Congratulations to MACA English Department Head Teacher, Amber Wilkins, on being selected as the Maryland ACT College and Career Readiness K-12 Champion! Mrs. Wilkins is among a highly select national group of outstanding educators who are being recognized by ACT for their positive impact on their communities through their efforts to advance college and career readiness. She has been chosen as the Maryland State Champion.
Through her position as English Department Head Teacher, Mrs. Wilkins has led a collaborative team of peers to create a strategic scope and sequence for language arts campus-wide. She and her group have also helped to develop a split-track curriculum focusing on meeting the needs of differentiated learners. In addition, the English department has designed a summer reading program for MACA students campus wide. Her department has served to bridge the gap between school levels and created a dynamic program that encourages higher level thinking and produces great readers and writers.
Rose Babington, District Manager for ACT’s northeast division, applauds Wilkins and the other recipients. “We at ACT understand that the pathway to success is unique for each person and the power of information and learning is transformational. ACT Champions are tenacious, persistent, creative influences on tomorrow’s leaders and we want to recognize their contributions.”
Since Wilkins took over leadership of MACA’s English program, student reading and writing scores on standardized tests have consistently fallen well above the average, both for Maryland state and nationally. This truth was evident during a recent administration of the PSAT/NMSQT, a standardized test given to sophomores and juniors nationwide. On that assessment, MACA students scored especially high on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing indicator with 95% of juniors and 96% of sophomores meeting or exceeding the benchmark in that category, a full 17 points above their national peers. Another indicator of MACA English student success is the fact that 100% of MACA students who took the ACT in 2016-17 met the national benchmark for college readiness in English composition while the state average for that indicator was 77%. MACA’s students are well prepared for college and beyond and Mrs. Wilkins has been a major factor in that success.
“Mrs. Wilkins has led her team to instigate significant advancements in our English curriculum over the last three years and our test scores and student success are direct indicators of her investment,” said Vicky Webster, MACA Head of School. “Amber is also a valued colleague and a favorite teacher. Her work at MACA has not only resulted in a nationally competitive language arts program, but has also brought about a collaborative spirit on our campus from kindergarten to on-campus dual-enrollment college courses. I am proud of the changes we have seen through Amber’s leadership but, more importantly, I am proud of the impact she is having on our students, our faculty, and our campus and how all of her work brings glory to the Lord. Amber is a great representative of MACA and of Christ.”
Wilkins’ impact on students has often resulted in her being named “My Favorite Teacher” by graduating seniors during MACA’s high school graduation ceremony. “She doesn’t just have a passion for reading or writing, she has a passion for us and wants us to have a passion for literature,” shared Jessie Markley, 2018 MACA graduating senior. “She prepared us for college in a way that goes beyond English class. She teaches us a mentality that prepares us for college to work hard and give our all, even if we feel incapable of doing that. As a teacher and a mentor she’s prepared me for college and for the rest of my life to do my best as a student and follower of Christ.”
Markley is one of the students who completed Wilkins’ college English class through the MACA Next Step Dual Enrollment program through which MACA seniors get college English composition credit during their senior English class. Markley proudly stated that after taking English with Mrs. Wilkins, she was able to test out of two college English classes, a savings of time and money for Markley and her family.
Wilkins’ selection is a rare honor, but she is a very deserving recipient. We are so proud of Mrs. Wilkins and the effort she puts forth to prepare our students in the classroom for their next steps.
To read more about the award and the champion criteria, please follow the link: http://leadershipblog.act.org/2018/04/congratulations-to-2018-act-college-and.html