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Fontana Unified Student Honored by Learning Company for Overcoming Adversity, Learning to Read

Jowah Scott

FONTANA, CA – Jowah Scott enrolled in Kathy Binks Elementary School as a third-grader with a big goal: to learn how to read, despite not having attended school consistently and not knowing his letters and sounds. 

In less than two years, Scott, now a fourth-grader, has grown from not knowing how to read to confidently reading at his grade level. For his perseverance and dedication to learning, Scott has been selected as one of only 15 students in the country to receive the 2020 180 Student Awards from learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH).

“Jowah is a perfect example of someone with a growth mindset,” Kathy Binks Elementary Principal Lorena Huizar Rodriguez said. “When I first met him, we shook hands and he told me ‘I don’t know how to read.’ I looked at him, smiled and said ‘Then you’ve come to the right place!’ He was determined to read. He was persistent and never once gave up. He had amazing teachers who were just as driven to teach him to read and had the support of our entire staff. We are all so proud of Jowah!”

According to HMH, the 180 Student Awards celebrate students who have overcome challenges to achieve remarkable reading and math gains. In the face of learning disabilities, health challenges, and/or the difficulty of learning English as a second language, nominees from across the country experience growing success every day, despite formidable odds.

Scott was one of nine students nationwide to be recognized in the READ 180 category, which recognizes students who have thrived while using the HMH blended learning reading intervention program. In less than six months, Scott increased his Lexile score – which measures a student’s reading ability – from 381 to 682.

“Congratulations to Jowah Scott on receiving this well-deserved recognition for his dedication to learning,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “Jowah’s story is an inspiration to all our students, demonstrating that with a growth mindset and the support of your teachers and staff, no goal is out of reach.”