USD 247 Southeast Part of Consortium Awarded $3.2 Million Literacy Grant

Cherokee, Ks — USD 247 Southeast families will soon benefit from a new grant-funded project aimed at advancing the reading and writing skills of learners from birth through 12th grade.

USD 247 Southeast is part of a consortium of nine districts awarded a three-year grant totaling more than $3.2 million from the Literacy Network of Kansas (LiNK), a project of the U.S. Department of Education’s Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program. Consortium districts worked with Greenbush – The Southeast Kansas Education Service Center to develop the grant proposal.

In USD 247 Southeast, one component of the grant is instructional coaching for teachers.

“The purpose of this project is really to invest in local teachers–to give them the opportunity to hone their skills even further,” said Monica Murnan, project director with Greenbush. “One way we can do that is to ensure teachers have an instructional coach they can count on to give them feedback, show them something new, or help them work through a challenge.”

Each district within the consortium developed a literacy plan that will support students and their families in a variety of ways, based upon a study of local needs. In some districts, community agencies will provide free books and family reading activities, while others will work with preschool children to prepare for kindergarten.

Throughout the three-year grant cycle, Greenbush will work with the State LiNK team to develop a network of literacy resources for educators and families. These resources will impact reading and writing at the state, regional and community levels, and will provide professional learning opportunities for teachers and families.

Eight grantees were selected from a competitive application process, according to the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). Kansas applied for the grant with the assistance of the KU Center on Research and Learning in July 2017, and received the $27 million federal grant–one of the largest competitive grants the agency has ever received–in October 2017.

KSDE invited districts/consortia meeting specific criteria to apply for funds from the grant. Districts had to serve at least 5,000 students in order to apply individually. Districts that serve fewer than 5,000 students could apply as part of a consortium.

The eight awardees will receive more than $3.2 million for literacy support during a three-year period. The eight that were selected – four individual districts and four consortia – represent a total of 32 Kansas school districts and 88,000 children.

Districts participating in this consortium include the following:

247 Southeast

288 Central Heights

366 Woodson USD

404 Riverton

415 Hiawatha Schools

430 South Brown County/Horton

447 Cherryvale

461 Neodesha

493 Columbus

LiNK will help schools meet the Kansas State Board of Education’s vision for education: Kansas leads the world in the success of each student.

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