Greater Washington Reading Council Honors Hwang
“Despite having taught mathematics and science, my principal has become an expert in reading and literacy,” Sanders Corner Reading Specialist Beth Cipriano wrote in her nomination for the GWRC award. “Both at her previous school and in her present position, she has been an advocate for reading, teachers and children; keeping the school’s vision in the forefront of all school decisions…
“When my principal arrived six years ago, we were a school that consistently performed in the 90th percentile on state assessments. It would have been easy for her to coast along and let us keep doing what we were doing… Instead she looked at the programs we had in place and our school data and began empowering us to excel, particularly in reading and writing. As a school community, we began by taking a hard look at the data and drilled down to more specific areas that needed improvement. With my principal as the facilitator, we rewrote our vision and put our efforts into improving reading and writing instruction. From that point on, all school-based decisions have been consistent; putting the children first and focusing on our set reading and writing goals.”
“My principal reaches out to the community to have everyone involved in reading,” first grade teacher Denise Legg wrote in her nomination. “She has a ‘Family Book Night’ at a local restaurant. Families bring in books to donate to the ‘I Read to the Principal’ program, which she developed at the school. The students are excited to bring in books for the program. Students are encouraged to read to the principal from a book or from one of their own writings. After reading, the students get to pick a free book and get an ‘I read to the Principal’ button and have their picture taken and placed on a board by the office. Recently in my class, my students had to write what they would do if they were principal. About half the class said that they would have kids read to them many times in the year. This program has impacted and built excitement for reading amongst all readers.”
“Our principal makes every student feel special,” wrote Reading Specialist Cyndy Amrhein. “This starts at the beginning of the day when she stands outside and welcomes each student into the building. She celebrates new kindergartners starting school by letting each one pick a book and she writes their name in it…
“Our principal is a learner. She keeps abreast of the latest trends and issues. She continues to read educational books and shares them with our staff. She has purchased professional books for the staff to read and discuss…
“Our principal’s leadership focuses on individual strengths and cohesive teams. I am pleased to work for such a competent and thoughtful principal who dedicates her life to influence students’ positive development and attitudes towards reading.”
This is not the first time one of Hwang’s schools has been honored for excellence in reading. She was the principal of Malibu Elementary in Virginia Beach when it was named the Reading School of the Year for Virginia by the Virginia State Reading Association.
The GWRC has been in existence for more than half a century. It is a professional organization serving the counties of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier Loudoun, and Prince William.