Check out what teachers say about working with Sara...

Sara L. Mathews, Lead Consultant

Sara and her two children, Madeline and Devon.

Sara Mathews has been a valuable resource for me in the classroom this year.  Sara visited my classroom as a coach, observing my reading lessons and providing feedback.  Her knowledge of early reading skills and instructional strategies has been so helpful for me as a teacher and very beneficial for my students.  Not only is Sara extremely knowledgeable, she is also collaborative, approachable, and professional.   I always looked forward to our coaching and reflective sessions because I learned so much from her!


Sara Ward – 4th grade teacher                                                                 

Being a first year teacher, Sara's presence in my classroom has been beneficial and supportive. I asked to be coached in writing instruction. After a few observations, Sara and I came up with a focus for the coaching sessions. Every six weeks we try to adjust the coaching into a new focus within writing instruction. Overall, Sara has helped me to plan lessons that are more clear and focused. Her presence and coaching has also helped my classroom become more of a community by supporting me to implement productive writing partnerships that have now fostered some really great writing pieces from my students. The support she has given me in writing has been strong enough that I can transfer those skills into other content areas. She has always found resources for me whether it be for whole group instruction or an individual student. The year is not over yet, but I can definitely see growth in my students' literacy skills that are a direct correlation to the teaching support Sara has given me.


Stephanie Spagnoulo – 5th grade teacher

The insight, advice, and assistance that Sara Mathews has given me this year through her literacy coaching and mentoring of me as a first year teacher has been the backbone of my reading instruction. Sara’s wealth of knowledge in the systematic ways to build literacy in students is incomparable.  I have reflected often, this school year, on the reading instruction training I received as a college student and cannot phantom the leaps that would be made in our country’s students if all teachers were trained using her methods.


Alison Ledesma – 2nd grade teacher                                                                 

Sara has been the most effective, knowledgeable literacy coach I have had the privilege to work with. She has provided me with a clear understanding of the importance and relevance of strong phonics instruction and the skill progression that needs to take place in order to shape strong readers and writers. I am able to quickly look at my students’ work to clearly identify immediate individual strengths and next steps to guide my instruction. I am extremely happy with the overall growth of my students in one year’s time and thank Sara for the knowledge I have gained that will travel with me throughout my career.


Kristin Meckenstock – 2nd grade teacher                                                                 

Sara has been a huge support to me and my students while learning a new (phonics) approaches to reading instruction. Coming from a school that took the whole language approach I felt very intimidated with using phonics to guide my reading groups. Sara's kind and gentle demeanor gave me the confidence I needed to get my reading groups in place and moving along quickly. From emails to sit down conversations she was always able to answer my questions in a simple and timely manner. While being coached the student and teacher expectations were very clear. I understood my role as a facilitator and I know this transferred into my students' learning. Within weeks I noticed students making leaps and bounds and some even moved between groups faster than I anticipated. I know my effectiveness as a literacy teacher has grown immensely since working with Sara.

Kristin Tousley – 2nd grade teacher                        

Sara Mathews worked with Mosley teachers last year to get a system of early literacy skills established.
I was so excited to grade and analyze my students' baseline spelling tests this year! Several trends jumped out at me that I think are worth noting. 
1. It is obvious which students attended Mosley in 1st grade and received Words Their Way instruction. All were consistent with the first skills in the phonological progression (beginning/ending sounds, short vowels, diagraphs, and many blends). Students fell off of the progression chart in differing places, but their skills demonstrate that they received solid direct instruction.
2. I had 5 students (who attended Mosley last year) score 100% on the test up through the vowel team words. I was shocked that I need to give 3rd and 4th grade words to so many at the beginning of the school year!

Kristin Meckenstock - 2nd Grade Teacher
                   

Over 25 years experience in the classroom, with 10 years experience as a Literacy Teacher Partner/Leader and Instructional Coach.

When I think of literacy development, Sara Mathews immediately comes to mind. From classroom teacher, to special education consultant, to literacy teaching partner, to new teacher university coordinator, Sara has a broad range of experiences and with students from a variety of backgrounds. She is an asset to any team. I’ve personally observed Sara working with students, teachers, consultants and administrators and her level of literacy knowledge, commitment and professionalism is top notch. Sara has taught me the value and importance of making foundational literacy skills explicit, targeted and systematic for students. Working with Sara one-on-one has significantly impacted my instruction and increased my student’s literacy skills.                                                                                                               

Janelle Davis – 1st grade teacher                        

Sterling Literacy Consulting, LLC

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