BCPS literacy initiative receives $1.75 million boost
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.