. Weber has been instrumental in preparing the school for the implementation of an RTI model that will feature new instructional approaches, enhanced communication, pooling of school-wide talent and resources, and an overall coordination of effort to raise and sustain achievement levels for all students.

Ms. Weber describes her teachers at Chavez as dedicated, sincere, and concerned about student progress and is committed to working closely with her staff and the entire community to boost student learning and get the school off the California state “program improvement” list.

One of her goals is to stabilize faculty mobility so there is continuity from year to year. As a way to model the decision-making behaviors that she wants her teachers to embrace, she has assigned herself (in addition to her responsibilities as school principal) to be “case manager” for the second grade, coordinating staff reviews of students’ profiles and progress, spending instructional time in the classroom, and modeling the types of behaviors that she knows to be keys to enhancing school-wide decision-making and student-centered progress.

Dr. Drake Duane, a member of NCLD’s Board of Directors and former President of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) conferred the 2007 Bill Ellis Award at the 58th Annual Conference of the IDA in Dallas, Texas on November 2, 2007. Along with a cash prize from NCLD and a one year membership to IDA, Kimberly Weber received gifts from Kurzweil Educational Systems, Sopris West, and Brookes Publishing. Ms. Weber is thrilled to have been selected for this honor and is appreciative of the opportunity to attend the IDA conference and share her experiences, new knowledge and resources with other principals, district administrators, and teaching faculty and support personnel.