The Barrow County Board of Education was selected by the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) for the Leading Edge Award for the second year in a row. This year, BCSS received the recognition for Teaching and Learning in the Early Learning and Student Success category.
The nomination for the GSBA Leading Edge Award highlighted the innovative partnership with the Barrow Literacy Partnership and its focus on improving early literacy outcomes in our community.
We know that the path to literacy starts at a young age. Research shows that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out. While our district’s graduation rate has increased by 19 percentage points in the last 8 years, we began to see concerning trends in kindergarten readiness during that same time.
In the spring of 2021, BCSS was awarded the Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading (L4GA) grant from the Georgia Department of Education. As part of the L4GA initiative, our district developed specific literacy goals for young children. The first goal is focused on supporting literacy development of children aged birth to 5 years through community partnerships.
Barrow County is blessed to have a strong community supporting our schools and students, and we knew who to partner with to focus on early literacy.
Barrow Literacy Partnership
The Barrow Book Partnership started in 2016 as an attempt to close the inequality gap in literacy development by making books more accessible to Barrow County's low-income families. The organization is collaboratively led by the Piedmont Regional Library System and the Barrow County School System.
Thanks to the L4GA Grant, an already strong collaboration with the school system grew into the Barrow Literacy Partnership in the spring of 2022. Together, we pursue our common goals of promoting early literacy in birth to age 5 children, enhancing family engagement, and nurturing a love of reading.
During the 2021-2022 school year, four main projects were completed through the Barrow Literacy Partnership. The video below highlights the work.
In its first year, the Barrow Literacy Partnership made progress to unify organizations under a common goal of improving early literacy development for children 5 and under in Barrow County. In the coming three years, the BLP will continue to distribute more age-appropriate books to additional target populations across the county, while simultaneously educating families about the wealth of free resources, books, and programs in Barrow’s three public libraries. Now that’s Barrow BOLD.
About Leading Edge
The GSBA Leading Edge Award highlights school districts that are leading the way in ensuring students are competitive in an ever-changing global market. The Barrow County School Board was recognized during the Georgia School Boards Association Annual Conference on December 2, 2022.