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Henry County Schools to improve literacy with $1.2 million Harvest grant

LEFT TO RIGHT: Lisa Millner, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, Sandy Stayer, superintendent, and DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation.

HENRY COUNTY – Henry County Public Schools will use a three-year, $1.2 million grant from The Harvest Foundation to ensure all students are reading on grade level by the end of third grade.

Officials hope to increase the percentage of students reading on grade level in the third and fifth grades, and they strive to increase scores on the PSAT. Grant funding primarily will be used to focus on literacy interventions to help teachers improve student literacy.

“Henry County Schools clearly recognized the important role literacy plans in the development of the workforce pipeline,” said DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation. “For students to have the necessary skills and qualifications to enter the workforce, they must have a strong foundation in literacy. With this focus, the schools are ensuring the foundational needs of any career are met.” 

This grant aligns with Harvest’s workforce goal in its strategic plan, specifically focusing on strategies in credentialing and early childhood academic success, added House.

The three-year plan for improving literacy will incorporate the use of the HighScope Curriculum for preschool classes, a Balanced Literacy Model for kindergarten through fifth grade, and continued literacy work with Dr. Kay Brimijoin, a consultant with expertise in differentiation, curriculum design and teacher effectiveness.

The HighScope Preschool Curriculum is based on active learning and support of a child’s positive interactions with adults and peers. The Balanced Literacy Model includes guided reading, independent reading, on-grade instruction, guided word work (phonics, spelling, vocabulary), and writer’s workshops, according to the grant application.  

The program also includes access to myOn, an online digital library that houses more than 5,500 digital books accessed on iPads, anywhere without using the Internet, provided at no cost to students from the third to ninth grades. 

“Henry County Public Schools is so grateful for the partnership of The Harvest Foundation as we work to ensure each of our students is reading on grade level,” said Sandy Stayer, superintendent of Henry County Public Schools. “This essential milestone is critical in the education of every student, and we are eager to enhance our literacy instruction with the innovative practices this grant supports.”

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