Reading skills are the future of education, according to Georgia schools Superintendent Linda Schrenko.
The emphasis on teaching elementary school children reading skills was a major part of Mrs. Schrenko's address to the spring meeting of the Georgia Superintendents Association, according to Columbia County schools Superintendent Tom Dohrmann.
He and Associate Superintendent Tommy Price attended the conference -- known as the Spring Bootstrap -- Wednesday and Thursday.
"She emphasized her Reading First program; ... there will be big emphasis on reading in the early grades," Dr. Dohrmann said.
North Columbia Elementary School in Appling was named a Reading First school and will get $50,000 during the next two years toward improving reading instruction.
As of the next school year, 16 schools throughout the state will have the grant, which pays for teaching materials and increasing the time spent on teaching reading.
Other highlights of the Spring Bootstrap conference included appearances by gubernatorial candidates Roy Barnes, Mike Bowers, Lewis Massey and Guy Millner.
"We talked about problems and concerns facing education, things that the Legislature had passed of any significance, and we talked about charter schools," Dr. Dohrmann said.
The name Bootstrap came from a long-ago comment that superintendents needed to "get together to pull the schools up by their bootstraps -- and it just kind of stuck," Dr. Dohrmann said.
The superintendents meet in the fall and spring.