Teachers of two local school districts will soon “beef up” what they know about literacy thanks to a grant-funded project and the Southeast Kansas Special Education Center at Greenbush.

Greenbush worked with Kansas school districts to develop grant proposals, two grants which are worth $3.2 million each from the Literacy Network of Kansas, a project of the U.S. Department of Education’s Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program.

Two out of the 16 districts which will receive the grant are Pittsburg Community Schools and the Southeast School District.

“This will give an opportunity for teachers to beef up their skills in how to teach kids reading and writing,” Greenbush Director of Student Support Services Monica Murnan said.

The consortium aims to improve literacy from birth to 12th grade, giving children a head start before kindergarten.

Each district had to develop a literacy plan which was based upon a study of local needs. These plans could include providing free books and reading activities or working with agencies to prepare preschoolers for kindergarten, a release said.

Murnan said the school districts are divided into constrias which is to focus the need level of varying school districts.

The funds from the grant will allow schools to continue or to receive instructional coaches which visit classrooms and provide feedback to the teacher.

Through this program teachers can visit other schools in their consortium where they can watch other teachers instruct class. Coaches can also record the teachers to provide examples for other educators.

Murnan said information provided to the teachers are “research and evidence based practices.”

“It’s all about building teachers so kids do better,” she said.

USD 247 Superintendent Dr. Brad Miner said the district is looking forward to the new set of eyes which will provide their teachers other ways to help their students read and write better.

“We’re very excited for this opportunity to be part of such a huge grant,” he said. “The coaches will give feedback and give different ways to help them work through challenges they come across.

“It will will be nice to have the support of the instructional coaches.”

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.