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District Receives Literacy Grant
Reading

(by Don Meador, Allen County Schools)


   Students and families in Allen County will benefit immeasurably from a $3.75 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant awarded to the Allen County School District. The five-year grant will fund books for young children and students, books for all school library media centers, curriculum support programs, and professional development opportunities for the district which will be reflective throughout the community. 

 

   “This is a tremendous opportunity for the students and families of Allen County-Scottsville,” noted Melissa Biggerstaff Chief Academic Officer for the District and collaborator on writing the grant. “Years of research show the single most significant factor influencing a child’s educational success is an introduction to books at an early age. This grant allows us to direct dollars directly to students and families and to invest in our schools, teachers, and library media specialists to ensure we are closing the gaps that exist in reading proficiency. Our goal as a district is for all students to leave third grade being strong readers, and to continue to support students' literacy development and a love for reading that will help them be successful life-long learners. This grant award will help us make significant progress toward meeting that goal.”

 

   In writing the grant request, Allen County grant writer Tara Thomas noted six objectives. First, the grant would seek to increase the number of students reading at a proficiency level in fourth and eighth grades 10% by year three and an additional 10% by year five. Second, the funds would help increase the effectiveness and knowledge of librarians as evidenced by increased use of resources by students and teachers across the project period as measured by increased circulation statistics and librarian self-report. The third objective was to increase available, age-appropriate and grade-appropriate updated books/materials/resources in school libraries by 25% by the end of the project. The next objective was to increase the number of age and developmentally appropriate books given to birth-preK children in the community as measured by number of book giveaways pre-and post-project, and total number of books disseminated. The fifth objective was to increase the number of books provided to district students by 50% by the end of the project period; and, a sixth objective, to increase the effectiveness rating of teachers in reading measured by increased student proficiency on reading assessments. 

 

   Youngsters of all ages will reap the benefits through increased access to reading materials. Funds will be used to purchase books for children from birth to five years of age. In addition, the grant will help purchase over $500,000 worth of books for all students in the District. In addition to providing reading material for youngsters, funding for curriculum support in K-3rd grades is included. 

 

   The tangible effects of the grant will become evident as the community’s children will see multiple book giveaways for children and students from birth-12th grade each year. In school, new books, materials and resources will be available in school libraries with the libraries transformed into responsive and inclusive-supportive library environments. In addition to the new books and materials, the grant will fund the implementation of preK-3rd grade phonemic awareness curriculum.

 

   Not only will students see changes, the grant will help librarians and teachers enhance their teaching skills and strategies. Explicit instruction in reading professional development via “Literacy Camps” for primary and intermediate teachers will be provided. The grant will also fund reading coaches starting in year three of the grant---allowing the district to build upon the work of reading coaches already at work across the school district. 

 

 

   The grant will fund the purchase of Fastbridge for K-12, an assessment tool that will replace the current STAR assessment program. Fastbridge will offer a multitude of support (SEL, screeners, interventions, etc.) that educators can use to evaluate student achievement and determine better approaches to student learning.

 

   District officials hope that the multiple positive outcomes of the five-year grant will be seen in both students and educators. The results are projected to bring an increase in the number of students scoring proficient in reading in 4th and 8th grades, increased student engagement in reading, and more children beginning to learn earlier through age and developmentally appropriate books. It is believed that the outcome will also include increased use of school libraries by students and teachers and an increased number of updated books, materials and resources in school libraries. In general, the grant is expected to grow the number of children in the community with access to age and developmentally appropriate books.

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Allen County Board of Education
570 Oliver Street, Scottsville, KY
Phone: (270) 618-3181
Fax: (270) 618-3185
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Allen County Schools
570 Oliver Street
Scottsville, KY

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