By David Carroll

PIKEVILLE, TN (WRCB)-Bledsoe County Schools have received federal grant money of almost $400,000 in literacy supplies for its schools.  Director of Schools Phil Kiper said, "My grant writing partner, Janis Kyser, told me about the grant.  The two lead people in my office who took charge of the proposal were Kristy Shockley, supervisor of curriculum, and Farrah Fields, supervisor of instruction.  They are very deserving of praise.  These young ladies are both outstanding young educators who went the extra mile to work on this project.  The odds were against them, but they didn't give up."

The district was able to purchase thousands of library books, educational DVDs and ten laptops, as well as 116 IPads. 

Bledsoe was one of only two counties chosen for the grant this year.  Librarians, teachers and students have praised the results of this grant program, and are enjoying the benefits each day.  As one librarian put it, "I usually only get a thousand dollars a year for my library.  This is tremendous for our school and our county."


Name of Applicant: Bledsoe County Schools
Amount Recommended: $399,165
Number of Students Served: 1,950
State: TN

Bledsoe County Schools, located in rural Appalachia, is a geographically isolated underserved community with extremely high poverty rates, low educational levels, and a high number of students who do not meet standards on State testing. Seven schools will be served, providing state of the art library services to 1,950 students.

Reading Opportunity Program Enhancing Students (ROPES) Goals are:

Goal 1: To improve student reading skills and academic achievement through librarian and teacher collaboration.

Goal 2: To provide schools with a we!!-equipped, technologically advanced library media center.

Goal 3: To increase accesst o up-to-date library materials.

Goal 4: To train participating teachers and library technicians to meet student literacy needs.

Goal 5: To provide highly qualified and trained staff to implement sustainable literacy instruction.

Ropes will improve library holdings with collections of curriculum aligned, research-based, print, audio, video, technological, and digital resources, provide access to resource-sharing networks, facilitate internet linkages, provide directed and sustained professional development for library staff and Pre-K-3 teachers, extend library hours beyond the traditional school day, and integrate library services and staff with in-school and after-school initiatives and opportunities.

The result ofthese initiatives will be improved literacy skills, brought about by increased use of library media center materials, increased number of collaborative classroom projects, improved research methods and critical thinking skills, a highly trained professional staff that are effective literacy instructors, and increased access to these inter-related resources.