The U.S. Secretary of Education was in Des Moines today to announce the city’s school system would be just one of 31 in the nation to receive a grant to help kids learn how to read. U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings made the announcement at the George Washington Carver Community School on the north side of Des Moines.
“I’m here to present this great big check for $4.3 million,” Spellings told students and teachers, who cheered and applauded. The “Early Reading First” grants are aimed at schools in low-income neighborhoods. The Des Moines district will use some of the money to enroll pre-school teachers in courses that focus on how best to get preschoolers reading.
The Des Moines School District has been getting federal “Early Reading First” grants since 2006 and so far 300 kids have been involved. Des Moines Superintendent Nancy Sebring says another 400 children should be helped with this latest grant.
“Poverty disrupts the opportunity to learn,” Sebring says, “and so what this will help us do is to put programs in place that support children, that support families and parents.”
During her visit, the education secretary read to a class of preschoolers. She read the book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” which teaches kids about the days of the week and counting, plus a little about nutrition and science.