School Districts Benefit from Mobilizing Literacy Launch

June 29, 2016

Students from preschool to third grade in 11 Kansas school districts will benefit from the new Mobilizing Literacy program at Emporia State University.

The program, created by The Teachers College with a grant from the Walter S. and Evan C. Jones Testamentary Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, focuses on children from birth through age 8 living in Coffey, Lyon and Osage counties. As part of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Mobilizing Literacy funds programs that align with three pillars — school readiness, summer/extended learning and school attendance.

The Jones Trust is granting $2 million over five years to Mobilizing Literacy. The trust was created more than 60 years ago after brothers Walter and Evan died in 1953 and Walter’s widow, Olive, died in 1957. The trio’s intent was to provide assistance for medical expenses for children under 21 who lived in the three counties. The scope later expanded to educational benefits.

Every public school district in the three counties submitted programs for funding, said Steve Ternes, acting executive director of Mobilizing Literacy in Kansas. Seven of the programs fall under school readiness:

  • Burlingame, USD 454, and Santa Fe Trail, USD 434, which combined resources to provide preschool services to children in their communities age 3 and 4;
  • Lyndon, USD 421, to support existing preschool services;
  • Melvern, USD 456, to provide summer school for children in kindergarten through third grade during July;
  • North Lyon County, USD 251, to expand community preschool services and engage in county-wide collaboration;
  • Southern Lyon County, USD 252, to support community preschool services and engage in county-wide collaboration;
  • Emporia, USD 253, to expand community preschool services and engage in county-wide collaboration;
  • Southern Coffey County, USD 245, to support existing community programs for kindergarten through third grade; and
  • Burlington, USD 244, to expand community preschool services.

Two programs fall under summer learning — Osage City, USD 420, to provide summer school for kindergarten through third grade during June and the program in Melvern noted above.

Lebo/Waverly, USD 243, is receiving funds for extended learning to create an academic after-school programs for kindergarten through third grade.

“Mobilizing Literacy is truly a grassroots program with a clear, important, and arduous goal, having all third graders reading at grade level,” said Ken Weaver, dean of The Teachers College.  “The belief that the Jones Trust has demonstrated by funding this project and the collective efforts of school districts, community leaders, consultants, evaluators and Emporia State University are essential to changing lives for the common good.”

Administrators from the school districts and Emporia State University and representatives of the Jones Trust celebrated the launch of Mobilizing Literacy during a bell-ringing program on Wednesday at Emporia State University.

“Emporia State University and The Teachers College are proud to partner with the school districts and community leaders to increase student success through early-intervention literacy programs,” said Allison Garrett, president of Emporia State University.

About Now & Forever

In 2012, Now & Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University, set out with a working goal of raising $45 million dollars through the most comprehensive campaign in university history. Determined to build spirit, camaraderie and a sense of pride of membership in our Hornet Nation, we sought a signature way to share our victories. By ringing Silent Joe during each celebration, we are announcing to the world that the Hornet Nation is Silent No More. 


For information about how you can be a part of Now & Forever, the Campaign for Emporia State University, please contact campaign manager Carol Cooper at 620-341-6463.


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