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Foundation for Rural Education Excellence
Supporting Academic Achievement in
Rural Northeast Florida Communities
May 2023 Newsletter
The Foundation for Rural Education Excellence, a registered 501 (C)(3) organization, was founded in 1998 to facilitate philanthropic support for rural school districts of the North East Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC): Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Nassau, Putnam, Suwannee, and Union Counties as well as Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and PK Yonge Developmental Research School. Working collaboratively, our mission is to enhance academic success and career opportunities for rural students in northeast Florida.
Dollar General Steps Up For Literacy Again
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded FREE a $50,000 grant to support morphology word work through the upcoming summer literacy institute and subsequent regional professional learning community meetings during the 2023-2024 school year.

Over 200 educators from seven districts will participate in four days of literacy professional learning that will result in higher rates of reading proficiency for students. Approximately 150 participants will be classroom educators with an average of 20 students each for an impact on at least 3000 students.

Morphology word work will be included as an in-depth approach to improving reading for low-performing students. Schools complete an application process that encourages teams of teachers from multiple grade levels (K-5), including an administrator and instructional coach who will monitor and optimize implementation during the school year. During the 4-day summer institute, teachers will improve their knowledge and skills in all strands of Florida's B.E.S.T Standards (Foundations, Reading, Communication, and Vocabulary).

In an effort to support classrooms in 2023-24, additional morphology resources will be placed into K-5 classrooms. Because morphological awareness is a predictor of reading and writing skills, teachers need resources that can provide quick, but explicit instruction. Integration of these materials in daily instruction will provide students with multiple opportunities to identify and use base words and affixes to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. Applying knowledge of Greek and Latin roots in grades 3-5 will assist students in connecting parts of speech and meanings of multisyllabic words.

This grant will provide teachers with materials for daily classroom use. Throughout the 2023-24 school year, teachers will participate in regional learning communities facilitated by NEFEC to continue building lessons using morphology as a vehicle for improving literacy outcomes for all students. 

Thank you!
Rural Connect Regional Showcase
As a culmination of Rural Connect events for 2022-2023, a regional showcase was hosted by NEFEC on April 26th.

Educators from participating districts shared the impact of Rural Connect on their classrooms and schools in a virtual setting. Topics included morphology, teaching reluctant readers, building background knowledge, reaching content areas, significant sentences, and instructional strategies. Presenters provided fifteen-minute overviews with an opportunity for questions.

All NEFEC educators were invited to attend. The afternoon proved to be invigorating for all who attended. Educators will continue to have future opportunities to participate in professional learning communities in the upcoming school year.
Highlights From Rural Connect Coaches
The Rural Connect coaches collaborated to discover ways to support the Rural Connect teachers in implementing best practices for literacy and building collective efficacy in their schools.

Discussion topics included: understanding organizational routines, providing effective feedback, conducting walkthroughs, and facilitating data chats.

The leadership demonstrated by the Rural Connect Coaches strengthened the professional learning and the positive effects across the 6-8 classrooms. Nice job coaches!
Mark Your Calendars
Summer Leadership Conference

NEFEC's Annual Summer Leadership Conference is scheduled for July 10-11, 2023, at the Sawgrass Marriott in
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
26th Annual Golf Tournament

FREE's annual golf tournament is scheduled for March 22, 2024, at The Palatka Golf Club.

Foundation for Rural Education Excellence
(352) 317-0621

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