Hayden Valley Elementary School leaders are counting on state grant money to help some students become better readers.
The school has been awarded a Read to Achieve grant. The money is to go toward programs that improve the reading ability of second- and third-grade students who are reading below their grade level as well as Spanish-speaking students.
"It will not be a cure," said Michael Luppes, the school's principal. "But we hope it will be a help for our readers who struggle."
For 18 months, the school will receive about $37,000 for programs and teacher training. Luppes is hoping additional funding, totaling $42,000, will continue for two more years.
With the grant money, Luppes plans on helping second- and third-grade students with a wide range of programs that include a tutoring program, an English language learner instructor, a student mentoring program and a reading academy.
"These programs are what we believe we can do to get students who are struggling back at grade level," Luppes said.
The grant money also will provide funding for teachers to receive additional training they can utilize in the classroom.
Luppes is planning to pay teachers $20 per hour for three hours of tutoring a week.
That program is to last for 36 weeks during the school year.
The grant also will fund an eight-week summer tutoring program.
Under that effort, tutors will be available for two hours three days a week this summer.
"Hopefully, the money will give the teachers an incentive to give that extra help," he said.
The grant also will fund an English language instructor. Luppes has earmarked about $5,000 for salary, benefits and materials for the instructor.
"Our numbers are not as high as they have been," Luppes said of Spanish-speaking students. "We want to communicate better with the students and parents. We are working on translating all of our documents into Spanish, so parents have a better understanding of what the school expects."
Luppes also plans to utilize fifth-grade students who excel at reading to help out younger students through a mentoring program.
"Before school, we would have three to five fifth-grade students available to read over a younger student's reading assignment," he said.
An in-school "reading academy" will be offered three times a week for six weeks for students who need extra attention, he said.
"This will be one-on-one help," Luppes said.
Luppes has budgeted the remainder of the grant, about $18,000, for teacher training.
"There is a lot of training teachers can get, so they can use these teaching techniques in their teaching," he said.
Programs Luppes has identified that he would like teachers to attend are multi-sensory and accelerated reading training.
Luppes applied for the grant last fall when Gov. Bill Owens made the money available.
With the help of Lynne Myers, the Steamboat Springs School District grant writer, the district submitted an application.
"All of these programs are what we have wanted to do," Luppes said. "This grant allows us to do these programs and offer our teachers specialized training. We are very pleased this grant became available."
To receive funding for a second and third year, the school must prove to the state it is utilizing the grant to help struggling readers. Luppes doesn't expect that to be a problem.
"We should receive funding for the second and third years," he said.
For the second and third years, Luppes is requesting about $21,000 for each year to keep the programs going.
"The first year we received a decent amount of money for teacher training," Luppes said.