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Literacy Initiative Focused on Effectiveness (LIFE)

NiswongerCAREIn February 2016 the Niswonger Foundation and Greene County Schools joined in partnership to increase third grade literacy. In the Fall of 2017, through the generous support of grants from the Wall Mart Foundation and the Annenberg Fund for Schools, the program was expanded to include Hancock County Elementary School, in Sneedville.

The pilot program served as a “laboratory” for developing best practices and the most effective program design, specifically focusing on the needs of rural schools. Fundamental to both of these efforts is the belief that literacy is the single most important factor for ensuring that children have an opportunity for a successful future.

The partnership responsibilities centered around assisting the teacher, student learning, and sharing information. Through this process, they are learning what works and what doesn’t. Professional development, expert consultation, classroom technology, and instructional materials have been provided by the Niswonger Foundation.

The three-year K-2 literacy initiative is designed to improve the foundational skills necessary for reading mastery. The program staff and teachers identify the “best practices” in early literacy teaching methods. The initiative also provides teachers with the support they need to ensure engaging and effective instruction. Through a data driven, personalized and highly supportive process, the end goal is to dramatically improve third grade literacy scores with a program that can be adaptable to other K-2 classrooms.

The methods used in the program include: Scheduling, Data Review, Teacher Collaboration, Instructional Assistants, Parent/Community Involvement and Replicability. It is hoped that the knowledge gained from using these methods can be shared with other schools in the region.

The Greene County Schools LIFE program ended in June 2019. They are currently gathering and computing data to assess the success of the three-year program. The Hancock County School program will continue for one more year.

Meet the LIFE Staff

Larry Neas

Larry Neas

Project Coordinator

Sara Holt

Sara Holt

Literacy Specialist
Hancock County