RSU 3 adult education lauded for literacy program

By Ben Holbrook | Oct 10, 2016
Source: File Image

Regional School Unit 3's family literacy program has been selected to receive a $2,500 award from the Library of Congress.

The program, known as Students & Parents in Cooperative Education, was selected as one of 14 programs worldwide to receive the award. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the winners during the National Book Festival Gala Sept. 23.

Awards are given to organizations that work to promote literacy and reading in the U.S. and worldwide. “These awards recognize those organizations doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work, and they spotlight the need for the global community to unite in striving for universal literacy,” according to a news release from Library of Congress.

RSU 3's SPICE program is run by Patricia Hughes, Tammie Leach, Marie Roberts and Amanda Winchenbach. The program sends adult education and early childhood instructors into the homes of families in the 11 district towns, which cover more than 440 square miles.

Superintendent Paul Austin will travel to Washington, D.C., at the end of the month to accept the award on behalf of the SPICE program.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards are administered by the Library’s Center for the Book, which was created in 1977 by Congress to "stimulate public interest in books and reading." A public-private partnership, the center sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the the book and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival, according to the news release.

"Literacy is a key to lifelong learning," Hayden said in the release. "As Frederick Douglass said, ‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ You will be free to explore, dream and make your own history. It is wonderful to recognize these organizations that are doing so much to fulfill that promise for countless lives, from remote aboriginal communities in Australia to as close as our own backyard of Washington, D.C."

The awards are sponsored by philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, who originated the awards program in January 2013.

This award is not the first time the district's adult education program has been recognized; in 2013 SPICE received top marks on a report card released by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

Overall, SPICE received a total of 55 points for a final grade of “A-,” according to a press release from the Barbara Bush Foundation. The grade was based on an independent evaluation that factored in the impact of the program on adult literacy skills, children’s literacy skills, family learning activities, student recruitment and retention and other areas, according to previously published reports.

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