St. Charles Parish Public Schools Awarded $1.7 Million Reading Grant
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded St. Charles Parish $1.7 million to improve reading skills at four district schools. The Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant will be used to hire interventionists, purchase instructional materials, and provide professional development. The state is one of six to be awarded the grant. Sixteen school districts and one charter school will receive monetary aid.
St. Charles Parish will receive $1.7 million for the 2012-13 academic year, and declining amounts for the next four years. The schools set to receive funds are George Washington Carver Early Learning Center, Luling Elementary School, R.K. Smith Elementary School, and Hahnville High School. These schools, according to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Rachel Allemand, are the most disadvantaged. St. Parish, like other districts, will be required to use at least 15% of funds to serve children from birth to 5 years, at least 40% in kindergarten through 5th grades; at least 20% in high schools; and 5% for administrative costs.
George Washington Carver, Early Learning Center, Luling Elementary, R.K. Smith Elementary, and Hahnville will get 1-3 interventionists plus instructional materials. The purpose of the interventionists is to provide one-on-one instruction to children not yet up to grade level reading, and professional development for teachers. Allemand points out that the districts will utilize technology to evaluate their methods.
The Striving Readers program will be evaluated by the Picard Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, using iLEAP, LEAP, end-of-course tests, and language development preschool assessments.
In addition to St. Charles Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. Bernard Parish, and St. Tammany Parish will receive a base allocation of nearly $1 million and a $300 per pupil allocation to cover salaries, resources, and services. Nearly 55 districts applied for the grants, and a second round will be selected in 2013.
Allemand said, “We're really excited about it. It's probably one of the largest grants we've gotten in this district in the last 10 or 15 years.”