Literacy grant helping get students on track

Local News

One in 4 children in America grows up without learning how to read, according to the American Psychological Association

To make sure its students are not included in that statistic, the McKenzie County School District is finding new ways to improve literacy and has several plans that are now in the works to keep their kids reading.

“I see that students come in at all different stages and levels in their reading abilities,” said teacher, Nicole Brew.

Nicole Brew is a second-grade teacher at Watford City Elementary School. Many students come and go in the district, because their parents work in the oil field, requiring a lot of moving around. So, students end up on several different education levels. Brew says over the years the school district has focused on implementing reading programs but now it’s time to tackle the other side of literacy.

“That writing component, which we have identified as an area internally that we would like to grow in and I’m hoping that next year that can be a focus that we move into,” she added.

And now with a new grant they can.

“The intent is to really boost our literacy and provide us with some of the resources that we may not have had in the past,” said Calina Krogen.

McKenzie County Public Schools is the recipient of a $2 million literacy grant. Over the next five years, the school district will be given funds to help meet the needs of its students and enhance their reading and writing skills.

“One of the big pieces that we are excited about is we were able to hire literacy coaches that will focus on literacy specifically with our classrooms,” added Krogen.

One coach will work with kindergarten through fifth graders, and the other will help with students in sixth through twelfth. Along with the coaches, the Consolidated Literacy Development Grant will allow the district to hire an Instruction and Learning Director.

Krogen said, “We can afford now to get a literacy audit done now of our buildings.
So, then we’ll identify areas that we are really strong in and areas that they feel we can improve in.”

Superintendent Steve Holen says the oil boom has brought many students from all different backgrounds. Now with these funds, they can cater to them all. Making sure they’re all on the same page.

The school board voted to approve the hiring of those 3 new positions.

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