BCPS lit­er­acy ini­tia­tive re­ceives $1.75 mil­lion boost

The Avenue News - - EDITORIAL -

A $1.75 mil­lion three-year com­pre­hen­sive lit­er­acy grant is ben­e­fit­ing Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Schools PreKin­der­garten stu­dents and stu­dents in BCPS ele­men­tary and mid­dle schools.

“In­creas­ing stu­dent lit­er­acy in all sub­ject ar­eas is es­sen­tial to our work in BCPS,” said Me­gan Shay, in­terim ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for aca­demics. “Un­der In­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent Ver­letta White’s lead­er­ship, we are mak­ing great strides. This grant fur­ther ac­cel­er­ates our ef­forts to nur­ture life­long learn­ers and to sup­port stu­dents’ col­lege and ca­reer readi­ness.”

For the youngest learn­ers, the grant sup­ports a home read­ing pro­gram for all PreKin­der­garten stu­dents. “Be­yond sim­ply en­cour­ag­ing par­ents to read to their young chil­dren at home,” Shay said, “funds from this grant en­able us to send PreKin­der­garten stu­dents home with a sack­ful of books each Fri­day and to work closely with par­ents to make read­ing a part of the home rou­tine – as much as brush­ing teeth and eat­ing din­ner are.” The ro­tat­ing col­lec­tion of books, which are on loan to the fam­i­lies for the week, in­clude fic­tion and non­fic­tion and re­flect di­verse races and cul­tures.

“This ini­tia­tive con­trib­utes to en­hanc­ing the cli­mate of our schools as it mean­ing­fully en­gages fam­i­lies,” Shay said.

At the el­e­men­tar y level, grant funds sup­port pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment and coach­ing to fa­cil­i­tate teach­ers of­fer­ing re­spon­sive small group in­struc­tion and sup­port the pur­chase of texts at var­i­ous read­ing lev­els.

For se­condary schools, the grant sup­ports dis­ci­plinary lit­er­acy train­ing for teams of teach­ers from ev­ery mid­dle and high school. “We are cre­at­ing cadres of ex­perts in each build­ing,” Shay said. “Teach­ers in spe­cific dis­ci­plines – math­e­mat­ics, so­cial stud­ies, etc. – are shar­ing a con­sis­tent frame­work and are em­pow­ered to sup­port each other. In ad­di­tion, stu­dents, as they delve into more ca­reer-spe­cific stud­ies, will gain a deeper un­der­stand­ing of the dis­ci­pline-spe­cific lit­er­acy skills fur­ther stud­ies in those fields will re­quire.”

The funds were awarded to BCPS by the Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and come from a $45 mil­lion fed­eral Striv­ing Read­ers’ Com­pre­hen­sive Lit­er­acy Grant that MSDE re­ceived from the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

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