Leaders in the Knox County Public Schools are learning more about a grant award that will link the district to over $2 million in programs and services to boost literacy and intervention.
Named Project LINK (Literacy Innovations for Neighborhoods in Kentucky), the grant funding will leverage technology to support instructional practice and professional development through software applications for students.
The district first learned about the award in October from Kentucky Educational Development Corporation (KEDC), an educational cooperative in which Knox belongs. Knox partnered with KEDC and seven other districts on the grant. The program will reach 36 total schools and a population of 12,321 students.
Project LINK will expand early literacy for young children, motivate older children to read and increase student achievement by using school libraries as partners. The initiative will also promote professional development and curriculum strategies for teachers, administrators, university professors and college students entering the teaching profession.
Totaling over $8.1 million, Knox County will receive roughly 36% of the available funds from Project LINK as determined by student population and census data. The funding will be divided among schools and spent in areas that impact literacy and intervention including programs (such as iReady and Lexia), technology (such as Chromebooks and iPads) and extra service stipends for literacy facilitators and literacy technology coaches.
Project LINK has four major goals to achieve during the two and half year grant period:
- To develop and implement a Literacy Plan within districts that makes provisions for literacy at all age/grade levels.
- To improve school readiness and success from birth through grade 12 in the area of language and literacy development.
- To implement a data-based decision making process to collect and analyze high quality data in a timely manner.
- To implement high quality school library projects that increase access to a wide range of literacy resources (print or electronic) and provide learning opportunities to students.
The district anticipates an official memorandum of understanding to be signed with KEDC in December or early January. The spring semester will be used for planning and training with the major roll-out of initiatives taking place in fall 2017.