A three-year grant totaling more than $1 million has been awarded to the Hillsboro City School District to improve literacy achievement, superintendent Tim Davis said Tuesday.
The Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant especially aims to boost literacy for more students who live in poverty, have disabilities, or are identified as English learners or struggling readers, according to the Ohio Department of Education.
The total grant amount is $1,005,272.30 and the three-year period it covers runs from May 22, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2020, Davis said.
The grant was written to improve literacy in the Hillsboro City Schools from kindergarten through grade 12, according to Davis. He said the grant actually awards $646,032 to the kindergarten through grade five, $160,740 to the middle school and $198,000 to the high school in installments over the three-year period.
The grant has certain requirements for which the money has to be spent, and Davis said school district staff will learn more about those requirements during a June 4 meeting they are required to attend in Columbus.
“To apply for this grant the district had to create a kindergarten to twelfth grade literacy plan on how we could use this grant money to improve our literacy scores,” Davis said. “A lot of time and hard work went into developing and submitting this plan. Mendy Hamilton, Alicia Sellins, Shelley Beumer and Diane Michael did an outstanding job creating and submitting the plan. This literacy grant is great for our district and I am very excited about the possibilities that it brings.”
Hillsboro was one of dozens of Ohio school districts and consortiums of districts that will split $33 million in federal Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant money to improve literacy development, the Associated Press reported.
The grants range from about $22,000 for Mansfield schools to $1.2 million each for several recipients.
The applicants receiving the largest grants include educational service centers in Cuyahoga, Mahoning, Richland and Trumbull counties that serve multiple schools districts, and the Cleveland-based Center for Families and Children, which offers early learning programs.
In addition to Hillsboro, individual districts getting at least $1 million include Columbus, Elyria, Mt. Healthy, New Lexington, Reynoldsburg, Strongsville, Toledo and West Clermont.
Last fall, Ohio was awarded a $35 million Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Approximately 95 percent of the $35 million award is distributed directly to local schools or early childhood providers to improve literacy outcomes for children from birth through grade 12. The department awarded grants following a competitive peer review process. It received 110 individual and consortium applications, representing 208 entities requesting more than $92 million. The federal grant requirements included a prescribed distribution of funding across defined age and grade bands from birth through high school (15 percent to birth to age 5 programs, 40 percent to K through grade 5 programs and 40 percent equitably distributed across middle and high school programs). In addition to the federal requirements, the department committed to awarding grants across all 16 state support team regions with priority given to high-quality applications serving the highest numbers of disadvantaged students, the news release said.
“Reading is the foundational skill that ultimately allows us to learn more, and through this application process we were able to see the great work happening in Ohio’s schools,” Paolo DeMaria, state superintendent of public instruction, said in the news release. “These Striving Readers grants put crucial resources directly into classrooms across the state, and we’re excited to work with awardees to improve outcomes for Ohio’s most vulnerable children.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected]