Roanoke, VA -- On Thursday, April 27, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR) announced that Roanoke is a finalist for the 2017 All-America City Award. Twenty-seven communities across the nation are vying to receive the coveted AAC Award, a recognition created 67 years ago by the National Civic League. This year, the League is working with the GLR Campaign to recognize communities that have made measurable progress for low-income children on the key drivers of early reading success: school readiness, school attendance, summer learning, and grade-level reading.
A six-time All-America City Awardee, Roanoke is cited for reporting measurable progress in all of these areas, as well as for exemplary efforts in promoting civic engagement and inclusiveness. Star City Reads, Roanoke’s locally branded campaign effort, encourages data sharing, data analysis, best practices, and targeted strategies. The coalition currently consists of 25 partners including the city’s libraries, Roanoke City Public Schools, health programs, arts organizations, and the Roanoke Police Department.
As the community lead within the local coalition, Roanoke Public Libraries have partnered with the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority to better meet the needs of children living in public housing. As a result of its work, Roanoke has seen the following outcomes:
- In the fall of 2012, 78.8 percent of Title I kindergartners met or exceeded school readiness criteria, compared with 80.4 percent in the fall of 2016.
- For the 2012–13 school year, 13.6 percent of first graders in Title I schools were chronically absent, compared with 11.9 percent in the 2015–16 school year.
- Roanoke launched a new summer learning program in all 14 of its Title I schools in 2013. Since that time, the percentage of first graders who maintained or improved their performance over the summer months increased from 81.6 percent to 85.9 percent. In the same timeframe, the overall percentage of third graders reading proficiently in all 14 Title I elementary schools increased from 60.5 percent to 70.6 percent.
Award recipients will be formally announced and honored on June 16 at the All-America City Awards gathering in Denver, Colo.
For more information, contact Sheila Umberger, director of Roanoke Public Libraries, at [email protected] or 540-853-2476. Details about the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading are available at www.gradelevelreading.net/glrweek.