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July 25, 2022

The Real Winners are the Children and Families of the Suncoast

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

Thursday, July 21, 2022, was a big day for the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, receiving honors and accolades from the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the National Civic League.

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) is a four-county effort in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties in Florida to help children from birth through 3rd grade, especially those from asset-limited families, succeed in life by ensuring they read on grade level. The Patterson Foundation serves as the regional accelerator, with county-specific work led by Community Foundation of Sarasota County, United Way Suncoast, and United Way of Charlotte County.

SCGLR is part of more than 390 Campaign for Grade-Level Reading communities in 44 states across the nation and in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada, working on changing the trajectory for vulnerable children and families. Each year, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading awards Pacesetter honors to communities on the leading edge of innovation, impact, and improvement within the GLR Network.

On Thursday afternoon, we were notified that SCGLR was one of 18 communities receiving 2021-22 Pacesetter honors for addressing the Summer and COVID Slides through community collaboration, empowering parents as drivers of student success, and for the innovative THIS BOOK IS COOL! program.

Later that evening, the 2022 All America City Awards were presented in partnership with the national Campaign For Grade-Level Reading, with the year’s theme, “Housing as a Platform to Promote Early School Success and Equitable Learning Recovery.” The National Civic League awarded ten All-America City Awards to communities that demonstrated measurable improvement around one or more of the following areas of focus:

  • Digital equity (internet access, individual devices, technical assistance);
  • Relational supports (tutors, mentors, coaches);
  • Afterschool, summer, and out-of-school learning opportunities;
  • Transforming non-school places and spaces into learning-rich environments;
  • Promoting school readiness, regular attendance, and summer learning;
  • Parents succeeding as essential partners in assuring the healthy development and early school success of their children; and
  • Parents succeeding in their own journey toward sustainable self-sufficiency.

The Suncoast Region was named a 2022 All-America City, the only regional collaborative to win this honor. The other communities honored are:

The honors and recognitions of July 21 were made possible by the unflagging commitment of the lead partners of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the partnerships with area nonprofits, agencies, school districts, businesses, the media, and the thousands of parents, caregivers, and volunteers who have stepped forward to put the success of our region’s children and families at the center of our shared aspirations.

The real winners? The children and families of the Suncoast!

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