McKnight Foundation Awards $3.1 Million to Increase Literacy by Third Grade

The Minneapolis-based McKnight Foundation has announced three grants totaling $3.1 million to support efforts to improve early literacy instruction and boost the percentage of successful early readers in the Twin Cities.

Saint Paul Public Schools will receive $2.98 million over three years to expand efforts at two schools to broaden and intensify its efforts to increase pre-K-3 literacy achievement by aligning literacy instruction, professional development, data collection, and analysis. SPPS will join an "implementation cohort" with Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center Community school districts, which received $3 million each in related McKnight grants in March.

In addition, two charter schools, the Academia Cesar Chavez, and the Community of Peace Academy, will each receive $62,000 for one year of planning to develop a comprehensive strategy for a pre-K-3 literacy initiative. The University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute will provide technical assistance and collaborative learning experiences.

"McKnight's funding now supports important work within both Twin Cities major public school districts, as well as broadening the effort to engage with charter schools," said UEI director Tim Knowles. "We've already seen notable improvements in Brooklyn Center, which received planning funding in 2011 and implementation funding earlier this year."