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Early Literacy Support Block Grant

Information regarding the Early Literacy Support Block Grant.

Section 113 of the Education Omnibus Trailer Bill (Senate Bill 98) for the 2020-21 California State Budget appropriates $50 million to establish the Early Literacy Support Block (ELSB) Grant Program. The ELSB Grant Program requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to award funds to local educational agencies (LEAs) with the 75 schools that have the highest percentage of students in grade three scoring at the lowest achievement standard level on the State Summative English Language Arts (ELA) assessment. The CDE may use $3 million of this sum to offset its costs associated with activities required to administer the program.

Additionally, Section 114 of Senate Bill (SB) 98 appropriates $3 million from the General Fund to establish an Expert Lead in Literacy within the California Statewide System of Support (SoS). The Expert Lead in Literacy must be a county office of education (COE), selected by the CDE in partnership with the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE), to support grantees to build statewide professional learning networks and provide technical assistance to increase statewide capacity in implementing effective literacy instruction.

Program Authorization

2020 SB 98 Authorization of the Early Literacy Support Block Grant
Language of SB 98, Sections 113 and 114 (Statues of 2020) of the Education Omnibus Trailer Bill authorizing the ELSB Grant Program.

LEA Grant Eligibility and Funding

To determine which LEAs are eligible for ELSB funds, the CDE examined the weighted average of the results for the 2018 and 2019 ELA Summative Assessment to identify the 75 schools with the highest percentage of students in grade three scoring at Level 1.

The schools also met the following additional required criteria:

  1. The school must have reported results for at least 11 students in grade three for the 2018 and 2019 ELA Summative Assessments.
  2. The school must be designated as traditional in the 2018–19 California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System.

LEAs with one or more of the identified schools are eligible for funding. The CDE notified all eligible LEAs on August 31, 2020, and invited them to apply for funding. LEAs that applied received an initial amount of up to $50,000 per eligible school to develop and implement a needs assessment and root cause analysis for each school, which informed the development of a required three-year Literacy Action Plan (Plan). A LEA that includes more than one eligible school may develop one Plan addressing all of its eligible schools, and may combine the grant funds to maximize results at the eligible schools only if the Plan is specifically responsive to the root cause analysis and needs assessment specific to each of the eligible schools.

Upon CDE approval the Plans, it will disseminate the first year of funding to LEAs to implement planned activities. The second and third years of funding will be disbursed upon the review and acceptance of all annual and quarterly reporting requirements.

Grant funds may be used only to fund supplemental activities and shall not supplant already existing activities being provided by the LEA or at the eligible schools. The activities shall be targeted for improvement strategies for pupils in kindergarten and grades one to three, inclusive, at eligible schools.

List of Eligible Schools and LEAs

The LEA Grant Program Application closed on October 30, 2020.

Funding Profile and Results

Resources from the November 17, 2020, technical assistance webinar for eligible LEA applicants are available through the links below:

Technical Assistance Webinar External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 18:17)
Technical Assistance Webinar Power Point Presentation (PDF)

Expert Lead in Literacy Eligibility and Funding

SB 98, Section 114 Statutes of 2020 establishes an Expert Lead in Literacy. The Expert Lead in Literacy shall demonstrate abilities and expertise developing, implementing, and supporting other LEAs and their schools with literacy instruction and support programs, particularly focused on literacy in early grades (kindergarten, which includes transitional kindergarten, and grades one through three). The Expert Lead in Literacy shall also demonstrate expertise in the four categories of programs and services: access to high-quality literacy teaching, support for literacy learning, pupil supports, and family and community supports.

The CDE and the CCEE selected the Sacramento County Office of Education through a competitive grant process to serve as the Expert Lead in Literacy as a part of the California Statewide SoS established pursuant to Education Code Section 52059.5. Links to the Request for Applications (RFA) and Funding Profile are below.

ELSB Grant: Expert Lead In Literacy RFA

Funding Profile and Results

The timeline for the selection process and first year activities is provided below.

Activity Date

RFA available

September 25, 2020

Technical assistance webinar for applicants

October 2, 2020

Applications due

October 23, 2020 (4:00 p.m.)

Intent to Award posted

November 6, 2020

Appeals due

November 13, 2020 (4:00 p.m.)

Notification of Final Award posted

November 18, 2020 (updated from November 16, 2020)

Expert Lead in Literacy grant period begins

December 1, 2020

Cohort training for participating LEAs to conduct a root cause analysis, carry out a needs assessment, and develop a three-year Literacy Action Plan began January 2021
Final drafts of Literacy Action Plans and projected budgets due to the CDE June 30, 2021
Upon CDE and local board approval, LEAs begin implementation of Literacy Action Plans July 2021

Additional Information

Stay informed on the ELSB grant and the latest on literacy education in California! Join the CDE’s Literacy listserv by sending a blank email to:

Questions:   ELSB Grant Team |
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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