Columbia – Awardees for the South Carolina Community Block Grants for Education Pilot Program were announced today, given to six initiatives throughout the state who are focused on improving children’s readiness for kindergarten by enhancing the quality of pre-kindergarten programs for four-year-old children.
This one-year block grant program is a matching grants initiative designed to encourage sustainable partnerships among South Carolina school districts and community groups. The General Assembly and Governor approved the grant in the state budget to improve children’s readiness for kindergarten.
This year’s awardees include the school districts/consortium of Charleston; Chesterfield; Florence One/Pee Dee Consortium; York 1; Lexington/Richland Five; and Lexington One. While the awarded projects’ strategies and approaches vary, all focus on enhancing children’s learning and the quality of the interactions between teachers, parents, and young children. Each project incorporates at least one instrument which will measure the success of each initiative.
Summaries of the awarded projects:
Charleston County School District
Charleston County School District will implement Sound Beginnings in two high-poverty, rural schools with low student achievement, E.B. Ellington Elementary and Minnie Hughes Elementary. The project focus is to improve home and school language and literacy environments. The anticipated outcome of the project is an increased number of students on target for success in kindergarten. The school district was awarded $85,580.
Chesterfield County School District
Chesterfield County School District will provide additional math professional development for 4K and 5K teachers and assistants through virtual and face to face sessions working with Clemson University. The district will continue to provide job-embedded, ongoing professional development that impacts teacher and child interactions and their effects on literacy and mathematical thinking. The grant will also provide literacy and math readiness workshops for families as well as books for home libraries. The school district was awarded $132,100.
Florence 1 / Pee Dee Consortium
Florence School District 1 continues to lead this collaborative professional development project in eight school districts and Head Start, implementing a Pyramid Model, which focuses on building educator capacity toward supporting and enhancing children’s social-emotional development. The Pee Dee Consortia is a regional initiative that has grown from the partnership of Florence 1 and Florence 2 to include eight additional Pee Dee districts and Head Start. The school district/consortium was awarded $221,900.
This project capitalizes on community partnerships and incorporates strategies to improve kindergarten readiness. They incorporate professional development for 4K teachers, assistants and Head Start Staff as well as summer programming for at risk rising Kindergarten students and a year-long Parent Institute. The district works to support families during the summer to ensure rising kindergarten students have a solid social and emotional foundation before entering kindergarten. The school district was awarded $77,179.
Lexington-Richland School District Five
Grant funds awarded will be used by the school district to expand the Pyramid Model in all six Title 1 District schools, providing resources and educator professional development training focused on supporting and enhancing the social-emotional development of young children. The school district received $57,550.
Lexington School District One will use grant funds to increase opportunities for play, increasing language and literacy development among children at Pelion Elementary School. This project allows for the expansion of professional learning with 4K teachers and staff in a more targeted approach. The school district received $74,222.
Per a proviso in the state budget, the Executive Director of the Education Oversight Committee (EOC) is charged with establishing an independent grants committee composed of educators and business persons to evaluate the submitted grants.
The SC Education Oversight Committee is an independent, non-partisan group made up of 18 educators, business persons, and elected leaders. Created in 1998, the committee is dedicated to reporting facts, measuring change, and promoting progress within South Carolina’s education system.