Improving Literacy and Expanding Pre-K

Talbot County Public Schools has received a $1.78 million grant from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).  This three-year grant will provide funding for literacy coaches, professional learning for school-based literacy teams to improve instruction across all content areas, and needed resources to support these initiatives.  The grant is one of $43.3 million in grants made to Maryland school districts to help advance literacy among students from birth to grade 12.

TCPS has been awarded a Preschool Expansion grant from MSDE, which will provide for expansion of the Pre-Kindergarten program at Easton Elementary – Dobson for the 2018-2019 school year.  EES-Dobson will have six classrooms of full day pre-kindergarten for 2018-2019.

“Every child in Maryland deserves access to a world-class education, regardless of the neighborhood they happen to grow up in,” said Governor Larry Hogan in a press release from MSDE. “These grants will help provide the vital and necessary literacy skills that lead to greater success in the classroom and in the workforce.”

According to the MSDE press release, funds for the program came through the three-year $45 million federal Striving Readers’ Comprehensive Literacy Grant, awarded to MSDE last year.  It was the largest competitive grant awarded to MSDE in nearly three years.   For TCPS, this funding will provide one early childhood, three elementary and three secondary literacy coaches, as well as one digital literacy coach.

Funding amounts were determined by peer reviewers using priority areas developed by the US Department of Education. Reviewers looked at each application for adherence to federal grant guidelines and placed emphasis on disadvantaged students; use of strong and moderate evidence; alignment of birth to grade 5; partnerships with nonprofit providers of early childhood education; and use of strategic professional learning.

TCPS has also sought and been awarded a Preschool Expansion grant from MSDE in the amount of $271,728.  This funding will provide for expansion of the Pre-Kindergarten program at Easton Elementary – Dobson for the 2018-2019 school year.   This opportunity was limited only to schools which have a Free and Reduced Meals (FARMS) rate of 65% or greater, so Dobson was the only school in Talbot County that qualified to apply.

For 2018-2019, Easton Elementary Dobson will have six classrooms of full-day pre-kindergarten.  “We are very excited about the opportunity this grant will provide for students at Easton Elementary,” said Dr. Helga Einhorn, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.  “Our Kindergarten Readiness Assessments have clearly indicated the potential benefit of expansion of our pre-kindergarten program.  A full day Pre-Kindergarten program, along with the early childhood literacy coach, who will be integrated with the Judy Center, will help us to prepare our students for long-term success.”

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