Martha Holden Jennings grant
Martha Holden Jennings Foundation Grant
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Botkins Schools, Hardin-Houston Schools, and the Shelby County ESC receive grant to expand literacy program from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.    

Last month, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation awarded grants in excess of $14,000 each to Hardin-Houston Local Schools and Botkins Local Schools as part of their partnership with the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center (ESC) to implement the Balanced Literacy model within grades K-6 during the next school year. 

Superintendent of Botkins Local School, Connie Schneider, stated, “Our Elementary School principal, Gina Rogers, spent nearly six months working with the ESC and our teachers on the framework for the proposal.  They are truly committed to ensuring that the program is a success!”

Karen Rose, Director of Curriculum and School Improvement for the Educational Service Center defined the balanced literacy model as follows: “Balanced Literacy stresses the essential dimensions of reading through explicit teaching of phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency and expressiveness, vocabulary, and comprehension.  Daily read-alouds, independent reading time, reading workshop, writing workshop, and systematic word study instruction are key features of the approach. It provides teachers with a number of options when developing lesson plans, activities, and assessments. The end result is a more responsive and engaging classroom environment”. 

Throughout the next year, teachers will learn strategies to help students at all levels of achievement demonstrate the habits and strategies of effective reading and writing through a variety of structures.  The program will combine teacher directed instruction (including teacher modeling of skills, strategies, and processes), student-centered activities, and a parental engagement element to support greater linkage between classroom instruction and support within the home environment.  A total of sixteen (16) staff development days will be implemented during the project period.  Over thirty-two (32) teachers from grades K-6 will participate in the year-long program. 

When asked about the grant Larry Claypool, Superintendent of Hardin-Houston Local Schools said, “We are excited that Dr. Hiller, Executive Director of the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation and their Board chose to approve our proposal.  The grant will provide our teachers with the resources, tools, and coaching necessary to ensure success”.