Beaufort County School District (BCSD) is committed to providing an effective literacy program so that all students become literate across all content areas. The foundational literacy skills including phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension form a literacy foundation. However, technology advances are changing the way people communicate and work in organizations (Tapscott & Williams, 2006). Therefore, in addition to foundational literacy skills, students must be digitally literate. As noted by Weare and Lin (2000), the Internet has had a profound influence on life in the 21st Century. Students should be able to effectively navigate the Internet and leverage its power. However, literacy in the 21st Century goes beyond Internet searches and retrieval of information. Our students must be able to safely, ethically, and effectively use technology to be fully literate in the 21st Century. In addition, students should be literate and able to read, write, listen, speak and use language across and within content areas. For example, students must be literate in the arts and design concepts (Pink, 2006).
The BCSD Instructional Services Department (ISD) team, along with a District Literacy Team consisting of principals, English language arts chairpersons, literacy coaches, literacy teachers and consultants, developed the Beaufort County School District 2013-2016 Literacy Plan. The plan was created as comprehensive balanced literacy plan. The BCSD team modeled the plan based on the South Carolina Literacy Matters: Creating District and School Literacy Plans, which was developed in 2011 in unison with the 2012 state literacy plan Literacy Matters. In addition, an adapted version of the structure utilized within the comprehensive Guidelines for Developing an Effective district literacy action plan (Version 1.1) aided the BCSD team with organization and content within our district plan.
As described in the BCSD Literacy Plan, literacy must be considered across all subjects, mediums, and forms of communication. Students need to be able to read fluently, analyze, and use information. They must be able to communicate, create, collaborate, and critically think so that they possess the understanding, skills, and dispositions needed for successful entry into college, career or military service. BCSD recognizes these needs and our Literacy Plan is intended to assist us in
delivering a literacy program, which will prepare our students to effectively communicate and contribute to a rapidly changing global society.
BCSD gathered and analyzed district student literacy data to determine the district’s challenges and develop a literacy plan aligned to our three-year Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation plan and district initiatives. BCSD identified our major challenges, which we aligned to the primary state challenges as
• low student achievement in reading and writing;
• literacy achievement gaps among demographic groups;