Scotland County Schools receives multi-million dollar grant

By: Katelin Gandee - Staff writer

LAURINBURG — Scotland County Schools announced at its Board of Education meeting Monday that the district has received a more than $2.2 million grant to help literacy in the county.

The schools have received the Innovative Approaches the Literacy grant, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and will help support an estimated 2,200 students from birth to age 6; 6,000 PreK-12 students; 425 teachers; plus the family members of children served across all 11 schools in the district.

The grant is for three years and is aimed at growing children who love to read and will allow the student to have access to age-appropriate reading material and building a foundation for academic success.

Through the grant, the district has come up with BRICK (Building Readers and Instilling Confidence and Knowledge), which will have three steps or “bricks” which begins with the preparation stage followed by the innovative stage and ending with the on-going train that will continue bringing literacy to students.

“With the literacy grant, it’s going to be used to address the literacy deficit in our county one thing that I love about the grant is it starts at birth without students in our county and goes throughout the community,” said Valerie Williams, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “So not only will we have pieces of our grant that work with our students throughout K-12, it will start when students are born and there will also be adult pieces in. This community-wide approach will be an awesome piece that is going to help increase the literacy skills in our district.”

Through the grant there will be the distribution of books to children from birth to age 5, early literacy events, adding middle school book vending machines, increasing access to books at school and home, building free little libraries throughout the community and hosting a YouTube page where teachers will read books are all being created.

“The focus for our district has been about creating opportunities for students to achieve success,” said Superintendent Ron Hargrave. “We believe that students who experience success in school are better able to compete after graduation for technical schools, colleges, universities, jobs, military and more. The success of our students’ achievements in school is rooted in a strong foundation of reading. It is gratifying to see that the collective work of the board, the teachers, administrators, and staff are doing in Scotland County is recognized and supported on a national level.”

Community agencies and organizations have agreed to support the program including Scotland County Memorial Library, Scotland County Literacy Council, Scotland County Partnership for Children and Families, Scotland County Health Care System, The Housing Authority of the Town of Laurinburg, The Purcell Clinic, United Way of Scotland County, and early childcare providers.

In other business …

— Board members Summer Woodside, Rick Singletary, Herman Tyson, and Carolyn Banks will be attending the North Carolina School Board Association’s annual conference on Nov. 12 with Raymond Hyatt acting as the alternate.

— Chair Summer Woodside brought up the possibility of having a joint hearing with the county commissioners and someone from the University of North Carolina School of Governments on school funding and different ways to fund schools. The board agreed and a date will be set later.

— Chaka Davis-Smith, I. Ellis Johnson kindergarten teacher, was recognized as this month’s teacher feature. Davis-Smith is the Teacher of the Year of IEJ. Other reorganizations included handing out key player awards for staff that volunteered to work at the Red Cross Shelter when it was at Scotland High School — that award went to Anita Starling, Bobbe McLean, Yvonne Locklear and Marcus Parker.

— Shaw Academy was recognized as a “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports” model school for the first time. Covington Street Elementary, I. Ellis Johnson Elementary, North Laurinburg Elementary and Spring Hill Middle were also recognized as model schools. Laurel Hill Elementary and Wagram Elementary were both recognized as exemplar schools.

— Hargrave spoke to the board about makeup days for those missed during Hurricane Florence. However, a plan cannot be made until after the General Assembly meets again once questions are clarified. Hargrave will revisit the topic at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Oct. 19.

Katelin Gandee

Staff writer

Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]

Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]