Casey schools apply for literacy grant

October 24, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

LIBERTY - Casey County Board of Education is making an effort to help primary students who have trouble with reading.

If approved, an application for a $135,000 early reading incentive grant will help students in Douglas and Liberty elementary schools improve their reading skills.

The board gave the go-ahead for the application Thursday for the funds that are made available through the state Department of Education, according to Marilyn Coffey. Coffey and Jennifer Godbey, Family Resource Center coordinators, and the school district literacy team, which includes all certified staff at the central office, are working on the application.

The entire project will cost about $170,000 with a portion of the funds coming from the school district and community.

Coffey said the state expects more than 400 applications for the funds.

"Anything we do to help literacy is worth working for and going after," said Coffey. "We've gotten good support from all the teachers and principals, and the central office has been supportive to help with gathering data."


The Circles of Support project will provide extra help for students, who had low scores on state reading tests, and also will involve parents.

Coffey said the school district's Resource Development Committee will write the grant and focus on intervention service for the 10 percent of those scoring the lowest in primary grades from kindergarten through third grade. The local school district also will donate money to help the core reading program.

She said students already are getting access to reading and extra practice in the regular classroom and through the core program, and the grant will provide extra funds needed for additional things.

All students in the primary grades will benefit if the grant is received but 30 children will be the focus for the additional funds, Coffey said.

Multiple uses of the grant

The $135,000 grant would be used to purchase additional materials, for reading intervention activities, and professional development for teachers, and help students in Douglas and Liberty schools, their parents, and provide agency support for the targeted students.

The grant application is based on the number of primary teachers the schools have. The application will ask for $65,000 for Douglas and $70,000 for Liberty elementary. The schools and the local school district are required to put in matching money.

If the Circles of Support project is funded, the county retired teachers association, cooperative extension service and homemakers, Casey County Public Library and Community Ministries, adult education and Casey Early Childhood Council will help. Other volunteers are needed to help, too.

The school system will learn in January if the application has been approved. The grant covers 18 months from January 2005-June 30, 2006, and can be re-funded, Coffey said.

While the actual grant funds can only be used to help students in the Douglas and Liberty elementaries, teachers at Douglas will partner with Phillips school, and Liberty will partner with Phelps to share their knowledge of the program. With Middleburg and Garrett elementary schools already sharing a Reading First grant, Coffey said if the grant is approved, the six elementaries will all have projects to help literacy.

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