CARTHAGE, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Department of Defense is supporting educational programs across the U.S., including in the North Country.

The Carthage Central School District was recently awarded a $1.25 million grant through the Department of Defense Education Activity, which supports military-connected local education agencies for academic and support programs.

The grant will be used to fund the district’s Reading Instructional Support and Enrichment (RISE) Up Project.

The RISE Up Project will focus on implementing a “Multi-Tiered System of Support Framework for Literacy Programs,” according to CCSD Director of Grants Mackenzie Ritz, who wrote the grant for the district.

“We’re really excited funding will be utilized to provide additional support in terms of a facilitator for MTSS, as well as a literacy facilitator,” Ritz said.

Carthage’s program is one of 34 projects of its kind funded in the country, the only one in New York State and the largest grant award in the northeast region.

Ritz said the hope is that this significant funding source will help improve literacy rates for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

“Creation, research and implementation of the MTSS Framework would be a place and opportunity for us to store and collect and monitor data on students to drive our instruction,” Ritz said. “In terms of the literacy achievement, we would be looking to see an increase in scores over the next five years.”

Carthage has been awarded a DoDEA grant before, but CCSD Superintendent Jennifer Premo explained that receiving this round was crucial in closing gaps following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have noticed some learning loss due to the disruption in our educational environment and so as our team meets to discuss our areas of need in the district and develop a plan moving forward on how we can best support our kids, it was great news to hear that we had earned the grant and that we would have these resources coming in to aid in those efforts,” Premo said.

The Carthage Central School District is planning to begin implementing these new resources during the 2023-2024 school year.