All-America City

Even when you get a fabulous report card, as the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading did this past June during Grade-Level Reading Week in Denver, it’s important to read the teachers’ remarks to see what you did well and where you might step it up a bit. We received a variety of accolades, including the All-America City Award and a Pacesetter Honor—one of only 15 communities in the country to receive the All-America City Award and one of only 48 to be named a Pacesetter. Then we received ratings and comments from peer reviewers around the country and were able to set new goals while appreciating the reviewers’ remarks.

The reviewers saw areas where we might improve. So we are working on:

  • increasing the number of children and families who benefit,
  • enhancing data collection methods, and
  • standardizing the tools used to measure impact to drive decisions.

Every reviewer was impressed with the Sarasota Housing Authority partnership, the Graduation Enhancement Technicians (GET) initiative in Manatee schools, and the community-wide and cross-sector commitment to the campaign.

Our favorite quotes included:

“It’s hard to imagine a community more highly engaged and mobilized around GLR.”

“Best application I reviewed. Very compelling story of how this project grew to involve two counties as a way to maximize impact and ensure sustainability.”

“Application demonstrates how Suncoast is not addressing just the foundations of literacy, but understands the need to address all factors in a child’s life: two-generation programming, additional human capital support from the school districts, highlighting early childhood as a funding priority, and leveraging through partnerships throughout the community to carry this work forward.”

“I especially appreciated the multiple levels of engagement offered to partners, e.g., accelerators and boosters, to engage more groups.”

“Lucky students! A caring and committed community—plus sunshine!”

“Makes the education of children a community priority.”

Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it,” but with your ongoing support, we’re going to try!


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