We’re excited to share that the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has recognized the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading as a Pacesetter for leading by example to solve the challenges that can undermine early literacy.
“Pacesetter Honors are among the highest awards presented by the GLR Campaign,” said Ralph Smith, the managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “We are very proud of the Suncoast Campaign and the numerous organizations and individuals behind the community for joining forces and working tirelessly to uplift children and families. They remind us that we are seeing great progress and real results all across the country.”
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.
“It is an honor to be recognized as a Pacesetter community,” said Beth Duda, director of Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for The Patterson Foundation. “It’s inspiring to see how Sarasota and Manatee counties have joined together to ensure that our most at-risk children and their families have the tools needed to close the educational achievement gap. So far, we have accomplished incredible things, and we hope this recognition will mobilize our community to continue working toward the goal of helping all children read on grade level by the end of third grade.”
The GLR Campaign is recognizing the Suncoast Campaign for its excellence in five of six criteria for success, scale and sustainability: supporting parent success and addressing the health determinants, driving with data, building cross-sector collaboration, prioritizing children and families in public housing, and utilizing technology for impact. Especially noteworthy is the Suncoast Campaign’s overarching two-generation approach, the dental sealants program, the successful rollout of Vroom, and its focus on public housing.
“We’re proud to have a mobilized and collaborative community to pave the way in addressing the needs of our region’s students and make a substantial impact on early literacy,” said Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “Seeing the progress of our students and their parents’ dedication to their children’s success first-hand has been so inspiring. Through a long history of a commitment to education, proactive community partners, and resourceful school leaders, we will continue to be at the forefront of making change and reaching more milestones to ensure that our region’s students are thriving.”
The success of the Suncoast Campaign is made possible by lead supporters including the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Manatee Community Foundation, School District of Manatee County, School District of Sarasota County, The Patterson Foundation, United Way of Manatee County and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.
“This Pacesetter award underscores the need for, and the success of, thoughtful community partnerships,” said Bronwyn Beightol, chief operating officer of United Way of Manatee County. “A dedicated, collaborative focus on our children’s education is essential to the Campaign’s success.”
Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” National tests show that two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders (four-fifths of whom are from low-income families) are not reading proficiently. Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.