u-turnThere is a new road to success in Central Kitsap – a fast-track for students not necessarily used to reaching their destination, let alone in double, triple, even quintuple time. This is a pathway where U-turns are not only permitted, but encouraged and facilitated by an outstanding educator driving her students to their maximum potential with Read 180 as the vehicle.

eisele.3This week Clear Creek Dentistry applauds our patient Mindy Eisele of Seabeck, Wash., who is not only changing minds, but changing lives in her classroom every day.

“The concentration is on secondary-school students who, for variety of reasons, have fallen behind and been missed,” said Eisele, an English teacher and reading interventionist at Olympic High School. “Maybe they were sick for an extended period of time, their families were displaced or perhaps even suffered a tragedy. No matter the why, we know what happens. Once a kid falls behind in his or her reading level, they become really good at covering it up because they don’t want anyone to know. They progress from one grade level to the next. Some develop behaviors that may classify them as slow or discipline problems, but my emphasis is on really bright kids who need critical skills – missing links – to turn their educational and life paths completely around.”

eisele.6There are 115 million illiterate adolescents around the world, one in four children who grow up without learning how to read and 1.2 million students who drop out of high school each year – that’s one student every 26 seconds. “Reading level is the biggest predictor of future success,” Eisele said. “Once a student has those skills and becomes a proficient reader, it’s completely life-changing. They go from feeling frustrated, angry and unsuccessful to being completely empowered with huge confidence about their options and individual potential. Is there anything more important?”

eisele.7Touted as the only program proven to raise reading achievement, Read 180 measures student success in Lexile levels. “Though it varies by the kid, I have watched my students go up two to five grade levels in one year. It’s amazing!” she said. “Students are able to quite literally do a 180 because of the program’s combination of interactive software, independent/modeled reading with a lot of self-choice, and small group work. We are together for two-hour blocks, targeting individual weaknesses.”

The program piloted last year at Olympic and Central Kitsap High Schools. “It was so wildly successful that Central Kitsap School District has now expanded its use into the middle-school levels,” Eisele excitedly reported. “Once a student achieves or exceeds grade-level reading, no one can ever take it away from them. It’s a forever gift, one I’m thrilled to be a part of providing every day.”

Watch here to learn more about how Read 180 is fortifying reading and building hope.

After years of working for the dean of students at Southwest Missouri State University, Eisele went back to school to obtain her teaching certificate in 2001. “For me, it’s always been about the students and I wanted to have a direct impact,” she said. “I was at a turning point in my life and came to Washington rather randomly, but was attracted to the West Coast’s progressive views of changing education for the better. Over these last 15 years, I have built my entire teaching career at Olympic High School. I simply fell in love with the students here and feel lucky to work in a place where it’s all about taking care of each other.”

eisele.5In 2012, Eisele was named Washington State Regional Teacher of the Year for her efforts to not only teach the written word, but motivate students in their daily work and personal lives.

“It’s really incredible to be able to get up in the morning and do something you love. I get the same vibe from the staff at Clear Creek Dentistry,” Eisele said. “I was just recently in for a routine hygiene visit. I left feeling like Dr. (Lyle) Beck is a master at his trade and enthusiastic about what he does. He communicates well, and when I have questions he can answer them in a way I understand. I really admire his knowledge and trust his ongoing dental education.”

Each day Eisele tries to instill real-world applications of literacy and solid communications. “Dr. Beck is wonderful example of becoming what you want to be as a result of having the proper foundation and commitment,” she said. “It is evident that his daily work is more than just providing a service. He extends himself to his patients and this community in a way that supports other dreams and successes.”

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