SNU Assists Local Elementary School in Securing Literacy Program Grant

Thanks to the help of two SNU students and a senior faculty member at Southern Nazarene University (SNU), a local elementary school has received funding needed to implement a new literacy program for their students. Through the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, faculty at Greenvale Elementary School hope to begin improving their students reading performance and literacy skills over the course of the next year. Books were purchased through a grant provided by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. 

Greenvale ElementaryGreenvale Elementary School is a large, public school in Oklahoma City area. The school’s mission is to provide quality education by establishing a culture of integrity, unity, and reflection. Greenvale serves approximately 255 Pre-K to fourth graders in the Western Heights school district. The student body is primarily composed of African-American, Hispanic, and Caucasian students living within Oklahoma City county. Most of the student body at Greenvale come from low-income homes, with 97% of the student body qualifying for free or reduced-fee lunches. 

Many of the students at Greenvale perform below state averages on reading and literacy-related testing. In 2015, approximately 60% of the student body received  reading remediation: a remediation rate much higher than both school district and state averages in 2015. To help target poor reading performance at Greenvale Elementary, SNU students Alina Scott and Sidney Ketchum in SNU’s Grantwriting for Non-Profits class proposed that funding should be sought to provide the school with resources to administer new programs centered around reading skills and literacy improvement. Through the work of Scott, Ketchum, and Dr. Gwen Ladd Hackler, SNU professor, Greenvale Elementary has received $2,000 from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to help their students reading performance. The funding received from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has been used in implement a new school program titled, Read to Succeed.

The purpose of the Read to Succeed program is to enable Greenvale Elementary students to improve their reading abilities and literacy. In November, the school hosted a Book Fair for 3rd and 4th grade elementary students. At the book fair, students were provided with a free book to take home, so they can continue to improve their reading skills outside of the classroom. English Language Learners (ELL) books were provided for students living in Hispanic households. Through the program, administrators at Greenvale hope to improve 3rd and 4th grade students’ reading scores by 10-15% over the course of the next school year. 

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation was established in 1993, in honor of Dollar General co-founder, J. L. Turner. The mission of the Foundation is to help individuals of all ages receive the educational foundation needed to access post-secondary educational opportunities and attain employment. Founded in 1993, the Foundation has awarded over $127 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and school throughout the United States. By providing funding to nonprofit organizations and schools, the foundation aids adults and youth struggling with literacy and education, ensures individuals are proficient in English and reading skills, and encourages greater high school graduation rates and GED attainment in the United States. 

Founded in 1899, Southern Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university located in Bethany, Oklahoma and serving students in Tulsa as well as other locations throughout the state. SNU offers courses for both traditional students and working adults, including multiple master’s degree programs. 

For more information about the Greenvale Elementary School Dollar General grant, contact Dr. Gwen Ladd Hackler, Director of the Academic Grants Office and Professor of English, at 405-491-6329, or e-mail ghackler@snu.edu. For more information on Southern Nazarene University, visit www.snu.edu or call 1-800-648-9899.