New grant for Columbia Public Middle Schools seeks to increase reading

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COLUMBIA - In honor of the Columbia Public School Foundation's (CPSF) 20th anniversary, it announced a $20,000 grant for Columbia middle schools that aims to increase reading and writing for students.

This "20 for 20" grant sought to include all students, said Reading Specialist at Jefferson Middle School, Anna Osborn.

"When we started writing the grant we wanted to look at something that would impact every middle schooler in Columbia, and that's one of the reasons we didn't talk about going some place. We talked about how can we bring a field trip into our buildings. What can we do so every student in school can experience this," Osborn said.

The way they achieved this is by creating a multi-tiered plan for the grant, said Media Past President of the Foundation, Nyle Klinginsmith.

The grant will buy books by two authors, and put them into every Columbia middle school. He said by doing this it will allow students to have something in common to talk about. In the springtime, these authors will come to the schools and answer questions from the students about their writing. 

The grant got the foundation excited for a particular reason he said. 

"Maybe it's a generational thing, but when we see a grant come through and it's gonna put books in kids' hands. And they're gonna get excited about reading, and they're gonna maybe think about their own writing and find their voice, then we love that," Klinginsmith said.

He said that anything that helping public schools is in everybody's interest. 

"We all want to live in a good community, and if we are going to live in a good community then we need good schools. Columbia has lots of great opportunities for kids but most of Columbia's kids go to public schools if we want that strong community in Columbia we really need to have good schools," klinginsmith said.

The foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary at Cedar Creek Resorts with Entertainment Tonight co-host and Columbia public school graduate, Nischelle Turner.

The event began at 6 p.m. Thursday night, and all benefits will go toward Columbia Public Schools.