Charleston Co. School District lays out vision for how ESSER III dollars will be spent – Live 5 News WCSC

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Reading is arguably the most important single skill students walk away with from their time at school. Despite this most fundamental goal, schools districts continue to struggle to get students up to par.
Data collected from state tests show 50.8 percent of students in the Charleston County School district fall below the reading level expectations.
CCSD Interim Superintendent Don Kennedy is making reading his administration’s number one priority for the distribution of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund or ESSER III. His goal is to have all students reading at a 5th grade level by 5th grade in the next five years.
Kennedy has laid out three pillars to support the vision. He says the district will need to have rigorous curriculum, high quality teachers and fully integrated wrap around services to meet the needs of the community.
“Typically, students should be reading by the 3rd grade. That’s the target and the optimum,” said Karolyn Belcher, CCSD Chief Academic Officer. “We added 5th grade in part to give recognition that with COVID-19 kids are going to be a bit behind, and it’s going to take us time to phase in all the changes we have in place.”
“I just hope that we are not setting the bar too low,” said school board member Joyce Green.
Reading on grade level by 5th grade will be the standard by which each ESSER III Proposal will be graded.
“The staff will align the programs – meaning the proposals that were submitted by the community – to the three strategic pillars,” Kennedy said. “If you think about the pillars, it’s the wrap around services that would most likely align with the community proposals.”
Currently staff are going through all 71 proposals and grading them based on how they support the overall vision.
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