UMSL literacy grant brings $5.1 million in services to 40 St. Louis area schools

Literacy education grant

In September, Shea Kerkhoff, Katie O’Daniels and Nancy Singer secured a $5.1 million grant to promote evidence-based literacy strategies and to create digital literacy resources in the region. Next week, UMSL literacy experts will start providing professional services to 40 St. Louis area schools. They will coach local educators on culturally relevant practices and practices associated with a concept called the science of reading. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Educators and students at 40 St. Louis area schools are set to receive $5.1 million in services aimed at improving literacy education in the region.

Shea Kerkhoff, assistant professor of literacy at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, and two co-principal investigators in the Department of Educator Preparation and Leadership – Katie O’Daniels, assistant teaching professor of literacy and director of the Gateway Writing Project, and Nancy Singer, associate professor of English education – secured the funds as part of larger grant to the state of Missouri in September.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded 11 state education organizations sizable grants for its Comprehensive Literacy State Development program. In total, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received $18 million to be distributed over a period of five years.

UMSL’s $5.1 million portion comes as two sub-awards designed to promote evidence-based literacy strategies and to create digital literacy resources, with a particular focus on schools in Promise Zones.

“UMSL is excited to work with 40 schools in St. Louis and surrounding areas,” Kerkhoff said. “We will be collaborating on literacy professional development that is evidence based and culturally responsive and supporting teachers with the difficult task of teaching reading and writing. We hope that our work together will be impactful for young people across the region.”

On Jan. 15, DESE announced the schools receiving services as part of the grant. Beginning next week, UMSL will start working with the following schools:

St. Louis charter schools

  • The Arch Community School
  • Confluence Academy ­– Old North
  • Lift For Life Academy
  • North Side Community School
  • St. Louis Language Immersion School (elementary and middle)

St. Louis Public Schools

  • Clyde C. Miller Career Academy
  • Educational Therapeutic Support at Madison
  • Lyon Academy Elementary
  • Lyon Academy Middle School
  • Mullanphy Botanical Garden ILC

Francis Howell School District

  • Fairmount Elementary
  • Francis Howell North High School
  • Harvest Ridge Elementary
  • Hollenbeck Middle school

Greenville R-2 School District

  • Greenville Elementary
  • Greenville Junior High School
  • Williamsville Elementary

Hancock Place School District

  • Hancock Place Elementary School

Hazelwood School District

  • Grannemann Elementary School
  • Hazelwood East High School
  • Hazelwood Southeast Middle School

Jennings School District

  • Hanrahan Elementary School
  • Woodland Elementary School

Normandy Schools Collaborative

  • Barack Obama Elemiddle (elementary and middle)
  • Jefferson Elemiddle (elementary and middle)
  • Lucas Crossing Elemiddle (elementary and middle)
  • Normandy High School
  • Washington Elemiddle (elementary and middle)

Potosi R-III School District

  • John Evans Middle School
  • Potosi Elementary School
  • Potosi High School
  • Trojan Intermediate School

The School District of University City

  • Brittany Woods Middle School
  • Pershing Elementary School
  • University City High School

Kerkhoff, O’Daniels and Singer will implement two projects with the new financial resources. The first involves UMSL literacy experts coaching local educators on culturally relevant practices and practices associated with a concept called the science of reading.

This includes explicit phonics instruction, reading practice with varied texts to develop fluency and the development of vocabulary and content knowledge to improve reading comprehension. Kerkhoff said the plan is to work with educators individually throughout the school year and to also hold a summer workshop.

The second project will involve developing literacy instruction resources for educators such as seminars and podcasts that will be turned into modules hosted on the DESE website.

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