Twenty North Dakota education sites have been awarded a total of nearly $42 million in grants to help students improve skills in reading, writing and speaking.
The money through the Comprehensive Literacy State Development grant program is being distributed over five years, with the first two years of funding guaranteed. Collectively, the school districts receiving money educate 67% of North Dakota’s almost 114,000 public school students.
Sites were awarded grants based on their numbers of disadvantaged children, and the percentage of disadvantaged children each site had when compared to its total student enrollment.
A focus of the grant money is to pay for technical assistance and literacy-related professional development for educators. For example, teachers will get instruction to improve their ability to teach literacy skills.
“This grant will benefit students of all ages across North Dakota,” State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said. “It will have a lasting, sustainable impact, and it will encourage family and community engagement and nontraditional learning opportunities for all children.”
The U.S. Department of Education administers the grant program nationally. Grants are awarded to state education departments for distribution to local schools.
State lawmakers have authorized the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction to distribute two years’ worth of grant funds, totaling about $17 million, to the 20 education sites. Subsequent grant rounds will be included in the department's proposed two-year budgets for legislative review.
Bismarck is to get $4 million over the five years; about $1.6 million is in the first two years. Mandan is getting $3 million, with about $1.2 million in the first two years.
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