Dr. Grant Rivera and Dr. Morcease J. Beasley represent the GSSA and are applying the Get Georgia Reading framework in their role as superintendent while also helping the Campaign reach other leaders and communities. Find out more about their commitment to Get Georgia Reading.

“I am motivated by the simple glimpse of watching the lightbulb that comes on in a child’s mind as they realize the power of reading. It is that moment when our children become empowered to reach new levels as they transition from learning to read toward reading to learn. I am honored to be a part of the great work of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign because it is an opportunity for me to encourage and promote literacy not only for students in my district, but also for students statewide.”

Dr. Grant Rivera, Superintendent of Marietta City Schools

A critical priority for Marietta City Schools is to foster early learning with a focus on literacy, beginning with pre-K instruction and continuing throughout students’ years of enrollment with the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center, a program that addresses the non-academic needs of high-school students so they can focus on learning and, specifically, reading.

The district has invested in an Early Learning initiative that is focused on developing community relationships, offering parent trainings, partnering with instructional experts in the area of early learning, and implementing a systematic phonics instruction at K-2. The district is building a pipeline for high-quality early learning educators through its paid student-teacher internship program, offering a pathway for high-school students to prepare to become preschool teachers.

Marietta City Schools recognizes that children must have access to nutrition food and educational supports as they focus on learning to read. The district offers free breakfast as well as free and reduced lunch. The district also stocks food pantries for families at two schools and is piloting a free dinner program at Park Street Elementary.

The district bolsters the Campaign’s positive learning climate pillar through efforts to support student engagement and success. Marietta applies Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as a framework to ensure children feel safe, welcome, and supported in school. The district also partners with the Marcus Autism Center in training educators in Social-Emotional Engagement-Knowledge and Skills (SEE-KS), building their capacity to employ instructional practices that keep all students engaged.

“Reading is truly the key that unlocks children’s opportunity to experience everything our global society has to offer. I find it a privilege to be part of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign and all it represents. In Clayton County Public Schools, we promote reading from cradle to graduation and beyond, and what we are learning from the Campaign is enhancing our outreach to students’ families and extended relatives, our community stakeholders, and the people of our state.”

Dr. Morcease J. Beasley, Superintendent/CEO, Clayton County Public Schools 

Clayton County Public Schools (CCPS) understands that literacy lies at the heart of student achievement and prepares children for the global community that awaits. CCPS focuses on literacy for all students, pre-K through grade 12, across all curricula. The goal: get Georgia reading.

The Early Learning Department leads the Babies, Books, and Beyond initiative, a community-based literacy program that acquaints parents of young children with the important role they play in their child’s development. The Books for Babies kit, offered in both English and Spanish, includes a board book, baby’s first library card/application, and reading tips.

The Department of Elementary English Language Arts’ (ELA) 20 Minutes A Day Reading Initiative hosts Literacy Expos across the county to build awareness and encourage parents to read to children for 20 minutes each day. The department recognizes that learning occurs at any time and in any place. Through a partnership with Scholastic, the Books on the Bus pilot program transforms the bus into an extension of the classroom, providing students with engaging books.

The Office of Secondary ELA emphasizes academic discussions in instructional routines. Teachers build students’ capacity to use academic and formal language when communicating with adults and peers, equipping them with new vocabulary and instruction on how to use a research-based approach.

The Department of Library Media Services ensures year-round access to engaging books, information, and other media resources. As part of the Clayton READS initiative, every CCPS student receives a Summer Reading List and is encouraged to read daily for 30 minutes. They are encouraged to access thousands of free books through Open eBook and Renaissance myON.

To build the capacity of teachers to support children’s literacy development, the Department of Elementary ELA offers Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS), a professional development course that embeds deep, meaningful research into practical classroom strategies, providing teachers with the background, depth of knowledge, and tools to teach in a manner that builds the language and literacy skills of every student.

“The more you read and the more you build your vocabulary, the better chance you have to do all the things you want to do in life. We are working to ensure all children in Taliaferro County learn to read and have access to books and other reading materials—whether it is Shakespeare or Popular Mechanics magazine—that spark their interests and inspire them to read more.”

Allen Fort, Superintendent, Taliaferro County Schools

While Taliaferro County is the most rural county in Georgia, the Taliaferro County School System—which is comprised of one school serving 180 students—is one of 140 rural systems in the state where school leaders, community partners, and parents are working hard to ensure that children have access to learning and enrichment opportunities to prepare them for reading proficiency in third grade, high school graduation, and a successful career in adulthood.

Taliaferro County faces many of the challenges of rural communities including high poverty, illiteracy rates, and lack of access to health care, employment opportunities, and broadband internet. It also boasts many of the assets of rural communities such as low student-teacher ratios and a strong community network.

Educators are applying the four pillars as a framework for helping children overcome challenges. Their efforts have contributed to a 100% graduation rate for 2019, 2020, and 2021. Teachers are working to ensure that children experience a language-rich environment in school and are encouraging parents to deliver language nutrition at home. The district joined with community partners to secure a Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading (L4GA) grant from the Georgia Department of Education in 2021. With data showing that less than 30% of 3-year-olds are enrolled in child care, the community plans to utilize these funds to establish a preschool program at the school.

With no health care providers in the county, the school system established a community health clinic on the school campus in 2018. With medical staff onsite two days a week, this new clinic is open to all community residents. Previously, residents would drive 20 miles or more to see a doctor. The school system also secured grant funding to upgrade computers and education technology and is working with GaDOE to pilot improved internet access in rural communities.

All school staff is committed to providing a positive learning environment where children know that the adults care about them and look out for their well-being. This commitment increases student attendance and engagement in the classroom, contributing to the school system’s success.

To learn more about GSSA, visit their website.