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English teacher and reading specialist at Eastview High School in suburban Minneapolis; sought degree to accelerate literacy growth in students

As an English teacher, Jennifer McCarty Plucker is committed to helping students become better readers.

“In 2005, I was growing more and more concerned with the number of students I had in my 10th grade English class who were not able to comprehend the texts we were using,” she explains. “This led to my desire to pursue my reading license from Hamline University and take a sabbatical to earn my doctorate degree from Argosy University.”

Jennifer graduated from Argosy University, Twin Cities in 2009, with a Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Leadership K-12. With her licensure and an advanced degree, she was able to fulfill her goal to increase the reading capabilities of students through school-wide reading programs. She is currently a reading specialist at Eastview High School in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, in addition to being an English teacher there. She’s also a self-employed literacy consultant who works with area middle and high schools on implementing evidence-based reading interventions.

“The highest point of my career has been the results that came from the quasi-experimental study I conducted for my doctoral work,” she says. “The reading intervention plan we implemented yielded accelerated reading growth at three to four times that of on-grade level readers.”

Jennifer’s passion for accelerating the literacy growth of young readers has come with many rewards. She won the Celebrate Literacy Award from the Minnesota Reading Association in 2010; the Presidential Leadership Award from Argosy University in 2009; and awards from the Minnesota Speech Coaches Association. An article titled Baiting the Reading Hook that is based on her doctoral research was published in ASCD publication Educational Leadership.

“It was my personal goal to make sure that I took the success of my doctoral research study and share it with a practitioner audience,” she says. “I was proud when an article based on my research was published in Educational Leadership.”

Pursuing a doctorate degree under the mentorship of Argosy University professors has given Jennifer the confidence to advocate for students who are still struggling to comprehend, and some to simply read the words on the page, at the high school level.

“Argosy allowed me to pursue my passion,” Jennifer says. “In all of my courses, I could use my passion and interest in adolescent literacy within my coursework.”

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