The Georgia Department of Education is awarding a total of $241,900 to rural school districts to help them expand access to summer literacy programs.

Nineteen rural districts are receiving the summer literacy grants, which can be used to create, develop, and implement summer learning initiatives that support literacy education and improve student outcomes in English Language Arts and literacy during the summer months.

For example, districts may choose to increase or extend their media center's summer hours; provide books and resources to families; offer parent engagement workshops on literacy skills; or link summer book clubs or contests to their summer nutrition programs.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, awarded districts have the flexibility to use their funds for activities this summer or during summer 2021.

“Providing opportunities for continued reading and literacy learning during the summer months is essential," Superintendent Woods said. “These funds will help school districts reach their students where they are and provide ways to keep reading and learning all summer long."

The grants are part of GaDOE's broader Partnership for Rural Growth initiative, which seeks to expand the resources available to public school districts in rural Georgia.

All eligible school districts were given the opportunity to apply for the summer literacy funding. For the purposes of the grant, a rural school district is any district currently eligible for funding under the federal Rural Education Achievement Program.