Estania Philemond, a student at Henry County High School, has been named a recipient of the 2018 National 180 Student Awards.
The award recognizes 15 students from across the United States who have overcome significant obstacles to become thriving, successful learners. The 180 Student Awards program, now in its 12th year and organized by global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, honors students, who along with the help of their teachers, have made outstanding progress in literacy and math achievement and are now on the path to success in life.
With the support of her teacher, DeAnna Moses, and the use of READ 180, an intervention program that uses adaptive technology to personalize student instruction, Philemond has developed a growth mindset.
When Philemond moved to the U.S. from Haiti in the fourth grade, she spoke no English. In setting her goals for this year, she promised herself she would finish ninth grade with a 1050 Lexile score. But by the mid-point of the year she scored 1140 — a gain of 274 points after only four months in the READ 180 program.
This is a complete turnaround, according to Moses. The first day in the Read 180 class was a different scenario for the now confident, accomplished student.
“On the first day of our READ 180 class, Philemond sat in the back of the class and looked absolutely terrified at being in high school,” Moses said.
Philemond explained that she was very shy and did not want to be made fun of, but then her teacher read the profile of Darlene Manfred, a successful and recent Read 180 graduate. Moses said she saw something ignite within Philemond upon hearing a story similar to hers.
It turns out that Philemond and Manfred shared a connection by virtue of them both being from Haiti and both being victims of the terrible earthquake of 2010. Both moved to America without their families in order to find opportunities. Philemond said she used Manfred’s story as her inspiration to push forward and succeed by becoming a better student first.
Today Philemond helps her English learner classmates who struggle with reading by using the strategies she has learned in READ 180. She is also helping to restart a Diversity Club at school, which is helping her overcome her shyness. For the future, Philemond has her sights set on learning a fourth language, attending college, studying psychology and becoming an entrepreneur.
Student winners were selected by an HMH committee based on several factors, including teacher recommendations, student statements and video submissions, as well as data demonstrating reading or math growth according to the Lexile or Quantile framework. Each winner will receive a prize, and the student’s school district will receive READ 180, System 44 and/or MATH 180 materials for their school or district.