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$400,000 Grant Awarded to Newport Schools for Reading Program

The Newport Independent Schools received a $400,000 Read to Achieve Grant from the Kentucky Department of Education.

Newport Primary School, which serves students in kindergarten to second grade, and Newport Intermediate School, which serves third grade students, will each receive $50,000 a year over the next four years through this program.

Paul Baker, grant writer for the Newport Independent Schools, said Read to Achieve programs are designed to provide struggling kindergarten through third grade readers with short-term, intensive instruction in the essential skills necessary to read proficiently. Based upon ongoing assessment of individual student needs, evidence-based instruction will be provided by highly-trained teachers in small-group settings.

"Read to Achieve teachers will receive continuing, research-based professional learning focused on effective intervention," Baker said. "To help build instructional capacity school-wide, Read to Achieve teachers, in turn, will share gained strategies with colleagues through co-teaching with regular classroom teachers and during weekly Professional Learning Community meetings."

Newport Intermediate School teacher Donna Reinhart has taught about 35 students a year through a previous Reach to Achieve grant.

"I have had the privilege of intervening with third grade students in reading through the Read to Achieve grant for the last three years. It has been truly one of the most satisfying positions in my career," Reinhart said. "The grant allows our district to teach reading to small groups of students.  

This opportunity allows me to build relationships and re-teach foundational literacy skills with our students.

"The students often feel more comfortable to take risks in the small group setting," she said. "Not only do their reading skills increase, but also the level of confidence becomes greater.  I love seeing the joy on my students' faces as they realize their competency in reading!"

Newport Schools Superintendent Kelly Middleton said the grant writing team of Baker and District Curriculum Coordinator Diane Hatfield have attracted an estimated $10 million in grants over the last few years for the district.

"We always talk here at Newport about going the extra mile for our kids," Middleton said. "When your grant writers are bringing in $10 million, almost all of which goes to classroom and after school programs, we know we are focused on providing the best learning environment possible for our students, teachers, staff and community."