A $64,404 NC QUEST grant has been awarded to the Wilkes County schools for a two-year program designed to help middle school science teachers improve student reading comprehension and other literacy skills.NC QUEST grants are provided under the national No Child Left Behind Act for partnerships between universities and school system identified as "high need" for efforts to increase teacher quality. "QUEST" stands for Quality Educators through Staff Development and Training. The grant for the Wilkes schools funded additional training for 10 science teachers in different grades at all four Wilkes middle schools. Faculty from Appalachian's Reich College of Education are providing the training through workshops and other means. This began in July. Dr. Wanda Hutchinson, associate superintendent of the Wilkes schools, said the program's goals include helping teachers and students prepare for changes associated with the Common Core Standard of English/Language Arts, part of a new statewide school curriculum. With the new curriculum, students will be tested and assessed more on their ability to understand content area through regular practice with a complex text and its vocabulary. Students will be asked to provide evidence of answers provided in a specific text.