This week, the Mt. Healthy City School District became a recipient of the Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grant awarded by the Ohio Department of Education. This is an incredibly important win for MTHCSD as it continues to solidify the new literacy framework the district began two years ago. The funds from this grant will prepare North and South Elementary Schools as model sites of evidence-based literacy practices for other schools looking to build their literacy programs.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded the State of Ohio the Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grant to “build on ongoing work to improve the language and literacy development of our state’s children.” The $42 million award was distributed among 34 of Ohio’s local districts, early childhood educational programs, and community schools in the 16 regions. The four-year grant “will focus on developing model comprehensive literacy sites in early childhood education programs and district preschools as well as elementary, middle and high schools across the state.” The model sites will implement research-based and reading science-based practices into classroom instruction to remain consistent with Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement.
In MTHCSD, money from the new CLSD grant will be used to continue the progress that has been made from the Strivers Reading Grant through continued teacher education and professional development, in addition to, instructional tools for teachers to use in the classrooms. The grant allows districts like Mt. Healthy City School District, who educate many underserved students, to implement early language development and reading science-based evidence into classroom instructional practices. Classroom teachers, instructional coaches, and RTI teachers will use the implementation of the science of reading to strengthen instructional practices and influence better outcomes for students’ reading development. Over the last two years, Mt. Healthy elementary teachers diligently worked to develop skills and techniques using the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling program to enhance the teaching of all students important decoding and language development skills, inclusive of phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and writing. The teachers put many hours into building their understanding and knowledge of the program and science of reading, as well as, how to implement the strategies into their classrooms. Their hard work paid off as the youngest students grew exponentially in their language development from fall to winter testing in the 2019-2020 school year. The success built confidence in both students and teachers in addition to the district administration.
Over the next four years of this grant, the district looks to cement classroom literacy instruction already begun, strengthen collaboration between general education and special education personnel, provide content area teachers with common and disciplinary literacy training, build upon cultural awareness, and continue to increase community and parental engagement. Instructional coaches will provide coaching for teachers, and teachers will provide more intensive coaching for students still struggling. Language and literacy development may look quite different to many parents and the community, however this is intentional and strategic for improved educational outcomes.
These instructional shifts are vital steps for the Mt. Healthy City School District and significant one as we join with our families and community “Growing Together.”