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March 19, 2015

SVSU program to improve literacy, writing education at regional K-12 schools

Teachers from three K-12 school districts this year will receive professional development from Saginaw Valley State University faculty in literacy and writing across the curriculum.

The news comes after SVSU secured a $220,000 Michigan Department of Education grant for the one-year program, which kicks off in August.

The professional development will benefit 30 to 35 educators in Standish-Sterling Community Schools, International Academy of Flint and Marlette Community Schools. That professional development will impact their teaching approach for underrepresented students in grades 5 to 12.

Deborah Smith, SVSU professor of teacher education, said the initiative will mirror a professional development project she oversaw five years ago. In 2009, the Michigan Department of Education provided SVSU with a $184,830 grant aimed at supporting teachers’ literacy integration and community building skills at SVSU-supported charter schools.

“This new project is built on what worked from that grant, so I am hopeful that it will go even better,” she said. “We plan to collaborate closely to be sure that we are responsive to the changing needs of the teachers involved,” Smith said.

Smith said Helen Raica-Klotz, SVSU's Writing Center director, and Paul Hernandez, an outside consultant for SVSU, will help her coordinate the project. Hernandez is chief academic officer of The Future Project, a national nonprofit organization focused on education.