1. What is the Striving Readers Grant?
To build on ongoing work to improve the language and literacy development of our state’s children, Ohio was awarded a $35 million Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
Approximately 95 percent of the $35 million award will be distributed directly to local schools or early childhood providers to improve literacy outcomes for children from birth through grade 12. The three-year grant will focus on serving the greatest numbers or percentages of students living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners and students identified as having a reading disability.
Distribution of awards is as follows:
- 15 percent will be awarded to birth to age 5 early child care providers;
- 40 percent will be awarded to K-5 schools;
- 40 percent will be split equally among middle and high schools.
The grant builds on Ohio’s commitment to ensuring all students have the reading skills needed to succeed in their education and life. The Department recently worked with Ohio educators to update and refine Ohio’s English language arts learning standards. In addition, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee aims to ensure that all students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Through this initiative, schools diagnose reading issues, create individualized Reading Improvement and Monitoring Plans and provide intensive reading interventions. In 2017, even with the more rigorous expectations for promotion, 93.9 percent of students met the Third Grade Reading Guarantee promotion score, up from 93.4 percent last year.
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2. What are the requirements for qualification of local grants?
The eligibility guidelines are now available. The Department encourages partnerships and consortia to gain a greater impact on children birth through grade 12.
Ohio’s competitive subgrant process requires applicants to submit a Reading Achievement Plan/Reading Readiness Plan to the Department and to propose high-quality, comprehensive literacy instruction programs supported by moderate or strong evidence, as defined in ESSA.
Ohio will use an independent peer review process to prioritize awards to eligible subgrantees.
Subgrantee applicants will be guided by comprehensive literacy instruction programs that are aligned with the state’s comprehensive literacy plan, as well as local needs.
The Department will review all submitted Intent to Apply forms and determine eligibility. If the submitter is eligible, they will be contacted by the Department with information on registering for the two-day literacy academy.
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3. What is considered a high-quality comprehensive literacy instruction program?
Comprehensive literacy instruction means instruction that includes the following:
- Developmentally appropriate, contextually explicit and systematic instruction, and frequent practice, in reading and writing across content areas;
- Age-appropriate, explicit, systematic and intentional instruction in phonological awareness, phonic decoding, vocabulary, language structure, reading fluency and reading comprehension;
- Age-appropriate, explicit instruction in writing, including opportunities for children to write with clear purposes, critical reasoning appropriate to the topic and purpose and specific instruction and feedback from instructional staff;
- Makes available and uses diverse, high-quality print materials that reflect the reading and development levels and interests of children;
- Differentiated instructional approaches, including individual and small-group instruction and discussion;
- Opportunities for children to use language with peers and adults to develop language skills, including developing vocabulary;
- Frequent practice of reading and writing strategies;
- Age-appropriate, valid and reliable screening assessments, diagnostic assessments, formative assessment processes and summative assessments to identify a child’s learning needs, inform instruction and monitor the child’s progress and effects of instruction;
- Strategies to enhance children’s motivation to read and write and children’s engagement in self-directed learning;
- The principles of universal design for learning;
- Depends on teachers’ collaboration in planning, instruction and assessing a child’s progress and on continuous professional learning; and
- Links literacy instruction to the state’s challenging academic standards, including standards relating to the ability to navigate, understand and write about complex subject matters in print and digital formats.
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4. What is Ohio’s State Comprehensive Literacy Plan?
Ohio’s State Comprehensive Literacy Plan was written by the State’s Literacy Team and uses the following five components to increase language and literacy proficiency: (1) Shared leadership; (2) Multi-tiered systems of support; (3) Teacher capacity; (4) Family partnerships; and (5) Community collaboration. The plan increases regional supports for technical assistance, enhances the Ohio Improvement Process framework and supports local early care and education programs and school districts as they implement the plan. Ohio’s Comprehensive Literacy Plan will be available on the Department’s website in January 2017.
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5. What is the process for applying?
Review the Steps to Apply video for information on the process. The first step is submitting an Intent to Apply by Jan. 10, 2018. The competitive application process for the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant is currently under development. Applicants will be required to submit a Reading Achievement Plan/Reading Readiness Plan along with their proposals. Interested applicants are encouraged to work on that plan while the application process is finalized.
School districts and early childhood providers serving the greatest percentages or numbers of disadvantaged students may apply.
The first steps in preparing for the application process include:
- Conducting a comprehensive needs assessment, analyzing your data with the aim to identify the root cause of the language and literacy difficulties revealed in your data;
- Creating a local literacy plan using the Reading Achievement Plan template found on the Department’s website at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Learning-in-Ohio/Literacy/Reading-Achievement-Plan. This site includes a webinar and guidance document to assist you in completing the plan;
- Early childhood providers and schools must select evidence-based strategies supported by strong to moderate evidence, as defined by ESSA.
What does it mean when strategies are supported by strong to moderate evidence?
The Striving Readers Grant application uses strong to moderate evidence as it is defined in ESSA. According to ESSA, evidence-based means an activity, strategy or intervention that demonstrates a statistically significant effect on student outcomes. ESSA defines four tiers of evidence as follows:
- Level I – Strong evidence from an experimental study;
- Level II – Moderate evidence from a quasi-experiment;
- Level III – Promising evidence from a correlational study with control for selection bias;
- Level IV – Activities, strategies or interventions that demonstrate quality through research or program evaluation; including ongoing efforts to evaluate the study.
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6. How many applications can a nonprofit early childhood provider or an LEA submit for a Striving Readers subgrant?
Each eligible nonprofit early childhood provider or LEA (this includes consortium leads such as ESCs) may only submit one application for the SRCL subgrant. The application may include all age/grade ranges under the grant (birth-age 5; K-5; 6-8; 9-12) or only include specific age/grade ranges.
However, an ESC may partner with other applicants outside of a consortium application.
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7. If a district/community school intends to apply for a subgrant but is not required by Ohio law to submit a Reading Achievement Plan by Dec. 31, 2017, does the district/community school need to submit a Reading Achievement Plan by Dec. 31, 2017?
Districts and community schools that are interested in applying for the subgrant but are not required by Ohio law to submit a Reading Achievement Plan are not required to submit a plan by Dec. 31, 2017. Instead, the plans will be submitted with the SRCL subgrant application.
Eligible applicants will be required to submit a local literacy plan as a part of their subgrant application. For this subgrant, the Department is requiring this local literacy plan to be in the form of a Reading Achievement Plan for LEAs serving any grades kindergarten through grade 12 or a Reading Readiness Plan for early childhood providers serving children birth through age five. The template for the Reading Achievement Plan is available here. The template for the Reading Readiness Plan (birth-age 5) will be available soon.
Districts and community schools who are required by Ohio law to submit a Reading Achievement Plan to the Department by Dec. 31, 2017 may choose to utilize their submitted Reading Achievement Plan or revise the plan prior to submitting their complete SRCL subgrant application.
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8. How does a consortium complete the Intent to Apply
A consortium completes one Intent to Apply
that lists each LEA and/or nonprofit early childhood provider. Each LEA and/or nonprofit early childhood provider participating in a consortium is required to develop a Reading Achievement Plan/Reading Readiness Plan. The consortium must work together to ensure that the project in their application is aligned to all of the consortium member's literacy plans. However, this does not mean that all of the literacy plans the consortium should be identical.
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9. May an early childhood provider or LEA complete the Intent to Apply as an individual applicant but later choose to join a consortium application? May an early childhood provider or LEA complete the Intent to Apply as a member of a consortium but later choose to apply as an individual applicant?
An early childhood provider or LEA that completes the Intent to Apply, meets the eligibility requirements and attends the Literacy Academy may choose to apply either as an individual applicant or as a member of a consortium, regardless of how the provider completed the Intent to Apply. All consortium members also must complete an Intent to Apply (either as individual applicants or as members of a consortium) and meet the eligibility requirements.
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