Schools’ Focus on Literacy Moves Forward
Literacy in Toombs County is experiencing a collaborative focus thanks to the receipt of a grant awarded in June to the Vidalia City School System.
Vidalia Assistant Superintendent Ginger Morris presented updates about the Literacy for Learning, Living and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) Grant to the Board of Education members at a recent meeting. This grant, $2.98 million to VCS over five years, has already afforded the opportunity for the system to have two instructional coaches. Morris said these Coaches, Ranecci Hampton at Sally D. Meadows Elementary School and Beth Wiggins at J.D. Dickerson Elementary School, are doing an excellent job in increasing literacy at their schools. This is just the beginning of the opportunities and the personnel who will work together to build and to carry out the program. There is a district level L4GA Leadership team and each school has a literacy committee as required by the grant.
Morris said, “Our Federal Programs Director Tammy McFadden handles the logistics on the who, what, when and where monies are spent in the program to make sure we are meeting federal guidelines since it is a federal program. Wendy Lumley, the system’s L4GA consultant, has worked with previous grants such as Race to the Top, Striving Readers and DEAL Center. Her vast knowledge in the literacy area ensures our administration, instructional facilitators, and K-12 teachers are receiving professional learning
as well as coordinating the birth to 5 outreaches within our system. Building the administration ensures our school improvement plans align with L4GA and are being implemented with fidelity.”
Morris continued, “As Assistant Superintendent, I work with all parties to ensure curriculum and instruction is being implemented and our students are being successful, both virtually and face to face.”
During this first year of the grant, planning and first steps are being taken. Community connections and decisions on where to place funds will be made and communication with students and parents is being prepared for rollout in the spring.
The updated school system website and social media platforms, managed by Communications Director John Koon, is being prepared to provide access to literacy resources for families to use at home. Parents will be able to find webinars, videos, and tools for teaching reading to their children.
With the L4GA resources, teachers have opportunities to get professional development with world renowned reading and writing specialists, technology training and tools, and data to monitor progress. A lot of data is provided by the instructional programs so teachers can determine levels of learning within small groups. Pre-K teachers are especially excited about the ability to see progress data for their young students.
There is a wealth of resources in the L4GA program for students, their families, instructors and school administrations to tap into as a whole team approach in increasing literacy. The Toombs County Schools also received the grant, and there will be collaborative efforts between the two systems as the program moves forward.
Morris is enthusiastic. 'We are excited to receive the L4GA grant and the opportunity it will afford our students and staff. It is the first grant that truly addresses children from birth to graduation! The excitement in working with our community leaders, as well as different community entities such as the hospital, daycare, medical offices, etc., will allow a focus on helping our children to become literate. Our staff will receive training from some of the most worldrenowned experts in the world in literacy. Active involvement from parents and the community will change our children's future and the future of this community!”
Morris said, “We can dream for a better tomorrow for all children and the L4GA will go a long way in seeing our dreams come true!'
More information about Georgia’s L4GA method of improving literacy can be found at https:// www. gadoe. org/ Curriculum-Instruction- and-Assessment/L4/ Pages/default.aspx