Basalt Elementary receives grant for reading programs |

Basalt Elementary receives grant for reading programs

The Colorado Department of Education gave Basalt Elementary School more than $66,000 to assist second- and third-grade readers.BES Principal Suzanne Wheeler-Del Piccolo called the grant “huge” because it allows the school to hire a new full-time literacy teacher for small group instruction, fund eight other part-time positions for after-school literacy programs and add six weeks of summer school for second- and third-graders.The grant will fund new literacy materials, as well as staff training to facilitate intensive reading tutoring for students.”It gives us the advantage to hire more support teachers to really target students who are not yet proficient,” Wheeler-Del Piccolo said. “I’m just thrilled to have the added resources because the previous grant we received really helped make a difference in the learning of our students.”The new grant, which could be extended with sustained successful results, continues the school’s history of Read to Achieve grants amounting to about $276,000 through the past three years.The grant provides assistance to schools working to reach a state goal that all Colorado students become proficient readers by the end of the third grade. When 25 percent of Read to Achieve students attain grade level proficiency, the school is eligible to apply for continued state funding.During the past three years, the tutoring efforts in reading at Basalt Elementary have reduced the number of second- and third-graders on Individual Learning Plans to improve reading proficiency from 96 to 67 students, the principal said.”This will allow us to continue the improvements for our students that we’ve made in the last three years with funds from the previous Read to Achieve grant,” Wheeler-Del Piccolo said. “If you look at the demographics of our school in the past three years, we’ve really make great strides in all our students’ reading goals.”Eighteen-year BES teacher and STAR program coordinator Linda Slaybaugh wrote the grant with assistance from Karen Olson.

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