Two Minn. school districts awarded literacy grants

/ 3 March 2012 / jennifer

Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio, March 3, 2012 –

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The McKnight Foundation has awarded $6 million in grant money to improve literacy efforts at two Minnesota school districts.

The funds will be split between the Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis districts. The programs will focus on students between pre-kindergarten and third grade, according to an announcement from the foundation Friday.

Earle Brown Elementary School Principal Randy Koch said his school plans to use the money to bring in three literacy coaches and start a program for 4-year-olds.

“The research is all showing that if you can start those kids a little earlier and give them more education, more hours per day that you’ll have success later in life,” Koch said.

The grant money will pay for literacy efforts for three years. Koch said the funds will allow his school to better gauge the effectiveness of teaching methods and students’ progress.

“We just want these kids to be able to read as long as they can because we know that without that basic reading foundation, life is pretty tough,” Koch said.

The schools have been preparing for the literacy programs for the last year with the help of consultants from the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute.