Kansas Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Initiative


Current plan for RFA release: February 5, 2018

Current plan for application due date: April 18, 2018

These dates are subject to change, depending on federal guidance and requirements.

Application Resources

 TitleModified DateSize 
Kansas Literacy Needs Assessment1/11/2018733.63 KBDownload
Kansas Literacy Needs Assessment Guide1/3/2018301.88 KBDownload

Webinars and Workshops

Informational Webinars

The Kansas Striving Readers Team is planning a series of webinars to help guide potential applicants through the Kansas Striving Readers application process. The webinars are scheduled to take place in the weeks immediately following the release of application materials. All sessions will be recorded so that participants may view them at a later time. Please use the links below to register for the webinars.


Date: Thursday, February 8, 2018

Topic: Overview of Application Materials

Registration Link:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/d19aa5a4996cb7a266858a512be5123a


Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Topic: Birth-Grade 12 Needs Assessment and Literacy Plan

Registration Link:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/317a682ff2e927a9dc2040ba88984b7b


Date: Thursday, February 15, 2018

Topic: Partnerships

Registration Link:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/33c8bf3fc31586f834538d7d4481ef37


Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Topic: Evidence-based curriculum and instruction

Registration Link:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/1a31adfabb0491904ac87b605f06faf5


Workshops for Kansas Striving Readers Grant-writing teams

The Kansas Striving Readers Team, in partnership with the State Regional Library Systems of Kansas, are hosting a series of in-person 1-day workshops designed to assist districts and consortia with completing their Striving Readers applications. Districts and consortia should plan to register 5-8 individuals to attend these events. For more information, click on the registration links below.

***Dates and Registration links coming soon!

Initial Press Release for Kansas Striving Readers - Note:Some initially-reported dates have changed - Monday, October 9, 2017

 Oct. 2, 2017


Kansas awarded $27 million grant

to advance literacy skills across state

Federal award one of largest competitive grants ever received by agency


TOPEKA — Kansas received a $27 million federal grant — one of the largest competitive grants ever received by the Kansas State Department of Education — to help create comprehensive literacy programs at schools across the state, the agency announced Monday.


The Kansas Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Initiative will be funded by the award from the U.S. Department of Education. The initiative will offer districts/consortia meeting specific criteria an opportunity to apply for funds from the grant. Districts have to serve at least 5,000 students in order to apply individually. Districts that serve fewer than 5,000 students may apply as part of a consortium.


“Students can’t be the best possible version of themselves without the ability to read and comprehend text, so I can’t stress enough the importance of this grant,” said Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson. “The timing of it and the fact that it’s one of the largest competitive grants KSDE has ever been awarded is really fitting. Kansas’ new vision for education isn’t just challenging schools to up their games, it’s challenging this agency to up its game, too. I think the grant demonstrates that we’re committed to the vision. We want to provide Kansas schools with the resources and supports they need so we can lead the world in the success of each student.”


Applications will be available by mid-October and are due by Dec. 29, said Dr. Suzy Myers, project director for the initiative and an education program consultant for KSDE. Eight districts or consortia will be selected from the applications and funded at a little over $1 million per year for three years, she said. The subgrantees will be notified in January 2018.


“This award means that schools can be better equipped to build a PreK-12 plan to address the literacy needs of their students and families,” Myers said. “The award makes it possible for literacy to be baked in – in very intentional and focused ways – to the Kansas State Board of Education’s goals for students to leave the PreK-12 system with the academic, cognitive, technical and employability skills necessary to be productive and engaged members of their communities.”


Literacy plays an important part in those areas, Myers said.


“It’s important for students to have high-quality, cohesive and evidence-based literacy experiences throughout their formative years that help them to interact with their environment in productive and meaningful ways,” she said.


The purpose of the U.S. Department of Education’s Striving Readers Compressive Literacy Program will be to advance literacy skills for students from birth through grade 12, including preliteracy skills and reading and writing, with a focus on English learners and students with disabilities, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s website.


KSDE applied for the literacy program grant in July with the assistance of the KU Center on Research and Learning. The center will receive a small portion of the award during the next three years as they support and advise KSDE during the initiative.


As one of 11 states selected for funding, KSDE is required to subgrant at least 95 percent of the funds to districts/consortia across Kansas. The subgrantees must serve children from economically-disadvantaged households, English learners and students with disabilities. KSDE will be able to subgrant more than 96 percent of the funds, Myers said.


The remaining funds will pay for a full-time education program consultant and administrative assistant at KSDE to administer the program at the state level, as well as an external evaluation team to monitor its progress and impact.


The Kansas State Literacy Team, a group comprised of literacy experts from across the state and nation, will help monitor the program, Myers said.


The other states that received grants are Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Maryland and New Mexico.


The U.S. Department of Education’s Striving Readers literacy program in 2011 awarded $178 million to six states — Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas, according to the department’s website. At $70 million, Texas received the largest award amount. These funds were made available to states over a five-year period. However, the grant that Kansas received will be distributed over a three-year period.

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