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Bowser Administration Announces Nearly $13 Million in Subgrants to Support Literacy Work for DC Students

Tuesday, October 5, 2021
OSSE Released First Set of Literacy Grants to LEAs and CBOs, Along with the District’s Statewide Comprehensive Literacy Plan

Media Contact: Fred Lewis, [email protected]; (202) 412-2167

Today, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) announced the nine recipients of $12.9 million in subgrants over the next four years through the Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) grant. The District was awarded the federal grant in 2020 to develop and implement comprehensive, high-quality literacy programs within schools and child development facilities. More than 8,800 students will be impacted by the dissemination of CLSD subgrant funds.

OSSE also announced the release of the District of Columbia Statewide Comprehensive Literacy Plan (CLP) – a robust framework grounded in the science of reading and evidence-based practices. The plan also reflects robust engagement from educators and families. The CLP reflects the District’s commitment to and belief that all children, regardless of background, must become successful readers to thrive in life.

We are at a critical time in education as we work to support our school communities to recover from the pandemic. Our students, particularly those who are most vulnerable, have experienced significant learning loss, and it’s our thoughtful planning and strategic investments that will help close the achievement gap,” said Acting State Superintendent Christina Grant. “These grant awards and our Comprehensive Literacy Plan are foundational in strengthening our efforts to improve literacy across the city. It is essential that our students are provided with resources and quality instruction necessary to become lifelong, successful readers.”

The following schools and early childhood education programs received subgrant funding and will target literacy through a range of strategies such as literacy curriculum, staff, materials, applications, professional development and high-impact tutoring.


Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) Grant Subgrantees

School Type

School Name

Award Amount


Early Childhood Education

AppleTree Institute


Bright Beginnings


Martha’s Table



Grades K-5

Eagle Academy PCS


Meridian PCS


D.C. Preparatory Academy


Friendship PCS


Grades 6-12

Meridian PCS


Friendship PCS



The subgrant competition was open to all eligible local education agencies (LEAs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) that met the specific requirements of the CLSD authorizing legislation, including serving the highest need and most underserved children and students. Applicants for the CLSD subgrant competition were required to describe their approach to evidence-based literacy methods and instruction with the goal of improving teacher capacity and increasing student proficiency through the submission of a Local Literacy Plan (LLP). In Summer 2022, OSSE will launch an additional subgrant competition for LEAs serving students in grades 6-12 to provide approximately $2.3 million to support literacy initiatives.

The CLP envisions all learners from birth through grade 12 having access to high-quality literacy instruction. The Guiding Principles for Literacy are included in the plan to provide guidance on the implementation of inclusive instruction, assessment, multi-tiered supports and professional learning.

These grant funds will help support early language and literacy skills, increase the number of children reading on grade level in grade 3 through high school and improve literacy outcomes for disadvantaged and traditionally underserved children and students. In addition to investing in children and students across the District, OSSE will leverage its share of the funds to strengthen the educator workforce pipeline, develop a statewide literacy coaching program and enhance licensure requirements to increase all educators’ preparedness for literacy instruction.

“The DC Comprehensive Literacy Plan is the result of a collaborative process in which district and national stakeholders and leaders evaluated evidence-based research to design a plan that will support and strengthen literacy instruction throughout the District. By focusing on the science of reading, the CLP highlights the importance of understanding reading development as well as the instructional approaches and systems needed to support all learners,said Dr. Sarah Irvine Benson, professor at American University School of Education and executive director of the Institute for Innovation in Education, who contributed to the District of Columbia’s CLP. “The CLP can empower educators and leaders to create the structures to provide effective, equitable and high-quality learning experiences throughout their educational journey in the District.”

For more information, visit OSSE’s website.