Ga. receives $61 million for reading and literacy

Published 4:25 pm Friday, November 17, 2017

The Georgia Department of Education has received a grant that will provide $61.5 million to improve reading and literacy outcomes for Georgia’s children.

GaDOE’s Literacy for Learning, Living and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) initiative was awarded funding through the Striving Readers grant, which was developed to serve children in need. Georgia has been awarded $20,526,600 per year over three years, totaling $61,579,800. Georgia received more Striving Readers funding than any other state, and was one of just three states to receive the funding a second time after the initial grant cycle from 2011-2016.

Ninety-five percent of the grant funding will be sub-granted to local school districts and communities to develop partnerships specifically aimed at improving reading and literacy outcomes for Georgia’s children, from birth to grade 12. Specifically, the sub-grants will be awarded to school districts that work collaboratively with community partners and teacher preparation programs.

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The L4GA initiative was developed based on lessons learned through Georgia’s previous Striving Readers grant (2011-16) and the Get Georgia Reading campaign.

“Nothing is more important than making sure all students have the literacy skills they need to succeed academically and in life,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “To make that happen, we have to build upon a foundation of early learning that connects all the way through high school graduation and builds in community partnerships — because we know that what happens inside the school building is not the only factor that impacts students’ literacy. This grant allows us to invest directly in local communities to improve literacy outcomes and directly impact the lives of thousands of students.”

The goal of L4GA is to improve student literacy learning, teacher delivery of instruction, school climate and culture, and academic outcomes across all subgroups of children, from birth to grade 12. Districts will build community partnerships that ensure early care and learning in ways that prepare literacy learners, and all sub-grant recipients will align interventions within a feeder system (including birth-age 5 childcare providers and elementary, middle, and high schools). GaDOE is required to ensure that evidence plays a central role in each sub-grant. Districts’ applications will be competitively scored by a panel of expert reviewers.

The Georgia Department of Education will coordinate sub-grants, facilitate all participating partners, conduct an evaluation of the initiative, and utilize data to create improvements on an on-going basis. In addition, GaDOE will work with partners from successful classrooms, Regional Educational Service Agencies, teacher educators and researchers with expertise in targeted areas for improvement to provide professional learning opportunities for school leaders and teachers. These efforts will build upon other important initiatives, including the ongoing work to ensure that positive learning climates exist in all schools, students have access to print and digital resources, and teachers have peers and school leaders who can give meaningful feedback that improves instruction.

“Georgia’s literacy outcomes have been improving for 10 years. We have much to be proud of; however, we must accelerate the pace of improvement if all of our students are to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for their future success,” said Dr. Caitlin McMunn Dooley, GaDOE’s Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. “This grant offers a tremendous opportunity for schools and communities to work closely together to identify student needs and meet those needs in measurable ways. Together, we can fulfill the promise that each and every child in the state will be on a path to reading and writing proficiently.”