Early Literacy grant to include support for influx of new immigrant families

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

Supt. Jennifer Meckley shared about a non-competitive $90 million grant (2023-25 biennium) the Lebanon Community School District is applying for, the Early Literacy Success School District grant, “to support comprehensive early literacy plans that are research-based and culturally responsive.”
The funds can be used for professional development, high-dosage tutoring, extended learning, and research-aligned curricula and assessment. Meckley noted the funds will include purchases of materials for English language learners.
“That’s one of our areas of growth, being able to support the needs of our English language learners as our demographics change,” she said.
Meckley shared that LCSD last year had 15 “newcomer” students, “meaning that they’re new to the United States, no English language.” Starting this year off, they had 47 with another 13 expected this month. She recalled hearing a statistic somewhere that in Oregon there were approximately 2,000 newcomers last year, and this year there were 5,000.
“It’s a new challenge for us,” she said. “We’re trying to adjust the best we can to meet the needs of our new families and students while also our students that have been here.”
Meckley also said she wanted to use the funding to pay for the new preschool the District wants to grow, but was denied the ability to use the grant funds for that purpose. She, however, will continue to advocate for that “because that’s one of the biggest answers for early literacy.”

In other business:

♦ The board reviewed a months-long evaluation process for Supt. Jennifer Meckley;

♦ COO William Lewis III provided brief updates for the Seven Oak class building construction project, Lacomb roof repair plan, and high school kitchen remodel plan;

♦ Business Director Steven Prososki provided an update on budget.