BCSC gets funding for second summer reading academy

The Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. has received nearly $25,000 in grant funding to support its summer reading program for first- and second-grade students.

The $24,995 grant from Duke Energy was awarded to the district for its program offered through BCSC’s Summer Learning Academy.

The initial summer reading program was a success last year, said Casey Voelz, assistant principal at Taylorsville Elementary School, who was administrator of the Summer Learning Academy during its first summer.

The academy, which was held at Schmitt Elementary School last summer, is geared toward elementary students who may need assistance with reading and writing and who face learning barriers that could be tied to academics or language, Voelz said.

Participation in the program is voluntary, but prospective students are identified through teacher recommendations and district data, Voelz said.

The Duke funding is part of a competitive grant program through the Duke Energy Foundation, which allocates $200,000 across the state annually, company spokesman Chip Orben said.

BCSC received about $28,000 in grant funding for its 2015 summer reading program, Orben said.

Nearly 400 BCSC students participated last summer¬†in the summer reading program, which helps young elementary students perform better on the state’s IREAD-3 standardized test. The test is required for all Indiana third-graders and measures their reading comprehension, Voelz said.

Emphasis during the 10-day program last summer centered on fiction, non-fiction and writing. However, the district this summer plans to focus on STEM-based learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, Voelz said.

She said BCSC intends to invite 10 percent of elementary students from each school for the upcoming program, which takes place in June.

Voelz said she enjoys being able to see students become excited about learning and having teachers make connections with children who attend other schools within the district. In addition, she said students may simply need more time to develop skills in reading and writing.

“The main focus and priority is to have an opportunity to remove some of those learning barriers for kids to make them feel successful and to improve their success in a school setting,” she said.

The grant was accepted Feb. 27 during the BCSC school board meeting.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com