By SERINA MARSHALL
Washington County Schools have been recognized for their focused literacy work over the past 14 months.
The school district received Reading 360 recognition from the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE), which is the state’s initiative of comprehensive approach that helps support students.
“Last summer, Washington County teachers participated in early reading training. This intensive training provided teachers over 60 hours of foundational literacy theory, practice, and application to instructional materials,” said Commissioner of Education for the Tennessee Department of Education Penny Schwinn.
Schwinn added that with the passage of the Tennessee Literacy Success Act, Tennessee has placed a heightened focus on early literacy.
“Your district is taking important steps to ensure all children have access to strong foundational skills instruction, as well as daily opportunities to engage with grade level texts, both critical components of effective reading instruction,” she said. “Your involvement and
commitment to Reading 360 initiatives equips teachers in your district with instructional materials and training to build proficient readers.”
According to the Tennessee Department of Education, Literacy 360 will provide optional grants and resources to help more Tennessee students develop strong phonics-based reading skills by supporting districts, teachers and families.
“As a district, when we hear the words ‘rock stars’ and ‘moving mountains,’ from the academic team in Nashville, that’s saying a lot about our teachers, principals, students and families and all the work they are doing,” said Cindy Hayes, chief academic officer for Washington County Schools. “They have walked through and listened to multiple literacy teachers in our K-2 world, listening to what these teachers are learning
throughout the year.
“It’s everybody that’s involved. It’s comprehensive. It’s not just about teachers. It’s not just about students. It’s everyone. Even district leaders, we are right there learning with them,” she said. “They are offering free resources and opportunity after opportunity for every stakeholder in Washington County Schools.”
The level of engagement provided for the students is another aspect Schwinn recognizes.
“Your district has chosen to engage in components of two literacy networks. The Early Literacy Network is a network of districts who are dedicated to strengthening their foundational skills instruction in grades Pre-K through second,” she said. “Your participation in the components of the Early Literacy Network provides additional support with deep implementation of foundational literacy skills.
“Your district has also chosen to participate in the Literacy Implementation Network. This network of 47 districts provides support through a collaborative structure in which districts learn and grow together.”
TDOE said the dedication to literacy shown by the district was one reason they were acknowledged.
“We will be celebrating all Reading 360 districts throughout the month of March, deemed statewide literacy month by Governor Bill Lee,” Schwinn said. “We are truly proud of the commitment to literacy and changing opportunities for the children in your district.”