One of the most essential changes we can make on behalf of Georgia’s students is renewing our commitment to literacy and K-5 foundational skills. The ability to read on grade level by third grade, along with proficiency in math by fifth grade, is the first crucial step toward future academic attainment. We have to get it right in the early grades if students are going to achieve later on.
Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal have, through their advocacy, laid a firm foundation for an increased focus on literacy. Partnerships with the Get Georgia Reading Campaign and Georgia Public Library Service are game-changers in this regard as well. For the first time, a network exists that is expanding the capacity of Georgia’s education system and allowing educators and communities alike to explore new methods of increasing literacy.
At the Georgia Department of Education, we’re working each day to leverage these resources to the very best of our ability and the maximum benefit of Georgia’s students. We’re working closely with our Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) to help train and equip school districts with the tools necessary to make improvements in the classroom. OurStriving Readers grant provides funding to schools to ensure all children – birth to 12th grade – are able to read on grade level and communicate effectively with others.
Efforts funded by this grant have shown strong results, and we plan to apply for grant funds through the LEARN Act to expand and strengthen our efforts in this area.
Through our agency strategic plan, we’re setting a course to raise and develop viable academic standards and increase the percentage of K-5 students with a strong knowledge of foundational skills and concepts.
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