1998 Regular Session
To: Education; Appropriations
By: Senator(s) Hawks
Senate Bill 3063
AN ACT TO CREATE THE MISSISSIPPI EXCELLENT READING GRANT PROGRAM TO BE ADMINISTERED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO HELP PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS EXCEL IN READING; TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT TO ESTABLISH GRANTS UNDER THE EXCELLENT READING PROGRAM FOR SCHOOLS INSTITUTING A READING PROGRAM USING METHODOLOGY RECOMMENDED BY THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CHILD HEALTH AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, SCHOOLS USING READING PROGRAMS BASED ON RELIABLE, REPLICABLE RESEARCH AND THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE INSTITUTE, AND SCHOOLS PARTICIPATING IN THE PROGRAM WHICH DEMONSTRATE IMPROVEMENTS IN THEIR FOURTH GRADE READING SCORES; TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT TO APPLY FOR FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE EXCELLENT READING GRANTS; TO REQUIRE THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO DEVELOP A GRANT PROGRAM FOR EDUCATOR PREPARATION PROGRAMS TEACHING EARLY EDUCATION METHODS BASED ON RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE INSTITUTE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) There is created the Mississippi Excellent Reading Grant Program to be administered by the State Department of Education for the purpose of helping students in the public schools in Mississippi to excel in reading. Under the program, the department shall establish grants using federal funding and any other available funds to be awarded to public schools in order to encourage, aid and reward schools in teaching reading to children in kindergarten and Grades 1-3.
(2) In order to assist elementary schools in instituting a reading program for their students using methodology recommended by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the State Department of Education shall establish an incentive start-up grant under the Excellent Reading Program.
The incentive start-up grant shall be available to those schools implementing one or more of the following programs of research-based reading instruction in Kindergarten and Grades 1-3 consisting of:
(a) Direct systematic intensive instruction in phonemic awareness;
(b) Direct systematic, intensive, explicit instruction in sound-symbol relationships (phonics);
(c) Ample practice in decodable vocabulary-controlled texts (texts in which ninety-five percent (95%) of the words are decodable using previously taught sound-symbol association and word attack skills);
(d) Direct systematic intensive instruction in the morphologic structure of English;
(e) Direct systematic intensive instruction in word attack skills;
(f) Direct systematic intensive instruction in spelling;
(g) Direct systematic intensive instruction in vocabulary development; and
(h) Direct systematic intensive instruction in grammar, punctuation and capitalization.
In addition to defraying the cost of implementing one or more of the programs of research-based reading instruction, the incentive start-up grant may be used to provide: training to teachers in the methodology of teaching reading using reliable, replicable research; additional assistance to students who are not reading ready and mature at the end of kindergarten; programs designed to assist parents in becoming their child's first and most important teacher; and additional assistance to students in Grades 1-3 who are experiencing difficulty in reading.
Incentive start-up grants shall be awarded to schools based on the school's average daily attendance. The minimum amount of such grants shall be Sixty-five Dollars ($65.00) per student in average daily attendance. However, if insufficient funds are available to award grants to all schools applying for the incentive start-up grant, the department shall pro rate the grants to those schools determined to be eligible by the department.
(3) Beginning in the 1999-2000 school year, the State Department of Education shall award grants under the Excellent Reading Program to elementary schools that are using, in their entirety, reading programs based on reliable, replicable research and the recommendations of NICHD, including Kindergarten-level phonemic awareness screening and reading readiness courses. The amount of such grants shall be no less than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) per school. However, if insufficient funds are available to award grants under this subsection to all eligible schools, the department shall pro rate the grants to those schools determined to be eligible by the department.
(4) Beginning in the 2000-2001 school year, the State Department of Education shall award additional grants to those schools participating in the Excellent Reading Program which demonstrate annual incremental improvements in their fourth grade reading scores, measured against such test scores for the 1997-1998 school year.
(5) The State Department of Education annually shall apply for any available federal funds, including funds under GOALS 2000, which may be used to provide grants under the Mississippi Excellent Reading Grant Program.
(6) The State Board of Education shall promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the proper administration of the Mississippi Excellent Reading Grant Program.
SECTION 2. The State Board of Education, acting through the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development, shall establish a grant program under which educator preparation programs in the state which teach early education reading methods based on recommendations of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) as provided in Section 1(2) are awarded financial grants. The board shall promulgate rules and regulations for the administration of such grants, including criteria that educator preparation programs must satisfy in order to be eligible for such grants. Grants awarded under this section shall be made exclusively from federal funding made available to states for the purpose of improving reading. The board annually shall apply for any available federal funds which may be used to provide grants under this section.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.