T-U School System awarded $2.3 million Striving Readers Grant

By Karen Truesdale Thomaston-Upson Schools

April 7, 2014

The State Department of Education has announced that the Thomaston-Upson School System has been awarded a $2.3 million Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) Grant. The goal of the SRCL program is to advance literacy skills — including pre-literacy skills, reading, and writing — for students from birth through grade 12.

The SRCL program is authorized as part of the FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Through this Act, Congress provided $200 million for a comprehensive literacy development and education program. Formula grants were awarded to State Education Agencies to establish or support a State Literacy Team with expertise in literacy development and education for children from birth to grade 12 to assist the State in developing a comprehensive literacy plan. Georgia is one of six states to receive a portion of these federal funds.

As part of the 2014 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program, the Georgia DOE received $21.1 million. They will use 95 percent of the award to make subgrants to Local Educational Agencies or certain early childhood education providers to support services and activities that have the characteristics of effective literacy instruction through professional development, screening and assessment, targeted interventions for students reading below grade level, and other research-based methods of improving classroom instruction and practice.

A number of T-U school and system personnel were instrumental in preparing the system’s application for the SRCL grant. According to Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Larry Derico, Thomaston-Upson was one of 36 systems throughout the state to apply for this third round of grant funds and one of only 11 Georgia systems chosen to receive the funds. In addition, T-U received one of the highest scores from the grant readers – a 96.8 on a 100 point scale. The grant funds will be allocated over a five-year period.

“Literacy is crucial to early academic development and success,” stated Dr. Derico. “I want to commend the teachers and administration at our schools for their hard work and determination in securing this grant for our students. Their planning and input enabled us to create a strategic plan that will allow us to provide quality professional learning, implement research-based best practices, apply targeted technology instruction, create a reading and writing connection across all content areas, and sustain a school system and community focus on literacy teaching and learning.”