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Elementary Literacy & School Readiness Grants
Colorado’s vision is that all students graduate ready for college and careers and are prepared to be productive citizens. To achieve that vision, we recognize that all students must acquire literacy to be successful in life. We have strategically utilized many initiatives and programs including state and federal grant opportunities to foster deep and lasting improvements in literacy across the state. Schools and districts across Colorado are benefiting from these grant programs through enhanced resources and professional development opportunities. By leveraging these grant opportunities, Colorado is not only addressing immediate literacy needs but is also laying the groundwork for a sustained and systemic improvement in literacy outcomes for years to come.
As a result of their commitment to educational excellence and evidence-based literacy development, the St. Vrain Valley Schools leveraged the CLSD Grant to launch the transformative Teach to REACH Conference. This initiative has swiftly become a beacon for over 700 educators across the district in the past two years, all united in their quest to refine and advance their teaching methodologies. With a sharp focus on elevating comprehensive literacy skills among multilingual learners, the conference has set a new standard for professional development in education.
At the heart of this pioneering conference is a vibrant forum where educators gather not just to learn but to immerse themselves in the exploration of cutting-edge practices, strategies, and innovative solutions tailored for the unique needs of Multilingual Learners. The event brings a distinguished lineup of speakers, featuring luminaries in the field such as Beth Skelton, Dr. Sue Hopewell, Dr. Douglas Clements, Dr. Ester de Jong, Dr. Peter Liljedahl, Dr. Carol Salva, Valentina Gonzalez, Dr. Jeff Zwiers, and Dr. Elsa Cardenas-Hagan. These esteemed experts share invaluable insights, groundbreaking research, and their wealth of practical experience, setting the stage for a deeply enriching learning experience for our teachers.
Beyond the theoretical, the Teach to REACH Conference stands out for its inclusion of voices from within the district's own ranks. Local educators share their firsthand experiences, challenges, and triumphs, offering a resonant and pragmatic perspective that deeply engages their peers. This synergy of research-backed knowledge and practical application fosters a dynamic learning environment, empowering P-12 teachers with the resources, insights, and motivation to foster inclusive, equitable, and vibrant learning spaces for multilingual learners.
The conference's carefully curated sessions are designed to broaden educators' competencies in culturally and linguistically responsive teaching, ensuring students of all backgrounds can participate in meaningful academic discourse and master disciplinary literacy across all subjects and grade levels. With topics ranging from the science of reading for multilingual learners to building strong family partnerships, educators have the freedom to tailor their learning experience to best suit their professional needs and interests. This annual convening is a powerful testament to the dedication of SVVS educators to not only enhance their own pedagogical skills but also to champion the cause of linguistic diversity and educational equity for every student. It exemplifies a profound commitment to not just teaching but reaching every learner with the tools they need to succeed in a diverse and ever-changing world.
News & Literacy Buzz
Districts use ESSER funds to inspire reading with Battle of the Books. America's Battle of the Books is a reading incentive program for students in 3rd through 12th grades. Students read books and come together, usually in groups, to demonstrate their abilities and to test their knowledge of the books they have read. Santa Fe Trail BOCES, Wiley and Cheraw each received a $3,000 award from the ESSER grant program, which seeks to re-engage students after their pandemic-forced timeout from the classroom. When it came to reading, Santa Fe Trail Board of Cooperative Education Services Assistant Director Natalie Brown said, “We decided that it needed to be something that was new, something that we had not tried before.” And that proved to be the Battle of the Books – an age-old competition between school districts in which students compete against each other using their understanding of selected books.
In all, 141 students participated from the three districts. Teams were given 36 books to read, though not everyone on each team had to read each book. They then faced off against each other in a quiz show format. The questions started with “In which book” and the correct answer is the title and author of the referenced book. In all, 288 books were purchased with others coming in on loans from libraries. The titles ranged from Beverly Cleary’s “Ralph S. Mouse” for readers 8 to 12 to the first in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, written for 13- to 18-year-olds, even though the competitors were in third, fourth and fifth grades. More information about how to participate in Battle of the Books in your school or district can be found at https://www.battleofthebooks.org/.