United Way-Led Initiative Commits to Boosting Early School Success
Scranton, PA (August 8, 2019) – The Transforming Children’s Futures (TCF) collaborative is taking a big step toward improving student success by joining the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR), a nationwide movement to improve reading proficiency and early school success for children on the high-risk side of the achievement gap. The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties leads the TCF collaborative with partners from the Lackawanna County Office of Youth and Family Services, Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency (SLHDA) Head Start and the Scranton Public Library as well as a rapidly growing TCF Cabinet of concerned stakeholders and community leaders.
“Our vision is to ensure every child in our community has access to the supports they need to attain third grade reading proficiency,” noted Lisa Berardelli, United Way’s director of education programs. “Joining the Grade Level Reading Campaign will only serve to help us achieve this goal and help prepare our young students for success while strengthening families and our community as a whole,” she added.
Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and success later in life 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.
In Lackawanna County, 38 percent of third grade students scored below proficient in reading on the last two Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams. At the same time, county-wide high school graduation rates have become unstable. During the 2010-11 school year, 90 percent of high school seniors graduated while only 83 percent graduated in 2018, according to the County Health rankings from that year.
The TCF action plan addresses four underlying challenges that can keep young children, especially those from low-income families, from learning to read proficiently — school preparedness, regular school attendance, growing healthy readers and summer learning.
“We are delighted to welcome this community into the growing GLR Network,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of CGLR. “We look forward to working with the leaders and funders in this local coalition. It is their commitment, persistence, vision and energy that will fuel the effort to ensure early school success and more hopeful futures for the children in this community.”
Membership in the GLR Network gives TCF and the Lackawanna County community access to experts and policymakers focused on early school success; assistance in addressing the challenges that keep many children from learning to read; and access to the online Community Learning for Impact & Improvement Platform (CLIP), which is designed to lower the barriers and costs associated with spreading information about what’s working, why and under what conditions.
For more information, please visit uwlc.net/transformingchildrensfutures or call the United Way at (570) 343-1267.
About Transforming Children’s Futures
The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties is proud to lead Transforming Children’s Futures (TCF) – a high impact collaboration that is actively building networks with like-minded organizations to improve the third grade reading proficiency of children in Lackawanna County. Along with our partners from the Lackawanna County Office of Youth and Family Services; Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency (SLHDA) Head Start and the Scranton Public Library as well as a growing Cabinet of concerned stakeholders and community leaders. TCF focuses on: School Preparedness; Regular School Attendance; Summer Learning and Growing Healthy Readers. The vision of TCF is that every child in our community will have access to the supports needed to attain third grade reading proficiency, and the TCF mission is to develop and implement a comprehensive and collaborative system of support to ensure pathways to reading proficiency by the end of third grade for all Lackawanna County students. TCF’s bold goal is to attain 90 percent of Lackawanna County third grade students reading on grade level by 2023 as measured by the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. Learn more by visiting uwlc.net/transformingchildrensfutures.
About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading seeks to disrupt generational poverty by mobilizing communities to promote early school success for those children currently on the high-risk side of the achievement gap. To date, our efforts have helped to spark a “grassroots to governors” movement for ensuring early school success, advancing grade-level reading and reducing chronic absence as important policy priorities. More than 4,100 organizations have formed “big tent” sponsoring coalitions in 300+ communities across 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. To learn more, visit gradelevelreading.net and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.