Fairfield Schools earns one of largest grants in its history

It’s one of the largest grants ever received in Fairfield Schools’ history and starting in August it will help the city school students to become better readers.

Fairfield Schools has been awarded an $800,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

The money, which will be spread over three school years starting with the upcoming 2018-2019 instructional year, is part of the ODE’s Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy funding designed to help students lagging in literacy.

Fairfield — and New Miami Schools — in Butler County are two of 46 districts among Ohio’s 612 school systems to earn grants from the new state program.

The district will receive $800,000 over three years to focus on serving the greatest numbers of students living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners and students identified as having a reading disability to improve language and literacy development, said school officials.

The application process for the grant was competitive, said Lani Wildow, Fairfield’s director of curriculum and instruction.

“I am excited we will have the opportunity to dive deep into improving the literacy skills of our preschool and secondary students over the next few years. As we all know, improving literacy helps students in all aspects of their education,” Wildow said.

“A special thank you to Jennie Thompson, Coordinator for Elementary Curriculum and Instruction, and Laura Griffin, Instructional Specialist for English Language Arts, for the time, energy, and effort they put forth into writing the grant and securing this opportunity for our students,” she added.

This is the largest competitive grant Fairfield has received in recent history, and the first Striving Readers grant awarded to the district, Thompson said. The last sizeable competitive grant the district received was Race to the Top funding in 2010.

Officials in Butler County’s New Miami Schools hail their state grant of $398,481 as one of the largest in that school system’s history.

“The goals for the grant will include the advancement of language and literacy development services to children in the district from birth to age 5 as well as school age students. There will also be a development of a proactive system for identifying at risk students,” said Rhonda Parker, superintendent of New Miami.

According to the ODE about $33 million was awarded to school districts across Ohio.

“Reading is the foundational skill that ultimately allows us to learn more, and through this application process, we were able to see the great work happening in Ohio’s schools,” said Paolo DeMaria, state superintendent of public instruction in a news release. “These Striving Readers grants put crucial resources directly into classrooms across the state, and we’re excited to work with awardees to improve outcomes for Ohio’s most vulnerable children.

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