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February 22, 2024

Evolving Partnerships

Beth Duda, director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

In 2016, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) had just begun to work in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The Patterson Foundation took on the role of regional accelerator with county-specific work led by United Way of Manatee County (now United Way Suncoast) and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County

As the SCGLR established relationships with the school districts of Manatee County and Sarasota County Schools, one of the challenges encountered was accessing timely, actionable data from the school districts. We quickly ascertained that while the districts were very willing to share aggregated data with us, they didn’t have the capacity to deliver that data quickly. The Patterson Foundation (TPF) entered into an agreement with The School District of Manatee County and Sarasota County Schools to fund the costs associated with a full-time data technology employee. This position would allow our data requests to be fulfilled quickly and give the school districts extra capacity to meet their district data aspirations. 

Over the subsequent eight years, we renewed that agreement yearly, most recently providing the funds for full-time data technology employees for the 2023-24 school year. Over the years, this sizable investment has provided SCGLR with timely data to help evaluate programming and allowed the school districts to develop additional data tools such as the Attendance and Academic Progress Dashboards created for Sarasota County Schools 

We are proud of the results of these partnerships.

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading continues to evolve. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has established a data reporting relationship with Sarasota County Schools, as has United Way Suncoast with The School District of Manatee County. The school districts have transitioned from using i-Ready for diagnostic testing to using the Star Early Literacy Assessment and Star Reading Assessment for Kindergarten through Grade 2 and the FAST ELA Reading Assessment in Grade 3, resulting in less helpful Summer Learning Data from the standpoint of SCGLR.

After consulting with our lead partners in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, we have made a carefully considered decision to reallocate resources in the 2024-2025 school year. We will not be renewing the Memorandum of Understanding for the funding of full-time data technology employees in The School District of Manatee County or Sarasota County schools for the 2024-25 school year. Our current agreements will end on June 30, 2024.

Charlotte County Public Schools, United Way of Charlotte County, and several nonprofit partners have established new data procedures to track children involved in Charlotte County Reads and Kids Thrive utilizing the services of a Data Management Coordinator funded by The Patterson Foundation. SCGLR will support that position in the 2024-25 school year.

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