MACON – Mercer University will work with the Bibb County School District, Head Start, United Way of Central Georgia and Middle Georgia Regional Education Service Agency on a three-year, $1.6 million Literacy for Learning, Living and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) grant through the Georgia Department of Education.
Georgia was awarded more than $61 million through the federal Striving Readers grant competition to improve student literacy learning. Ninety-five percent of those funds were sub-granted to 38 school districts and allocated for students in schools within a feeder system that includes birth-to-age 5 childcare providers and elementary, middle and high schools.
All awarded districts have community-school partnerships with local organizations, the Regional Education Service Agencies and teacher preparation programs to collectively improve literacy outcomes.
“We are pleased to be Bibb County School District’s higher education partner on this literacy grant,” said Dr. Kelly Reffitt, associate dean of Mercer’s Tift College of Education. “This grant will provide another opportunity for the Tift College of Education to collaborate with our valued school partners to make a positive impact on our pre-service teachers’ preparation and the literacy development of Bibb County students.”
Bibb County will apply its L4GA grant to the Westside feeder zone, which includes Heritage Elementary School, Riley Elementary School, Union Elementary School, Veterans Elementary School, Weaver Middle School, Westside High School and affiliated childcare providers.
The role of Tift College of Education will be to place pre-service teachers in designated schools to focus on disciplinary literacy skill development, provide professional learning on co-teaching to mentor teachers who host teacher candidates and offer a summer enrichment STEM camp opportunity to middle school students and mentor teachers in an effort to integrate disciplinary literacy strategies.
Disciplinary literacy refers to the shared ways of reading, writing, thinking and reasoning within academic fields.
Mercer has previously placed its pre-service teachers at elementary, middle and high schools throughout Bibb County. The focused partnership set forth in the L4GA grant will continue to provide training for teacher candidates and provide the school district with a recruitment method of retaining some of the best-trained future educators in Middle Georgia.
Additionally, the grant will allow Tift College of Education to continue to offer an Engineering Design Process STEM Camp during the summer exclusively for middle school students from Bibb County. The camp has previously been offered each of the past four summers to partner school districts with Mercer’s Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellows Program.
“Tift College of Education’s involvement with Bibb County on this grant builds and extends on our current work to improve disciplinary literacy by providing high-quality field experiences in a summer STEM camp for Mercer’s teacher candidates while at the same time providing outreach and educational opportunities to Bibb County middle school students,” said Dr. Sharon Murphy Augustine, associate professor, chair of teacher education and program director for Mercer’s Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellowships.
About the Tift College of Education
Mercer University’s Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University’s three Regional Academic Centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. The College offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Practitioner,” which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. education.mercer.edu