Last year, Allison Ruhl became a K-2 unit writer for the 2016 Kellogg Grant Exemplar Unit Writing on behalf of the Mississippi Department of Education. She spent part of her summer vacation creating a new first- and second-grade language arts curriculum for the state. Ruhl devoted two weeks to researching best practices, identifying outstanding examples and writing a new multi-week unit that will be available to all Mississippi educators on the department’s website. Back at home, Ruhl trained teachers in her school and throughout the district on implementing the units she created.
A teacher leader, Ruhl is sought out by colleagues for her innovative ideas, problem-solving skills and visionary perspective. She developed new first-grade assessments for Madison County, then helped implement a similar non-graded report card for another district nearby. She serves as Madison Station's first-grade science and arts coordinator and edits the school's newsletter. Ruhl is known as a team player, ready to share ideas, train other teachers and implement new ideas in the classroom.
In her classroom, Ruhl sets high expectations and differentiates instruction to meet the needs of every student she teaches. She creates lessons and organizes field trips that seamlessly blend the reading, writing, language, speaking and listening skills that make up the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards. Ruhl and her students write in "response journals" to develop and improve their reading and problem-solving skills. By the end of each year, 95% of Ruhl’s students meet or exceed grade-level expectations in reading.
Parents are an important piece of the community Ruhl creates in her classroom. She communicates with them daily via a progress chart that lives in each child's designated folder, along with email, phone calls and one-on-one conferences. Ruhl is a leader for Madison Station's parent-teacher events and student celebrations.
Ruhl received a Bachelor of Arts in art history and studio art from Duke University in 1996 and a Master of Education in elementary education from Mississippi College in 2002, both with honors.
"[Teachers] look for what we can do to help children exactly where they are. We look for where they need to go and rack our brains to..." (read more)