Early Literacy Grant
During the 2018 Legislative Session, HB 2520 changed the Early Literacy Grant from a three-year program to an annual entitlement program. The Early Literacy Grant Program originated during the 2017-2018 academic year with an $8 million appropriation from the legislature. This program was designed to be administered to schools with at least a 90% free and reduced lunch population and funds were to be used for K-3 literacy programs and full-day Kindergarten. Eligible schools were determined based upon the claim data from October 2016 as reported to the ADE Health and Nutrition Division by each LEA. This list was cross-referenced with the AzEDS Student Level and Free and Reduced Lunch data from the 2016-2017 school year to ensure all schools were captured.
When the Early Literacy Grant was initially written, it allowed for participating schools to receive available funding throughout the three-year grant cycle provided all requirements were met. At this time there were 242 eligible schools, of which 175 schools elected to participate. Year two of the grant begins with the 2018-2019 academic year and a $12 million appropriation from the legislature for all 242 eligible schools. In order to comply with the new legislation and maintain the integrity of the grant program for the participating schools, the eligibility list of schools from the 2017-2018 academic year will be used until the 2019-2020 academic year. After the 2019-2020 academic year, eligibility will be determined on an annual basis provided the continuation of funding.
Because the Early Literacy Grant is an entitlement program, there is no application required for participation. However, each school that receives Early Literacy Grant funds is required to submit an Annual Report by June 1st of each calendar year. The report must include information related to the following:
- Summary of the school’s funded activities
- The school’s progress toward achievement goals
- Specific findings on grant-funded strategies and activities
- The level of effectiveness in improving reading proficiency
While both the Early Literacy Grant and Move On When Reading address K-3 literacy, they are separate endeavors. All schools with K-3 students are required to submit Move On When Reading literacy plans according to the legislated timeline, even if they are also receiving the Early Literacy Grant.
Below is an anticipated timeline for the 2018-2019 Early Literacy Grant:
- October 2018: Amended Early Literacy Grant Awards are submitted to the State Board of Education for Approval
- November/December 2018: Early Literacy Grant Awards reach LEAs
- June 1, 2019: All schools submit the Annual Report