Baton Rouge: Louisiana was one of only six states awarded the federal Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant by the U.S. Department of Education in September. All total, the state is set to receive more than $148 million over the next five years. The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) announced the first cohort of 16 local school districts and one charter school that the agency will recommend to receive subgrants. A second round of grantees will be selected in 2013.
The recommended list of recipients came from a longer list of 55 applications and was based on independent evaluations conducted by literacy experts outside the state. Districts and charter schools that were not awarded grants in this round, as well as all other districts and charter schools, are eligible to apply in the next phase.
Louisiana’s federal grant proposal placed special emphasis on providing focused support to disadvantaged students. Thus, applications were heavily weighted based on the population of disadvantaged students who would be served by district and charter school proposals.
"Nearly 40,000 students, including many of our most at-risk students, will benefit from this funding during the first year alone. And the fact that sustainability was factored into the selection process means many more children across Louisiana will benefit in years to come." State Superintendent of Education John White said. "I want to congratulate these districts and schools for demonstrating their commitment and capacity to improve the literacy skills of their students through a comprehensive approach, by involving educators, families, and the community at large."
During the first year of the program, each grant recipient will receive a base allocation of nearly $1 million and a $300 per pupil allocation to cover fundamental program costs, including salaries, resources, and services. Awards will range between $1.2 million and $2.4 million in the first year.
Evaluations of Louisiana’s Striving Readers program will be conducted by the Picard Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which has conducted previous literacy-related evaluations. The evaluations will be based on achievement results on assessments including the iLEAP, LEAP, and End-of-Course tests, as well as a language development assessment for preschoolers.
Sub-grantees are required to use at least 15 percent of the funds to serve children from birth through age 5, at least 40 percent to serve students in grades K-5, at least 20 percent to support middle school students, and at least 20 percent to support high school students. Up to five percent may be set aside for administration of the grants.
The Department’s recommendations will be considered by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education during its board meeting next week.
A list of the districts recommended by the LDOE is available online at: http://www.louisianaschools.net/lde/uploads/19538.pdf
For more information on Louisiana’s Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant: http://www.louisianaschools.net/offices/literacy/striving_readers.html