Five of Benchmark’s Middle School teachers attended the 2022 Keystone State Literacy Association (KSLA) conference from November 27-29 in Hershey, Pennsylvania. This annual conference is an exciting opportunity for professional development and networking which includes a diverse program of speakers and workshops featuring researchers, practitioners, and authors.
This year, one of Benchmark’s veteran teachers was given special recognition for his outstanding commitment to supporting literacy education. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Eric MacDonald, Benchmark School’s 8th grade teacher, Transition Counselor, and Assistant to the Middle School Head, was awarded the 2022 KSLA Exemplary Service Award. Dr. MacDonald has been a member of Keystone State Literacy Association for close to 30 years. He has served on a myriad of conference committees and has held board positions including KSRA President, Bylaws Chairperson, Regional Director, Website Coordinator, and International Literacy Association Coordinator.
Dr. MacDonald is passionate about providing support for his students and helping them find success. In his President’s Message, published in the Winter 2000 edition of the Keystone Reader, Eric wrote: “Setting standards and the implementation of high-stakes assessment has become the political solution of choice to promote academic achievement. I believe in High Standards—just ask any of my students. But I also believe that for high standards to work, we need to have support systems in place to help struggling learners achieve these standards.” Before bestowing his award, KSLA spokesperson Stephanie Romano commented, “[Our] tagline sums up our visionary, our techie guru, and our devoted friend: “Providing Leadership and Literacy in Education for the Commonwealth.”
Dr. MacDonald’s commitment to literacy and helping struggling learners is not only exemplary, but impactful. Benchmark School is grateful for his dedicated 38 years of teaching where he has encouraged thousands of students to empower and advocate for themselves and provided them with the fundamental skills needed to succeed. Dr. Eleanor Gensemer, Head of the Middle School, commented, “I am thrilled to see Eric's tremendous efforts at KSLA rewarded. He has worked tirelessly to advance literacy in Pennsylvania through his presidency in the organization, his work as the International Literacy Association coordinator, and his involvement in many KSLA committees. The award is well deserved!”
Congratulations, Dr. Mac!