Clayton schools granted $4 million to boost literacy

By Greg Gelpi

Clayton County schools will receive more than $4.3 million in Reading First grants.

The State Board of Education approved grant applications for nine Clayton County schools in order to increase literacy.

This is the first year that third-graders must pass the reading portion of the state's Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests in order to advance to the fourth grade.

"Grant funds will also be used to develop a research-based teacher training system that will help educators incorporate innovative teaching techniques in the classroom," the state Department of Education said. "The schools will also fund full-time literacy coaches, start using a scientifically based reading program and continuously monitor student progress."

The grants were $382,474 for Fountain Elementary; $617,670 for Huie Elementary; $540,788 for Lake Ridge Elementary; $412,541 for Lee Street Elementary; $454,696 for Northcutt Elementary; $526,318 for Swint Elementary; $395,732 for Tara Elementary; $574,477 for McGarrah Elementary and $463,494 for West Clayton Elementary.

The board chose schools to award the grants based criteria including, the number of students reading below grade level, number of underprivileged students and whether the school was listed as a "needs improvement" school.

The board approved 74 grants statewide totaling $34 million to help children learn to read by the end of third grade.