State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond selected two county offices of education, Tulare and Riverside, to be a part of an early literacy initiative.

Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) was chosen due to current literacy efforts, paired with unmet needs that can be met under this new partnership. Additionally, working with the California Department of Education (CDE) allows partners to implement strong early learning efforts, work with established biliteracy programs, and provide pathways to increase student access to books in their home language. There is also great potential for customized efforts to specific underserved populations such as English learners, native tribe populations, homeless youth, and foster youth student groups.

Literacy Initiative Aimed at Student Success

A Shadow Hills High School student athlete reads at Richard Oliphant Elementary.

Desert Sands Unified School District is excited to partner with the California Department of Education and Riverside County Office of Education on such an urgent and important issue – increasing our students’ reading abilities. RCOE Superintendent Judy D. White, Ed.D. commented, “The achievement gap between white students and students of color is present before they even begin kindergarten. It is critical that all students are proficient readers, that we encourage and support a love of reading, and ultimately help to improve the literacy rates for all students in Riverside County.”

On October 8, RCOE held a literacy launch event to highlight the Riverside County initiative, Readership. The slogan for the RCOE campaign is Read to me. Any Age. Any Stage. Seven  districts are participating along with DSUSD in the literacy grant effort.

Felicia Cruz-Delgado, Ed.D., director of leadership, innovation, and outreach, is coordinating the effort for the Riverside County Office of Education. “This wonderful opportunity with the California Department of Education will enhance our focus on engaging families and communities to increase literacy and opportunities for all students,” she said.

The program is part of the statewide plan to improve literacy. This campaign will seek to place books in the hands of students, resources for teachers to help support the efforts, and family and community engagement to reinforce the love of reading for all ages. Superintendent Thurmond said, “We can’t do this alone, but with the right partners, we can make some serious strides in a positive direction when it comes to our state’s literacy rates.”

Desert Sands Unified School District is a leader in student literacy programs working with the United Way’s Raising a Reader Campaign, the Rotary of Palm Desert’s dictionary and thesaurus give-away program, and the nationwide Read Across America week that celebrates the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Details on the implementation of Readership and Read to Me. Any Age. Any Stage. will be shared in the near future.

Photo caption above: The superintendents from Riverside County school districts participating in the initiative. DSUSD Superintendent Scott Bailey is fifth from left.

Image Sources

  • Shadow Hills High School athletes: DSUSD
  • Riverside County Office of Education: DSUSD