BESE awards grant to Rapides Parish School Board for K-2 reading - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

BESE awards grant to Rapides Parish School Board for K-2 reading program

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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved a project proposed by the Rapides Parish School Board for funding through the state's 8(g) Competitive Grant Program.

The project was one of six selected for funding in 2014-15 out of 79 applications from schools, districts and agencies across the state.

The Rapides Parish School Board will receive $156,728 for "Lift Off to Elevated Reading," a K-2 reading intervention program aimed at increasing proficiency levels of students in low-performing schools.

The program, which will serve 348 students, includes training for teachers and a technology-based platform that enhances students' alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, sight word recognition and other foundational reading skills.

"Through this project, Rapides Parish will greatly supplement early reading proficiency efforts and help prevent the achievement gap before it begins," said BESE member Jay Guillot. "The initiative helps ensure that all students leave second grade with a solid foundation of skills for reading success."

The purpose of the 8(g) Competitive Grant Program is to encourage the development of innovative programs that support and increase student achievement in Louisiana. Just over $1.7 million was allocated for approved projects in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The six programs approved by BESE will benefit over 1,700 students ranging from pre-K through high school.

"8(g) competitive funding supports exemplary programs that strengthen educational options for Louisiana students," said Holly Boffy, BESE secretary-treasurer. "These programs inspire, engage, and give students the greatest opportunity to develop their full potential and become college and career ready. We look forward to seeing the positive results."

Project proposals received by BESE were rated by independent grant readers according to overall design, projected outcomes, needs assessment and adherence to published guidelines.

Program evaluators will review implementation of funded programs and rate the projects' effectiveness and impact on student achievement.

The Competitive Grant Program is one of three 8(g) grant programs administered by BESE. "8(g)" refers to an amendment to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act giving coastal states a "fair and equitable" share of the money made from offshore development.

In 1986, Louisiana voters chose to establish a trust fund for education with the state's 8(g) allocation, the Louisiana Education Quality Trust Fund, through a constitutional amendment which allows fund earnings to be spent for education purposes.

BESE allocates earnings from the fund for elementary and secondary education through its Block, Statewide and Competitive Grant Programs.

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