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Fresno County Schools Office Nabs $15M Fed Grant to Improve Student Reading and Writing
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 5 months ago on
December 7, 2023

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The Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools was awarded a $14,9997,254 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to be the lead agency on a project to better prepare high schoolers for college and career by improving their reading and writing skills.

The multi-state project will develop curriculum for students in grades 9 and 10 and professional development for teachers in grades 6-12 in California, Washington, New Mexico, and Hawaii.

The five-year project will begin Jan. 1 and will be administered by the FCSS Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum Department. The goal is to close a “critical articulation gap” in grades 9-12 by developing new curriculum.

The project’s organizers believe that students who are assigned the new curriculum will score higher on standardized testing and increase their academic motivation by at least 10%.

Evaluating Success

In addition to developing a curriculum for students and teacher training, the “Reading and Writing for College and Career Success: Expanding the Reach of the Expository Reading and Writing Curriculum” project will include research to evaluate success and cost-effectiveness.

“Reading and writing are essential skills for our students to have in their tool kits for success,” county Schools Superintendent Dr. Michele Cantwell-Copher said in a news release Wednesday.

“Our office has a track record of investing in this work, which is why the federal government trusts us with this tremendous grant which will scale our work beyond Fresno County. We are deliberate in seeking the resources that are focused on helping meet the needs of all students, especially those who need us the most.”

Dr. Lisa Benham Lewis was not immediately available Wednesday afternoon to provide more information on the “critical articulation gap” that is preventing students from being more proficient in expository reading and writing.

Through expository writing, students learn to organize and present material clearly and concisely.

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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