Dodge City Public Schools USD 443 announced Tuesday, June 12, that it has been awarded a grant totaling more than $3.2 million from the Literacy Network of Kansas (LiNK), a project of the U.S. Department of Education’s Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program.

Eight grantees were selected from a competitive application process, according to the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). Kansas received the $27 million federal grant – one of the largest competitive grants ever received by KSDE – in October 2017. The agency applied for the grant in July 2017 with the assistance of the KU Center on Research and Learning.

KSDE invited districts/consortia meeting specific criteria to apply for funds from the grant. Districts had to serve at least 5,000 students in order to apply individually. Districts that serve fewer than 5,000 students could apply as part of a consortium.

The eight awardees will receive more than $3.2 million for literacy support during a three-year period. The eight that were selected – four individual districts and four consortia - represent a total of 32 Kansas school districts and 88,000 children.

LiNK projects will help advance literacy skills of children from birth through 12th grade, helping them to become successful readers and writers.

Each grantee developed a plan that will support students and their families in a variety of ways, based upon a study of local needs. In some districts, community agencies will provide free books and family reading activities, while others will work with preschool children to prepare for kindergarten. The Dodge City grant offers intensive literacy and language professional development for teachers, support staff, parents, and community members to ensure our students are learning at school, home, and in the community.

"We are so excited to have this opportunity to make a profound difference in the way we approach literacy and support our students," said Tami Knedler, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education.

Throughout the three-year grant cycle, a network of resources for educators and families will be developed for future use. These resources will impact literacy at the state, regional and community levels, as well as providing professional learning opportunities for teachers and families.

LiNK will help schools meet the Kansas State Board of Education’s vision for education – Kansas leads the world in the success of each student.