Leading Literacy and Advancing Learning in Clayton County

Members of the Class of 2030 in Clayton County

Ebony Lee, Clayton County Public Schools assistant superintendent, detailed a solution-oriented approach to ensuring more students receive a “master key” that unlocks potential and pathways to successful, productive lives. That key, she said, is literacy.

Clayton County has the fifth-largest school system in Georgia, with a highly diverse student body comprised of over 55,000 students who speak more than 70 different languages. There is a large transient population, with over 30 percent of students moving in and out of the district each year.

“Imagine what the world and the workforce will demand of our students who are currently in the class of 2030—and they’re trusting that we’re preparing them for the future,” said Lee. “The master key—literacy—opens doors of opportunity because our students will have the ability to be informed, to inform, and to make informed decisions.”

Lee said the carving of her master key started early. Her mother worked late nights for the prison system in Milledgeville, so her grandmother—equipped with Dick and Jane books, flashcards, and a children’s Bible—helped develop her early literacy skills. “Even though my grandmother wasn’t a reading teacher or linguist, she knew the urgency of making sure I could read,” said Lee.

Lee shared efforts that are part of Clayton County’s literacy improvement plan that aligns with the Get Georgia Reading Campaign’s four-pillar framework:

  1. Ensuring early access to high quality resources
  2. Building leader and teacher capacity to increase literacy
  3. Using data strategically for targeted instruction
  4. Engaging stakeholders
  5. Accelerating and advancing learning
  6. Ensuring students are ready for graduation

“Our efforts are to ensure more of our students receive early access to quality, positive learning experiences so we can obtain our vision to ensure all students are able to live and compete in a global society,” said Lee. “And if we truly mean all students, that takes a lot of concerted, collaborative work.”

Get the full recap of the Beyond 2020 Get Georgia Reading Summit that brought together a unique cross-section of community leaders and statewide decision-makers to stimulate innovative, scalable solutions that will create the conditions essential for all children to become proficient readers by the end of third grade.

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