The grant is part of the U.S. Department of Education’s “Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant” and will support a variety of programs designed to promote literacy among children from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Nevada received a total of $71 million through this competitive grant program over a five-year period.
“This is very, very good news for our district,” Kristen McNeill, WCSD chief strategies officer, said in a press release. “Through the Literacy for Lifelong Learning Project (L3 Project), our schools, teachers, students and parents will be the direct beneficiaries of this funding. It is a comprehensive program reaching our youngest learners up through our high school-age students.”
The grant will include funding for teacher training and provide support for family engagement programs with a particular focus on homeless children, special needs students, English language learners and low-income students. Under terms of the grant, funding is specifically targeted for literacy advancement programs in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and cannot be used to supplement budget shortfalls.
“These are the students at highest risk of dropping out of school before graduation,” Superintendent Heath Morrison said. “This grant funding helps the district advance literacy and learning in meaningful ways, giving our students the greatest chance for success in school and in life.”
The first schools to receive grant funding include Wooster High School, Vaughn Middle School, Booth Elementary School, Corbett Elementary School, Dodson Elementary School, Donner Springs Elementary School and Hidden Valley Elementary School. The two-year grant is expected to be received this month with professional development for teachers beginning this summer.
“Our plan is to focus on literacy in every subject area, improving student achievement school-wide through explicit, skill-based instruction,” said Leah Keuscher, principal of Wooster High School. “It’s exciting to have support to help train teachers, because teachers really do want to help support kids in literacy skills. We want to help students become fluent in every subject area in order to become successful and master the content so they can graduate college and career ready.”
Overall, the state of Nevada received $14.2 million from the Striving Readers grant for the first year. School districts in Clark, Douglas and Lyon counties also received the highly competitive grant. After two years, districts will be evaluated to determine if their program has met all the grant requirements to allow for continued funding.