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Teacher Wins $100K Literacy Grant

Emma Kerr
Frederick News-Post

Jill M. Barnes, who is earning a certificate of advanced study in reading at the Mount, has been selected as the winner of a $100,000 literacy grant.

Frederick County will soon have its first mobile literacy clinic thanks to a grant awarded Tuesday.

barnes1.jpgThe proposal submitted by Jill Barnes, reading specialist at Valley Elementary School in Jefferson, was selected as the winner of the Dream Big Challenge, one of a series of $100,000 grants for teachers. The Farmers Insurance Thank America’s Teachers project also included $2,500 grants, totaling more than $1 million for teachers’ ideas.

“I couldn’t be happier or more proud and thankful for all the enthusiasm and dedication that made this a reality,” Superintendent Terry Alban said in a press release. “Our students are the real winners, supported by excellent employees, caring families and an engaged community.”

The funds given to Frederick County will go toward the purchase of a vehicle, such as an RV, to be used by literacy specialists and other teachers in the summer months. Teachers will visit different communities, meet with students and provide them with books and instruction to keep up with their reading skills wherever they are.

Barnes said in an interview in October this will be particularly helpful in combating the decline in reading skills and abilities over the summer, when students may not have books at home or be continuing to practice the strategies they learn in school.

The idea helps overcome another challenge some students face, Barnes said. Families who may not be engaged with their child’s schooling or comfortable in the school environment will receive the instruction and help the student needs from the comfort of their own neighborhood or other community places.

Barnes said she hopes to expand the clinic to include not just the Valley Elementary area, but students throughout the county.


Photo by Bill Green, Frederick News-Post

Emma Kerr
Frederick News-Post