COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

 

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 11

January 24, 2003

 

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Reading First Grant

 

On January 9, 2003, the United States Department of Education awarded the Virginia Department of Education $16.9 million in Reading First funds to support critical improvements in classroom reading instruction based on proven methods, screening and diagnosis of reading difficulties, monitoring of student progress, and thorough and high-quality professional development for teachers. The federal grant provides funds over a six-year period to transform reading instruction into the most focused, early reading initiative ever undertaken in this nation. The program's focus on scientific evidence, including the five essential elements of proven reading instruction, constitutes a formula for success to ensure that all children learn to read well by the end of the third grade.

 

Funding for Reading First will provide the commonwealth the capacity to award 60 to 75 school-level subgrants to school divisions to apply scientifically-based reading research and instructional and assessment tools, in kindergarten through the third grade. Funds will also support a significant increase in professional development to ensure all teachers have the skills needed to teach reading proficiently. Projected funding is anticipated in the range of $180,000 to $225,000 per year, dependent upon requests.

 

School divisions will be awarded subgrants on a competitive basis. Criteria for eligibility will be based on schools having the greatest percentage of K-3 students reading below grade level; identified as Title I schools with a poverty index of 40 percent or above; and having a pass rate of less than 60 percent on the Spring 2002 third-grade English Standards of Learning test.

 

Two hundred twenty-one schools in 66 divisions will be eligible, and funding will be awarded beginning July 1, 2003. A list of eligible school divisions and schools is provided in Attachment A.

 

Details of regional informational meetings to be held for eligible school divisions, the Reading First application, and guidelines for applying will be issued via future Superintendents memoranda. Questions regarding Reading First should be directed to Linda Poorbaugh (mailto:lpoorbau@mail.vak12ed.edu), director of office of elementary instructional services at (804) 786-3925, or Gail Barnes (mailto:gbarnes@mail.vak12ed.edu), grant specialist at (804) 371-5378.

 

JLD/LMP/vdg

 

Attachment

 

/administrators/superintendents_memos/2003/inf011a.pdf