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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: March 17, 2003
Volume 38, Number 16

COE family center awarded $2.3 million

UNM’s Center for Family and Community Partnerships in the College of Education has been awarded a $2.3 million grant from the United States Department of Education to strengthen literacy efforts in early childhood education.

The project is one of 30 funded across the nation as part of the Bush administration initiative “No Child Left Behind.” The grant will be used to implement Project LEER, an Early Reading First (ERF) program. LEER — Spanish for “to read” - is an acronym for Learners Eager for Early Reading.

“The goal is to transform existing early education programs into centers of excellence that provide high-quality, early education to young children, especially those from low-income families,” said Polly Turner, Ph.D., Center for Family and Community Partnerships director. “The overall purpose is to prepare young children to enter kindergarten with the necessary language, cognitive and early reading skills to prevent reading difficulties and ensure school success.”

Project LEER was developed by Turner, Carol Westby, Ph.D., senior research scientist, and Mary Dudley, Ph.D., director of the UNM Family Development Program.

Partnering in the effort is the Albuquerque Public School’s Even Start and Child Find programs for three and four-year-olds; childcare/preschool classrooms under the auspices of the City of Albuquerque, and Baby Amigo, a home visiting project of the UNM Family Development Program directed by Judy Madewell.

Funding will be used for materials, curricula, teacher professional development and assessment. New Mexico standards of performance and benchmarks will be used.

Teachers and their assistants, home visitors and literacy mentors will participate in intensive summer institutes this year and in 2004 led by national experts on early literacy from Rutgers University. In addition, teaching staff will take part in monthly professional development and be supported by mentors, both onsite.

Teachers will learn how to administer ongoing assessments.