Saturday, 28 August 2021 13:11

UNCP School of Education selected as Literacy Innovation Leaders

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Dr. Gretchen Robinson, professor and chair of the Department of Inclusive Education Dr. Gretchen Robinson, professor and chair of the Department of Inclusive Education UNCP

PEMBROKE — The UNCP School of Education is among a select group of educator preparation programs in the UNC System chosen to serve as Literacy Innovation Leaders. 

The new literacy initiative was established to help North Carolina meet its goal to award two million North Carolinians a postsecondary degree or high-quality credential by 2030.  

This spring, the state Senate passed the Excellent Public Schools Act to improve childhood literacy by ensuring pre-K and elementary public-school educators are training in evidence-based reading instruction practice known as the ‘Science of Reading.’ 

UNCP has been awarded $200,000 over the next two years to support faculty and staff as they redesign curriculum, courses and field experiences in elementary and special education general curriculum programs in literacy to align with the Science of Reading.  

According to Dr. Gretchen Robinson, professor and chair of the Department of Inclusive Education, the overall goal is to increase reading achievement in the early grades statewide. 

“We are proud to be among one of the five universities to be chosen as Literacy Innovation Leaders and we look forward to being a model for the state, meeting the early literacy needs of the students in our local school districts, and collaborating with our P-12 partners,” Dr. Robinson said.  

“Our dean, Dr. Loury Floyd, is very supportive of this initiative. We will partner with specific districts in phase 1, including Columbus, Scotland and Whiteville City Schools.” 

Other school districts will join during the second phase. 

The funds were secured through a donation from the Goodnight Education Foundation and the C.D. Spangler Foundation to support an inaugural cohort of educator preparation programs in this effort. Funds will provide professional development in Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) for faculty, teacher and principal candidates. Faculty and educator candidates selected to participate in the training cycle will receive a stipend. 

UNCP was among five universities selected to participate in the Literacy Innovation Leaders initiative. The others are UNC Charlotte, N.C. A&T State, Appalachian State and Fayetteville State. Dr. Robinson leads the UNCP Literacy Innovation Leaders project along with Dr. Kayonna Pitchford, Dr. Heather Sellers, Dr. Amy Van Buren and LaMorris Smith.