News Releases
Office of Governor Gary Locke
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 16, 2002
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136
Alt Contact:  Kirsten Kendrick, Governor’s Communications Office, 360-239-1399 cell

Gov. Locke and State Superintendent Bergeson Present First 'Reading School of the Month' Award for 2002-03

Gov. Gary Locke and Dr. Terry Bergeson, state superintendent of public instruction, have presented Garfield Elementary School in Spokane with the “Reading School of the Month” award for September 2002.

“Reading is so important for academic success,” Locke told the students during a visit to their school on Thursday. “No matter what you want to do when you grow up, you have to start by being a good reader. I am so proud of all the progress that has been made in reading at Garfield Elementary.”

Many students at Garfield come from low-income families and the school has worked hard to raise its overall reading score. The 2002 Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) scores show that 80.7 percent of the school’s fourth grade students met the standard in reading (up from 71.3 percent in 2001).

“Everyone here at Garfield Elementary should be very excited by how well students are reading,” Bergeson said during an all-school assembly. “The staff here have made reading essential to the school day – whether it’s part of a classroom assignment or just encouraging students to check out books to read for fun.”

Students at Garfield are allowed 45 minutes of silent reading every day and the school heavily promotes reading. Garfield Principal Joann Eckstrom also credits changes in the school’s culture for the increased reading scores. Garfield became a “Character Counts” school last year, touting the values of trustworthiness, respect, caring and responsibility.

Locke and Bergeson read “Wolf!” by Becky Bloom aloud to the all-school assembly. They also presented Garfield’s library with two new books: “A Fine, Fine School” and “Teddy Bear.”

Locke and Bergeson started the “Reading School of the Month” program in January of this year to raise awareness about the importance of reading.

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