Being awarded nearly $25 million can go a long way toward accomplishing your goals – and Kentucky certainly has goals in mind.

The Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) grant was awarded to the Kentucky Department of Education by the U.S. Department of Education in October. KyCL-FLUENT, the title of Kentucky’s birth to grade 12 approach to literacy planning, addresses the gaps in early learning, transition points along the way and issues of equity. The program is expected to impact up to 200,000 young children and students in three years.

Districts interested in applying for a SRCL grant award soon will be able to find the SRCL Request for Application on KDE’s Competitive Grants page. Those awarded the grant will form their district and school literacy teams and build their local literacy plans based on the state plan. After guidance and approval from the State Literacy Team and funding is in place, teams will begin plan implementation. A large portion of the work will come in the form of professional learning.

The three goals outlined in Kentucky’s plan include:

Goal 1: All young children are ready to read.
Slightly more than half of the students entering kindergarten in the 2017-18 school year were considered ready. For African American children, the readiness rate dropped to just under 48 percent, and only 31 percent of Hispanic children were considered ready.

The Striving Readers grant concentrates on building partnerships among schools and early care centers and homes. These improved connections – in the form of professional learning, coaching, resources and other supports – have the potential to impact 25,000 young children and 850 early learning/caregivers.

Districts that apply for the SRCL grant will be required to engage their early care community partners as a part of their local literacy team to increase the effectiveness of early learning providers. Along with increasing the amount of age-appropriate and high-quality materials in early learning centers and homes, continued training will allow for more effective evidence-based strategies.

Goal 2 – All elementary students are excellent readers.
Data from the annual statewide Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) tests shows why the Commonwealth needs to increase reading proficiency and decrease the number of students scoring in the novice range. The chart below shows the widening gaps as students move from elementary school to secondary.

Percent of Students Meeting State Benchmarks in Reading, 2015-16 School Year

WhiteAfrican AmericanHispanicEnglish LearnersFree/Reduced-Price MealsStudents with a Disability
Grade 358.130.441.228.944.436.0
Grade 857.830.440.
Grade 1152.626.737.

Under KyCL-FLUENT, districts and schools will address these critical transition points in their literacy plans. Focusing on early learners and the transitions along the way will build a path for success for students at the secondary level.

Goal 3: All middle and high school students are reading to learn (cross-content).
The shift in these upper grades is significant, as it requires students to move from learning how to read and practicing reading skills to gathering information and learning from text. These are skills that mirror the progressions of the Kentucky Academic Standards.

KyCL-FLUENT requires districts and schools to have a solid, comprehensive literacy plan in place to guide comprehensive professional learning and instruction. Local literacy teams – which include a variety of shareholders, including community partners – will provide evidence-based resources and aligned supports to implement and build local, sustainable capacity for comprehensive literacy instruction. District and school networks that will be established will be at the heart of scalability to all schools in Kentucky, building capacity with a reach far beyond the 2020 end date of the SRCL grant.