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Early Literacy | Grants

Highlights from ED Grants and Initiatives


School Improvement Grants

School Improvement Grants (SIG) are grants to state educational agencies (SEAs) that SEAs use to make competitive subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to use the funds to provide adequate resources in order to raise substantially the achievement of students in their lowest-performing schools.


Kit Carson International Academy
(School Improvement Grant, 2009)

  • When Kit Carson International Academy (Kit Carson), an elementary school serving grades PK-5, in Las Vegas, Nev. was identified as one of the lowest-performing schools in the state in 2009, only 30-34% of the students were proficient in English language arts and 40-44% of students were proficient in math.
  • Kit Carson and Clark County School District staff knew that they had to make dramatic changes. To improve instruction and raise student achievement, they needed a place to start, so although math scores at Kit Carson weren’t particularly high, the leadership team decided to focus their efforts on building students’ reading skills.
  • The good news: Those efforts are paying off. Kit Carson increased reading proficiency by over 30 percentage points in just the first three years.
  • See ED’s blog, Kit Carson: Getting Serious about Literacy, and School Improvement Grant Profile, School Improvement Grant (SIG) Practice: Maximizing Learning Time ( PDF, 178KB), for more information about Kit Carson’s efforts and successes.

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Investing in Innovation Grants

The Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) provides funding to support:

  1. local educational agencies (LEAs), and
  2. nonprofit organizations in partnership with:
    1. one or more LEAs, or
    2. a consortium of schools.

The purpose of this program is to provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates. These grants:

  1. allow eligible entities to expand and develop innovative practices that can serve as models of best practices,
  2. allow eligible entities to work in partnership with the private sector and the philanthropic community, and
  3. identify and document best practices that can be shared and taken to scale based on demonstrated success.

University of Minnesota
(Investing in Innovation Grant, 2011)

  • The University of Minnesota was awarded a $15 million i3 Validation grant to expand Chicago’s Child-Parent Center early learning model to 33 sites in Chicago Public Schools, Saint Paul Public Schools, Milwaukee Public Schools and three additional districts. The Child-Parent Centers (CPCs), which began in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in 1967, are a proven early childhood model with a significant return on investment (an estimated $7 return for every $1 invested). The University of Minnesota supported a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that studied outcomes for three and four year-olds in 11 Chicago Public Schools that attended CPCs. They found that students in full-day early learning had the equivalent of a half-year gain in language, literacy and socio-emotional skills compared to those that completed a part-time program.
  • More information regarding the CPCs can be found at Edweek blog.

Children’s Literacy Initiative
(Investing in Innovation Validation Grant, 2010)

  • In 2010, the Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) was awarded a $22 million i3 Validation grant to support coaching and professional development for early childhood educators. Over the course of the project, CLI plans to train 456 teachers that reach more than 45,000 students in grades k-3 in 38 schools in four cities. Almost 80 high-poverty schools in Newark, N.J., Philadelphia, Penn., Chicago, Ill., and Camden, N.J. are currently participating in a randomized control trial evaluation of the intervention.

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State Personnel Development Grants

The State Personnel Development Grants (SPDG), funded by ED’s Office of Special Education Programs, assist state educational agencies (SEAs) in reforming and improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, educational and transition services in order to improve results for children with disabilities.


Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MiBLSi)
(State Personnel Development Grant)

  • Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MiBLSi) is designed to support intermediate school districts in helping students become better readers with the social skills necessary to succeed. Schools that have been using the MiBLSi process are finding that reading scores increase as disruptive behaviors decrease because educators have more time to address instructional needs. MiBLSi also helps schools use student data to intervene early with students who are struggling in reading and/or with behavior issues. Schools are supported through training and ongoing coaching. While currently working with a small number of selected school districts, MiBLSi is in the process of creating a sustainable and scalable statewide program.

Connecticut's "Scientifically Research-Based Interventions"
(State Personnel Development Grant)

  • Connecticut's work will build on their first grant to sustain a statewide system of professional development for Connecticut's Framework for response to intervention, titled "Scientifically Research-Based Interventions." The overall goal is to increase literacy achievement and positive behavior of students with disabilities through the increase of statewide capacity to implement and sustain leadership, evidence-based professional development practices, coaching, and support and retention of school personnel. It is expected these personnel will, in turn, close gaps for students with disabilities.

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Striving Readers Grants

Find details about Striving Readers Grants.

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Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grants

Find details about Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grants.

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Last Modified: 08/02/2017