OCS chosen for Reading 360 initiative

OCN screen shot

Interim Director of Schools Donnie Holman speaks to the School Board.

Tennessee Department of Education announced Monday, March 8 the 48 districts selected to participate in the optional, Pre-K–12 Literacy Implementation Networks, part of the state’s Reading 360 initiative to help boost strong reading skills amongst Tennessee students.

Overton County Schools was among the districts chosen for the initiative.

In last week’s Overton County School Board work session, Interim Director of Schools Donnie Holman said, “It provides tutoring, lots and lots of training and staff development this summer. We’ve already been polling our teachers to see who would be interested in that. And it also provides tons of resources for our teachers. So, we’re really happy that we received that.”

As part of Reading 360, eight regional implementation networks will consist of 48 districts with the overarching goal of supporting the implementation of high-quality English Language Arts (ELA) instructional materials for Pre-K–12 students through competitive grants over the next five years.

In announcing the district selections, Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said, “Over the next five years, the regional Pre-K–12 Literacy Implementation Networks will foster opportunity for districts to learn from each other and to form unique partnerships to support high-quality literacy instruction to build strong readers, which ultimately promotes success for our students and our state.”

Each regional implementation network will consist of one mentor district, 4-6 participating districts, and a regionally selected vendor partner, with the option of selecting an elementary, middle or high school focus.

Overton County will be under the mentoring of Putnam County Schools. Pickett County Schools, Fentress County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, and Bledsoe County Schools are also mentored by Putnam County Schools.

Mentor districts have multiple years of high-quality instructional materials implementation experience and will help build capacity of participant districts who have adopted and purchased new ELA materials in the past year.

Additionally, mentor districts will support participant districts’ system-level implementation strategy.

The district partnerships help ensure teachers have the resources and support necessary to offer high-quality learning experiences for all children. Additionally, the networks will provide free coaching support for the training and use of Tennessee Instructional Practice Guides.

This competitive grant opportunity was open to all Tennessee districts to apply. The selected mentor and participating districts will agree to the grant requirements, which includes data sharing and a 5-year commitment per the $20 million federal Comprehensive State Literacy Development (CSLD) grant awarded to the department to support the launch of the regional implementation networks.

Reading 360 is a comprehensive statewide literacy initiative to provide optional grants and resources to help more Tennessee students develop strong phonics-based reading skills by supporting districts, teachers, and families.

To launch Reading 360 and invest in optional reading resources and supports at no cost to the state or districts, the state is leveraging approximately $60 million of one-time federal COVID-19 relief funding and $40 million in federal grant funding.

For additional information on the department’s COVID-19 and school reopening related resources visit https://www.tn.gov/education/health-and-safety/update-on-coronavirus/reopening-guidance.html.