APSB receives elementary literacy grant


   As part of a district emphasis on literacy in the elementary schools, the Avoyelles Parish School District sought and was awarded a $232,757 grant from the Rapides Foundation. The program is called “Every Student Succeeds When Every Student Reads.”
   The grant will be distributed over three years and will be used in the parish’s four lowest-achieving elementary schools -- Bunkie, Cottonport, Marksville and Riverside.
   “This grant is different from the Effective Schools grant we receive from Rapides Foundation,” Elementary Supervisor Celeste Voinche told the board’s Education Committee at its Oct. 18 meeting. “This was a competitive grant. We applied and we were selected.”
   The grant will pay to train teachers in effective literacy instruction, guided reading and maximizing the use of classroom libraries. Voinche said it will also be used to purchase books for students in pre-K through 3rd grade to take home.
   “Many of our children do not have many books at home,” Voinche told the committee, adding that this will allow them to read grade-appropriate material at home and encourage a love of reading. The district will also purchase “Fast Forward,” an innovative intervention system, for the schools and to train teachers how to use the system.
    It will also enable the district to hold a Summer Reading Program. The summer program will be in only one of the four schools the first year, three in the second and all four in the third.
   The program will also receive additional support from a donation from a private firm and the APSB Title I federal program.
   Voinche said the first grant-funded training course will be held in January