Walton continues to champion Reading Mastery and believes that it is one of the biggest reasons why Walton is still recognized. Student achievement is still climbing and the neighborhood around Walton is changing. Real estate developers have heard about Walton's acclaim and have decided to build a new neighborhood right next to the school, creating an excellent opportunity for families, as well as Walton.
Walton Elementary is going on its third year as a "recognized" school, the second highest grade a school can earn. And as student achievement continues to climb, Principal Brasfield couldn't be happier. Brasfield attributes the rise in student scores to his dedicated staff and to committed parents.
A Tale of Two Schools ends on a happy note for Tavares. As he finished first grade, he seemed to be on his way to becoming a good reader. But what happened after that wasn't so encouraging. His father moved to a new neighborhood, with a less accomplished school, and Tavares has struggled both academically and with behavior. He had to repeat second grade last year. What happened to him shows how fragile progress can be for poor kids. It's going to take a long, persistent effort by his parents and teachers before he is really in the clear.
Today, Ruby Jackson continues to teach kindergartners how to read through Reading Mastery. In 2002, Jackson had her own personal battle with cancer. She firmly believes that family, friends and Walton helped her get through it all. Now, in addition to teaching, Ruby Jackson volunteers through the American Cancer society and through her church to help others in need.
Ms. Kemp has taken her passion for working with kids to Crowley, Texas. Vice Principal Kemp's role is very much the same as it was at Walton -- just with a different title. She encourages, helps and disciplines her students and works with teachers and parents. Like Walton, Crowley is a "recognized" school and has a strict reading program similar to Reading Mastery.
Candria Morgan is just a few credits shy of finishing her master's degree in education. For the first time in 10 years, instead of teaching she has decided to give counseling a try for the 2003-04 school year.