Diamond and Neosho School Districts secure funds for literacy program

DIAMOND, Mo. – As a longtime educator, Cindy Sprague says she knows the importance of literacy as the building blocks for education. That’s why she’s excited about the Comprehensive Literacy State Development Program.

“I started Diamond 16 years ago as a third grade classroom teacher and when we began we were doing the Missouri Reading Initiative, MRI, and since then we’ve kinda gotten away from it and have gone into other curriculums, but with this I think we’ll get back on focus where we wanna go and will be best for our students,” said Sprague.

“The purpose of this grant is to train educators, and not only teachers, but pulling administrative level personnel into this training as well because there needs to be that administrative support for these schools and for these students,” explained Lisa Scroggs with the Missouri Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The federal grant was awarded to 11 states. Missouri secured $18 million and that money is being divided up to promote literacy across different geographic regions including rural communities like Diamond and Neosho.

“40% of that has to go toward elementary, 40% secondary, 15% goes toward early learning and the remaining 5% goes towards administrative costs here at the Missouri Dept. of Education,” said Scroggs.

Both Sprague and Scroggs say literacy training goes a long way towards a student’s success throughout their learning journey.

“We have been lucky and fortunate enough to receive the grant in all three buildings so this will allow us to have a literacy plan, create a literacy program through K-12 all the way through for us,” said Sprague.

Neosho has earned the grant for secondary services.

The goal for both Neosho and Diamond Schools is to prevent students from falling behind in subjects due to a lack of literacy skills.