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Mississippi School District Awarded Literacy Grant

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Mississippi School District Awarded Literacy Grant
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J.E. Johnson Elementary School

Jefferson Davis County School District is helping students improve their reading and writing skills thanks to an education grant. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports on why this funding is important.

Jefferson Davis County School District is one of three districts in Mississippi to receive the $2.2 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program grant. It's awarded from the U.S. Department of Education. Will Russell is the superintendent of education for the school district. He says the grant gives students resources to improve their literacy skills.

“We have so many kids that’s getting to the third grade that are on reading levels that maybe kindergarten or first grade,” said Russell. “So we’re trying to close that gap once they enter into third grade. And this grant is affording us the resources and books, books, and more books to make that happen.”

The school district was given a "D" letter grade for 2017-2018 based on Mississippi's accountability system. The grade is based
on student achievement, student growth, student participation in testing, and other academic measures.

Michael Haggen is with Scholastic Education. They will be supplying books, resources, and professional development training for the district.

“Jefferson Davis for me was a prime example of when giving a district an opportunity and the resources they’re able to support an entire community,” said Haggen. “They were willing to do the work that was required.”

The grant was awarded to only 40 school districts nationwide in 2018.