Delray Recognized By Campaign For Gradelevel Reading

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Staff report

Delray Beach is one of 48 communities across the nation that was recognized as a Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

The campaign announced the Pacesetters that “lead by example” to solve one or more of the challenges that can undermine early literacy – school readiness, school attendance and summer learning during the 5th Annual Pacesetter Honors.

The GLR Campaign has distinguished Delray Beach as a 2016 Pacesetter for reporting population-level measurable progress in school attendance and overall grade-level reading for children from low-income families.

Between 2011-12 and 2015-16, the percentage of low-income K-3 children who were chronically absent was reduced from 6.54 percent  to 2.1 percent, a 68 percent reduction.

In addition, Delray Beach saw an increase of 22 percent over two years in the number of low-income children reading proficiently. The coalition incorporates a wide range of strategies into its work to achieve these results. It has a rigorous data-driven approach that relies on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Palm Beach County School District to share student data. The MOU allows the coalition access to disaggregated data and also permits the coalition to collect data on specific programs to prevent summer reading slide (including a summer camp academic program and a kindergarten backpack book program).

Efforts in Delray Beach to prioritize children and families in a predominantly low-income neighborhood include working with a local school to incorporate Early Head Start and Head Start directly onto the school campus, as well prenatal care; day care for babies; elementary, middle, high school; and adult education.

Pacesetters are part of a nationwide network of more than 300 GLR Campaign communities, representing 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Campaign communities are dedicated to narrowing the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers. According to the U.S. Department of Education, that gap has widened significantly in recent years, with 80 percent of children from low-income families failing to read proficiently in fourth grade compared with 49 percent of their more affluent peers. Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a milestone on a child’s path to high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.

The 2016 Pacesetter communities will be formally honored at the Funder Huddle held June 13-14, 2017, during Grade-Level Reading Week in Denver, Colorado. Pacesetters will receive a certificate and special recognition banner to showcase their award throughout their communities. To learn more about the Pacesetter criteria and to view profiles for each Pacesetter honoree, visit gradelevelreading.net/pacesetter.