Frank McCoppin Elementary School Principal Bennett Lee said he learned in March that the school would be receiving a $425,000 Kellogg Foundation grant, which is awarded to schools to optimize child development.
“The teachers are very excited,” Lee said. “When I finally made the announcement [to the teachers], I hadn’t heard that much cheering at our school in ages.”
The money will be used to implement a Balanced Literacy Program for the school, an educational tactic that focuses on language and phonics to provide lifelong reading strategies for children.
Frank McCoppin has approximately 265 students, about half of whom speak Cantonese as their first language, Lee said.
The principal said he’s wanted to bring the program, which includes guided reading and targeted reading levels, to Frank McCoppin after seeing it applied in other schools. The school has already started putting some elements of the program in place, but the $425,000 grant will allow the school to incorporate its efforts into “a whole reading program” complete with a reading center, he said.
The program will be initially incorporated in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms, which will each receive about six to eight iPads to support the literacy initiative. Lee, who previously donated his personal iPad to the school’s special education class, said he’s hoping to use the school’s own budget to expand the program and buy iPads for the fourth- and fifth-grade classes.
Teachers will go through training for the program, which the grant will also fund, according to Lee. The training will take place for a few days during the summer, as well as on a weekly basis during the next school year.
The school is also looking to hire someone to oversee the entire literacy program, using money from the grant as well as school and district funds, Lee said.