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Dalton State School of Education Receives Literacy Grants

Two state literacy grants awarded to Dalton State College’s School of Education will mean more books in the hands of young readers in the community.

Dalton State received a $20,000 grant that will help build literacy skills during the summer for approximately 100 kindergarten- through third-grade students in Whitfield County as well as training teacher candidates at Dalton State to be literacy coaches.

The second grant for $91,390 was awarded to the College and program partners, Dalton Public Schools, the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership, the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System, and the Whitfield County Health Department. The money will be used to target young school-aged children who need help with English proficiency.

“What I really love about these grants is that they will enable us to use the bulk of that money to put books in the hands of children and families,” said Dr. Jacquelyn Mesco, assistant professor of education who helped write the grants.

The grants were part of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Early Language and Literacy Mini-Grant Program, which is a collaborative effort between the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College and State University. Grants were awarded for 48 projects recently by the initiative.

“I’m thrilled Dr. Mesco and I were able to write and receive these grants,” said Dr. Sharon Hixon, dean of the School of Education. “The grant money will be used to expand work we are already doing in the community. Much of the money will be used to purchase supplies and books to help families work with their children to build literacy skills. The grants also provide opportunities for our teacher candidates to work with children and families in an innovative manner that helps them apply theory to practice. We were glad that we were able to write a grant with two of our partner school systems, Whitfield County Schools and Dalton Public Schools.

“Studies show early intervention in literacy is critical to children’s development,” according to the grant proposal. “Increased literacy impacts many aspects of a child’s life. While educators play a critical role in literacy intervention, research reveals that participation from childcare workers, family, and medical professionals is equally important. With these grants we’ll be addressing achievement gaps, thus changing the lives of disadvantaged children.”

“The School of Education has once again demonstrated a true partnership with the local community in its outreach to support childhood literacy,” said Dr. Patricia Chute, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “The combination of a strong expert faculty along with teacher candidates who are committed to teaching and learning makes these grants a conduit for success for everyone involved.”

The Early Language and Literacy Mini-Grant Program invests in strategic community partnerships that target language and literacy development needs for children from birth to 8. Each awarded project is a collaborative effort between at least two community-based partners that focuses on one of the four pillars of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign: language nutrition, access, positive learning climate, and teacher preparation and effectiveness. These community partnerships include child care centers, public and private pre-K programs, primary grades of elementary schools, local service agencies, colleges ,and local nonprofit organizations. 

“The Early Language and Literacy Mini-Grant Program recognizes those leading the way in developing new, engaging programs to advance language and literacy skills for Georgia students,” Gov. Deal said. “These grants will provide communities with additional resources to put more students on track to read on grade-level by the third grade. The bright minds of Georgia’s students are the state’s most precious resource and I commend the educators and community partners working to prepare them for future success.”