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RISD included in statewide literacy grant

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SANTA FE — Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski announced that eleven New Mexican school districts and charter schools have been awarded a total of $20,000,000 in targeted grant funds over the next three years to improve literacy outcomes for students through proven programs.

New Mexico won the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) grant last year through a competitive federal process that rewarded the state’s commitment to consistent measurement of student progress, stability in core accountability systems, intensive family engagement on early literacy, and a track record of return-on-investment.

These are dollars that go above and beyond to ensure New Mexico students have access to targeted investment programs that have a proven track record of success.

The following school districts and charter schools have earned SRCL grant funds:

Roswell Independent School District.Albuquerque Sign Language Academy.Bernalillo Public Schools.Bloomfield Schools District.Cobre Consolidated School District.Gadsden Independent School District.Hondo Public Schools.Portales Municipal Schools.Ruidoso Municipal Schools. Taos Municipal Schools. Santa Rosa/Vaughn.“Reading is the foundational skill that supports all other academic, career, and life pursuits — and we are investing, at record levels, in programs that have shown success in improving student reading outcomes,” Ruszkowski said. “New Mexico’s students are on the rise — our progress is being recognized all over the country and leads to these types of additional opportunities. As with everything we do, we asked districts to develop plans that focused on supporting our English language learners, students from low-income communities, and our students with disabilities. They again have risen to the challenge.”

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Through a statewide competitive peer review process, eleven school districts and charter schools were selected to receive a portion of the grant to support a comprehensive local literacy effort for children from birth through grade 12.

The SRCL grant is also another piece of the state’s continued targeted investments in early literacy programs. Earlier this year, Governor Susana Martinez announced a record high investment of $33,600,000 in Pre-K programs for the upcoming school year, allowing 11 school districts to host Pre-K programs for the first time ever – and a record-high investment of $28,000,000 into K-3 Plus programs across the state, which extended learning time this summer for more than 22,000 students, including 26 districts that piloted K-5 Plus (serving rising fourth and fifth graders) for the first time ever.

Student progress statewide in reading since 2015 is unprecedented: 13,000 more students are reading on grade level, with Native American students improving more than any other group — by 8.2 percentage points. More students are taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams, more students are in “A” and “B” schools, and the state graduation rate is at an all-time high of 71.1 percent. As the bar is raised, students are rising to the challenge.

Recipients of the SRCL grant will meet in Albuquerque for a kickoff Summit in August sponsored by PED staff. This will provide districts an opportunity to have conversations and share ideas about plan implementation and birth-12 evidence-based practices.