Three standout educator success stories in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Oregon

By Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist

In our day-to-day lives, we often overlook the small things, like perfectly formed pancakes for breakfast, a good morning text, or our favorite song on the radio while we’re on our way to work (T-Swift, anyone?). While small, these moments can add up and make a big difference over time. In education, those small things, such as a student experiencing an aha moment while working through a math problem or learning the meaning of a new word, adds up to something tremendous: growth. Hearing these types of stories from educators is inspiring. Each one is so proud of their students’ growth and achievement. You know how you can tell when someone is smiling over the phone? The educators below were doing just that and they loved talking about their students’ growth. Below, we’ve highlighted three incredible success stories we covered in the last couple of months.

1. Reading and growing their way to top honors as Mississippi’s #1 elementary school

Davis IB Elementary School
Jackson, Mississippi

Davis IB Elementary School was recently ranked as Mississippi’s top elementary school. For five years and counting, the school has achieved an A grade in the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) accountability ratings. While the school has regularly achieved these rankings, maintaining them can be challenging for a school offering an advanced academic program. Because of that, Principal Kathleen Grigsby leans on Renaissance Star Reading®, Renaissance Star Math®, and Renaissance Star Early Literacy® for fast, accurate assessments and Renaissance Accelerated Reader 360® to spark a love for reading.

Read the full story now »

2. Pennsylvania district standardizes assessment, predicts state test results within 3–5 percent

Saint Marys Area School District
Elk County, Pennsylvania

Tractors in the parking lot and state-of-the-art education technology in the classroom form the perfect embodiment of this school’s mission to deliver “world-class education with a rural advantage.” In this largely rural district, students benefit from personalized attention, inclusiveness, and a highly supportive school-community partnership, which often characterize education in small-town settings. Perhaps less typical is the district’s longstanding utilization of assessment technology to guide instruction and enable data-driven decision-making. Middle School Principal Noel Petrosky credits Accelerated Reader 360 and Renaissance Star 360® for giving the district a wealth of data so educators can help students reach proficiency and grow.

Read the full story now »

3. Blazing a new Oregon Trail: first graders read 7,000+ books

Warrenton Grade School
Warrenton, Oregon

They just didn’t want to read. Rewards and incentives that usually worked for first graders held no sway. But between the start of the school year in September and the close of their reading program in late May, a tiny miracle unfolded. Twenty-six disinterested, diffident 6- and 7-year-olds discovered they could read—and they loved it! By the end of the year, Crystal Salmi’s first-grade class at Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton, Oregon had set a new standard for achievement, together reading nearly 5,000,000 words in more than 7,000 books. Salmi believes that from their first hesitant steps as emergent readers, her students gained ground because of ready access to high-interest books, a supportive teaching and community ecosystem, and a program built on the Renaissance Accelerated Reader® application.

Read the full story now »

Interested in reading more success stories? Want to highlight your students’ success? Head on over to our success stories page to read the latest success stories and submit your information to be featured next!

Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist
Ken Stoflet is the communications specialist at Renaissance. He has been with the company since 2015 and can be found crafting anything from a press release to a tweet. In his spare time, Ken enjoys spending time with his friends, lifting, and making trips to the Frozen Tundra to cheer on the Green Bay Packers.


  1. Rita Platt says:

    I love every single think about this post, Ken! When teachers use tools well, kids succeed. KUDOS to these terrific schools.

  2. Lloyd Goldberg says:

    These are great teachers and the kids are lucky to have them.

  3. Jody Steinhaus says:

    Congratulations to all. I love how Renaissance Learning aids children in reaching goals.

  4. David Keech says:

    It’s always nice to see schools and teachers that help kids value books.

  5. Jennifer Bunn says:

    I agree. With full implementation, STAR and AR will elevate your literacy program.

    • Liana Ferrer says:

      I completely agree. With the full implementation of both programs, the benefits to students are amazing!

  6. Mario says:

    It is great to hear success stories from all around the US. I believe that Renaissance has plenty of programs to meet the needs of any individual student.

  7. Alecia Walkuski says:

    Amazing results! Great work!

  8. Andrea says:

    What great accomplishments!

  9. Laura Shultz says:

    This is really inspiring! I teach at a rural school too!

  10. Katie Peugh says:

    Love it all!

  11. Amy says:

    The best results are the smiles on my students’ faces.

    • Ken Stoflet, Communications Specialist Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist says:

      Indeed! There’s nothing better than a student smiling because they understand something.

  12. Julie Birdsong says:

    I’ve been using Ren. Learn products for close to 20 years. I’ve found the STAR tests to be very beneficial in predicting success and growth throughout the school year.

  13. Cathy Kelley says:

    Great success stories!

  14. RENEE P GRAHAM says:

    I wish everyone could read these stories to help them understand that success is guaranteed with this program.

  15. P R says:

    These teachers are using the Renaissance tools correctly and seeing positive results. It is so nice to see positive news!

  16. Terri says:

    Reading is the key to success. Love reading about great teachers and schools that foster a love of books and reading.

  17. Christina says:

    Love these stories! Student centered!!!

  18. Krystal Dozier says:

    We are aggressively implementing Accelerated Reader and the results are awesome. Thanks for additional tips.

  19. Carly says:

    The immediate feedback provided by Renaissance math and reading programs help students strive for success.

  20. Missy Berry says:

    Awesome job!!! Love the collaboration!

  21. Jason says:

    Great stories. One of these schools is in my district. Good to see good things promoted nationally.

  22. Ami Edwards says:

    All these stories are great! Thanks for sharing!

  23. LT says:

    Great success stories!

  24. Christina McCloud says:

    I love reading success stories and seeing how others are using the Renaissance programs. Congratulations to all!

  25. Sandra says:

    Great to see so many students setting goals and reaching them!

  26. Virginia Wiedenfeld says:

    Reading and testing with A.R. helps keep the students finding new material to read!

  27. s. bellomo says:

    Achievement through positive motivation and encouragement is the perfect way to build a reading program!!