Million dollar grant aims to improve students’ reading, writing

The new literacy collaborative program implements a different, individualized teaching style

CAMPBELL, Ohio (WYTV) – Nine area schools are included in a nearly $1 million grant to improve students’ ability to read and write.

Campbell City is the lead school involved in the Northeast Ohio Literacy Consortium. Superintendent Matthew Bowen is excited because it’s going to help students in his district and thousands of others.

“You’re going to see more engagement, you’re going to see students working more at their independent level and instructional level, you’re going to see students less frustrated,” he said.

The new literacy collaborative program implements a different teaching style for reading and writing.

“It really teaches teachers beyond anything we have ever done before, how to teach kids effectively to read and write,” said Kim Davis, Director of Teaching and Learning at the Mahoning County Educational Services Center.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, the program individualizes teaching for students.

“Teachers are informed. They know how to determine and assess where kids are, and then they know the very next steps to take to move that child to the next level,” Davis said.

School districts will use Ohio State University as the framework for the program. Literacy coaches will go through specific training in Columbus and eventually train teachers.

Davis, a trained coach, says the research shows that when schools follow the program, they see results. She was the director of curriculum when Youngstown City Schools started the program.

“Youngstown had an ‘F’ and most recently, they moved up to a ‘C’ in their K through 3 literacy measure, so you can see the progress being made.”

Part of the program is letting students choose what they read and write about instead of giving them a blanket assignment.

There will be a meeting for parents so they can understand exactly what their child is learning.

“They’re going to know specifically what their child’s strengths are in their reading and their writing, and where their weaknesses are, and they’re going to know how to help them work on that at home,” Davis said.

MCESC says it’s going to work with Youngstown State University to track and record all the progress schools are making.

Schools included in the Northeast Ohio Literacy Consortium are:

  • Austintown Local Schools
  • Beaver Local
  • Brookfield Local
  • Newbury Local
  • West Branch Local
  • Windham Exempted Village
  • Youngstown Community School

Another grant just shy of $1 million, known as Mahoning Valley Prepared for Success, will help schools meet criteria regarding college and career readiness on the state report card.

“Almost a million dollars is a big deal for the ESC and our districts,” said MCESC Assistant Superintendent Doug Hiscox. “I think this fills a gap that we didn’t have a way to fill financially, to provide those resources to districts around us.”

A number of schools are part of this grant, including:

  • Austintown Local Schools
  • Campbell City
  • Canfield Local
  • Columbiana Exempted Village
  • Mahoning County Career & Technical Center
  • Poland Local
  • Springfield Local
  • Struthers City

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