Over the next three years, the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District will receive nearly $150,000 toward summer reading camps, thanks to a grant from the Mississippi Department of Education.
On Thursday, the MDE announced $3 million in funds to 24 schools across the state to help them create literacy camps during the summer. Henderson Ward Stewart will receive $147,819.67 overall, including $48,834.07 the first year, and $49,492.80 the following two years. The programs will be for students in first grade through third grade.
SOCSD grants and innovative strategies specialist Brandi Burton said the district’s process had begun already.
“Year one, which is actually beginning this summer, we’re going to be acquiring the materials that we’ll be using for the summer learning program,” Burton said. “It’s just a lot of different-leveled readers, all kinds of different literacy items.”
Burton said after the products were purchased, the district would offer a reading camp at HWS for the next two years.
“The next two years we’ll be able to serve up to 100 students in grades 1-3 for a completely free month long summer reading program,” Burton said. “Our focus will be for them to raise their current reading level, and if we can’t get them on grade level, we can at least improve what level they’re currently reading at.”
She said the grant would still apply to first graders in the district, even though it was going to HWS, which starts at second grade.
“This is the first time that MDE has put this proposal out, so we’re really excited that we’re a recipient for it,” Burton said.
Funds were distributed to districts based on a competitive request for proposals proposals, and amounts given to districts ranged from $25,400 to $150,000.
“These grants will help schools continue to provide supports for students that are struggling in the area of literacy in schools across the state,” said MDE Chief Academic Officer Nathan Oakley.
Burton mentioned the literacy grant and several other grants the district had received in the past few months during a presentation at the school board meeting Tuesday night. These included funding for a mental health specialist at HWS for the next three to five years.
“We’re still kind of getting all the details on that, but that’s another one we’re really excited about,” Burton said.