At Montello Elementary School in Lewiston, ME, second- grade teacher Kristie Clark is a literacy specialist who is always in the loop. She is credited with establishing Montello’s looping classrooms—where students remain with the same teacher and same group of students as they move through grade levels— which have been instrumental in helping at-risk and English as a Second Language (ESL) students gain enormous ground in academic achievement.
An outspoken advocate of integrated models, she runs a classroom that is focused and structured by a demanding routine. Her work to establish classroom literacy labs has paid huge dividends, as her class is now seen as a district model. From 2001 to 2008, at least 90 percent of her pupils exited at or above grade-level proficiency in reading. Her students outperform all other grade levels in writing assessments, and many perform at or above grade level in math, science and social studies. Last year, her class’s overall Northwest Evaluation Assessment (NWEA) median score leapt by 17 points in reading and 19 in math.
Clark continually goes beyond the call of duty. She led the charge to develop a balanced literacy framework and partnered with a co-teacher to institute school literacy labs. A strong proponent of classroom integration for the school’s significant ESL population, she successfully spearheaded the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) program for ESL instruction and now serves as its district trainer.