In April 2021, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation requiring college and university Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) to provide coursework in the Science of Reading, recognizing that reading and comprehension are keys to student achievement. In December the Goodnight Educational Foundation awarded North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) $1 million over two years to support the implementation of this initiative – $500,000 in the first year and another $500,000 in the second year. NCICU is the statewide office representing 36 private, nonprofit colleges and universities, 31 of which have EPPs.
To implement this important curriculum, NCICU established a task force made up of representatives from nine colleges and chaired by Dr. Monica Campbell of Lenoir-Rhyne University and Dr. Mary Knight-McKenna of Elon University. The Task Force has been meeting monthly developing strategies to strengthen preparation in the science of reading, including holding a two-day Summer Faculty Institute in June.
NCICU recently disbursed a total of $248,000 in subgrants to the 31 EPPs to support the work of the faculty in each individual program. The work will include enhancing, redesigning, and developing effective literacy coursework, practica, and internships based on the Science of Reading.
Participating EPPs are at the following colleges: Barton College, Belmont-Abbey College, Bennett College, Brevard College, Campbell University, Catawba College, Chowan University, Duke University, Elon University, Gardner-Webb University, Greensboro College, Guilford College, High Point University, Lees McRae College, Lenoir Rhyne University, Livingstone College, Mars Hill University, Meredith College, Methodist University, Montreat College, Mount Olive University, NC Wesleyan University, Pfeiffer University, Queens University of Charlotte, Salem College, Shaw University, St. Andrews University, Saint Augustine’s University, Wake Forest University, William Peace University, and Wingate University
Each of NCICU’s 31 EPPs received $8,000 in grant funds following an application and review process. Subgrant funds are being used for faculty stipends, external reviewer costs, curricular revision, relevant teaching and learning materials, student evaluation, and other professional development supports. EPPs are also using their subgrant funds to support their local communities to use the Science of Reading when teaching young children. EPP faculty are offering virtual, onsite, and mobile tutoring programs and professional development sessions open to the public.
“Reading is the core concept and foundation for success in all levels of education,” said NCICU President Hope Williams, “We deeply appreciate the grant from the Goodnight Educational Foundation to support this critical work.”
Pending continued funding from the Goodnight Educational Foundation, each of the 31 EPPs will receive an additional $7,600 in 2023 to fully implement their projects.
EPPs will present the outcomes of their projects during the 2023 Summer Faculty Institute and will also submit a final report to NCICU in September 2023.
NCICU’s Science of Reading project managers are Denise Adams and Pasts Pierce.