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Early Literacy Support Block Grant
Section 113 of the Education Omnibus Trailer Bill (Senate Bill 98) for the 2020-21 California State Budget appropriated $50 million to establish the Early Literacy Support Block (ELSB) Grant Program. The ELSB Grant Program required the California Department of Education (CDE) to award funds to local educational agencies (LEAs) with the 75 schools that had the highest percentage of students in grade three scoring at the lowest achievement standard level on the State Summative English Language Arts (ELA) assessment.To determine which LEAs were eligible for ELSB funds, the CDE examined the weighted average of the results for the 2018 and 2019 ELA Summative Assessment to identify the 75 schools with the highest percentage of students in grade three scoring at Level 1.The schools also met the following additional required criteria:
- The school must have reported results for at least 11 students in grade three for the 2018 and 2019 ELA Summative Assessments.
- The school must be designated as traditional in the 2018–19 California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System.
The CDE notified all eligible LEAs on August 31, 2020, and invited them to apply for funding. Rockwood Elementary School qualified for the grant.
Total grant award is $993,848 for the grant period of August 2021 - June 2024.
Planning Year - 2020-2021
Calexico Unified applied and received an initial amount of $50,000 to develop and implement a needs assessment and root cause analysis for each school, which informed the development of a required three-year Literacy Action Plan (Plan). The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) was chosen as the Expert Lead in Literacy for this initiative. SCOE is partnered with Pivot Learning, to support LEAs in identifying which strategies, programs, and/or services were most appropriate.
Upon CDE approval of the Plans, the CDE will disseminate the first year of funding to LEAs to implement planned activities. The second and third years of funding will be disbursed upon the review and acceptance of all annual and quarterly reporting requirements.
Grant funds may be used only to fund supplemental activities and shall not supplant already existing activities being provided by the LEA or at the eligible schools. The activities shall be targeted for improvement strategies for pupils in kindergarten and grades one to three, inclusive, at eligible schools.The local educational agency literacy action plan shall be adopted at a regularly scheduled, publicly noticed meeting of the governing board or body of the local educational agency as a nonconsent agenda item.
A local educational agency shall expend grant funds only on programs or services within one or more of the following categories:
(1) Access to high-quality literacy teaching, which shall include any of the following:
- Hiring of literacy coaches or instructional aides to provide support to struggling pupils, including, among others, bilingual reading specialists to support English learner programs.
- Development of strategies to provide culturally responsive curriculum and instruction.
- Evidence-based professional development for teachers, instructional aides, and school leaders regarding literacy instruction and literacy achievement and the use of data to help identify and support struggling pupils.
- Professional development for teachers and school leaders regarding implementation of the curriculum framework for English language arts adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to Section 60207 of the Education Code and the use of data to support effective instruction.
(2) Support for literacy learning, which shall include any of the following:
- Purchase of literacy curriculum resources and instructional materials aligned with the English language arts content standards and the curriculum framework for English language arts adopted by the State Board of Education, but only if the literacy action plan also includes professional development for staff on effective use of these materials.
- Purchase of diagnostic assessment instruments to help assess pupil needs and progress and training for school staff regarding the use of those assessment instruments.
(3) Pupil supports, which shall include any of the following:
- Expanded learning programs, such as before- and after-school programs or summer school, to improve pupils’ access to literacy instruction.
- Extended schoolday to enable implementation of breakfast in the classroom or library models to support expanded literacy instruction.
- Strategies to improve school climate, pupil connectedness, and attendance and to reduce exclusionary discipline practices, including in-school suspensions, that may limit a pupil’s time in school.
- Strategies to implement research-based social-emotional learning approaches, including restorative justice.
- Expanded access to the school library.
(4) Family and community supports, which shall include any of the following:
- Development of trauma-informed practices and supports for pupils and families.
- Provision of mental health resources to support pupil learning.
- Strategies to implement multi-tiered systems of support and the response to intervention approach.
- Development of literacy training and education for parents to help develop a supportive literacy environment in the home.
- Strategies to improve parent and community engagement and to improve communication with parents regarding how to address pupils’ literacy needs.