August 26, 2004

Gorin R-III District Receives $120,000 Reading First Grant

The Gorin R-III School District has received a federal grant of over $120,000 to help improve the teaching and learning of reading. It is one of the first 56 Missouri school districts to qualify for a grant under the “Reading First” program. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has awarded about $16.6 million in Reading First funds for the 2004-2005 school year.

This grant was awarded to Gorin after a lengthy and competitive review process. “It will go a long way toward helping the district meet its priority goal of assuring that all students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade,” says administrator Sherrill Clatt.

The Reading First initiative is a part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act approved by congress in 2002. It is a multi-billion dollar, multi-year effort to help all states improve the teaching of reading grades K-3. Missouri is slated to receive about $108 million over the next six years for Reading First initiatives in local schools.

Every school involved in a Reading First project will have a specially trained “reading coach” to work with students and staff. Every school must adopt a high quality “core reading program” as the basis of its reading instruction and provide ongoing training for teachers. The district has employed Kathy Cowell, a classroom teacher with over twenty years experience, as it’s reading coach. She and the K-3 teachers at Gorin have spent numerous hours during the summer in training for this major undertaking. They will continue to receive special training during the year in order to carry out the Reading Plan as written in the grant.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also is contracting with the Northeast Regional Professional Development Center located at Truman State University for the services of a full-time reading specialist who will work with regional school districts who have received the grant. These specialists will provide support for Reading First schools this year, but they also will be available to assist other schools. Julie Clapp of Memphis is the reading specialist for this region.

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