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Keystones to Opportunity LogoKeystones to Opportunity Background

The Keystones to Opportunity grant (Striving Readers) is a $200 million federal grant awarded to Pennsylvania to improve literacy outcomes for all students. The grant was awarded to support Pennsylvania’s comprehensive approach to improving literacy outcomes for all children—birth through grade 12. 

Keystones to Opportunity (KtO) supports programs that advance literacy skills through professional development, screening and assessment, targeted interventions for students reading below grade level and research-based methods of improving classroom instruction and practice.

Keystones to Opportunity is designed around three main goals:

  • To improve literacy learning outcomes and dramatically increase reading achievement among students in danger of academic failure birth through grade 12 in Pennsylvania.
  • To create a culture of data-driven decision making by supporting implementation of Bernhardt’s Multiple Measures Data logic model at the state, regional and local levels. 
  • To infuse digital technology and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), providing teachers with examples of how technology tools can provide multiple pathways to express and represent information, as well as creative options for developing literacy persistence, stamina and motivation.

At the policy level, project strategies and outcomes are reviewed by a Guiding Coalition consisting of key literacy stakeholders, state policy makers and project partners. Project evaluation is provided by the Collaborative for Evaluation and Assessment Capacity (CEAC) at the By The Numbers and SAS EVAAS, Inc. 

The evaluation design for Keystones to Opportunity models the use of Bernhardt’s data logic model by focusing on student demographics, student learning outcomes, school processes and stakeholder perceptual data. As Bernhardt has noted in her research, the intersection of these data are particularly powerful in helping schools understand how to improve learning outcomes for ALL students and how to create school systems and structures that are responsive to the needs of a diverse student population.

More than 100,000 students and 6,000 teachers participated in the first two full years of the project. Sub-grantees range in size from large urban school districts to very small rural districts.