Concordia Parish schools receive federal $500,000 literacy grant

Published 1:01 am Friday, February 9, 2018

Vidalia — Concordia Parish Schools announced Thursday the district received more than $500,000 in grants for reading and language arts programs from the Louisiana State Department.

Director of Elementary Education Cindy Smith and Director of Secondary Education Rhonda Wilson applied for the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant to aid in the instruction of lower performing schools in English language arts.

The grant aims to improve literacy efforts in school district across the state. Louisiana received the second-highest of the 11 eligible states and is the only state to receive the grant for three consecutive years.

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SRCL grants are available in three age categories: birth to 5-year-olds, 5-year-olds to fifth-graders, and fifth-graders to seniors. Concordia Parish received grants in every age group, for a total of $512,186.

Smith said Concordia Parish received more total funds than any other district in the northeast region of Louisiana.

“I haven’t checked to see if we received the most of any district in Louisiana yet,” she said.

The money will be distributed according to need, Wilson said, meaning schools with lower reading and language scores would receive the most funds.

The funds will primarily be used, Concordia Parish School District Superintendent Whest Shirley said, for improvements to curriculum and professional development for teachers.

“Anytime we get funds to improve the district, we’re excited,” Shirley said. “This should affect everyone.”