Waukegan Honored as a Pacesetter for Early Literacy Work
WAUKEGAN, ILLINOIS (JUNE 2016) – Waukegan has been honored as a Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for making measurable progress on eliminating barriers faced by children from low-income families on the path to becoming proficient readers.
“Pacesetter Honors are among the highest awards presented by the Campaign,” said Ralph Smith, the managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “We are very proud of Waukegan and the numerous organizations and individuals behind them 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.”
“The Waukegan Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has brought together many organizations and dedicated individuals with a shared desire to ensure children in our community are successful.” said Michelle Crombie, VP Community Impact, United Way of Lake County. “Because of our strong partnerships, several early learning programs were enhanced in the community”.
Kindergarten Countdown Camp (KCC) identified incoming Waukegan kindergarten students with little to no preschool experience. Camp focused on improving key readiness skills important for students to know prior to the first day of kindergarten. At the end of camp 68% of participants were ‘in progress’ or above in eight key skills. Also, at the start of kindergarten, as measured through our Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, KCC participants average 68% ‘ready’ versus the overall average, 46% (of non-participants).
The Waukegan Collaborative is led by United Way of Lake County in partnership with Waukegan Public School District 60, United Way of Lake County’s Women’s Leadership Council and Kohl Children’s Museum with the common goal towards eliminating the achievement gap for third grade reading between Waukegan schools and the state of Illinois.
Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and success later life 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.
“If we’re going to close the achievement gap, we need mobilized communities – like these Pacesetters – working with schools, city agencies, nonprofits, civic leaders and parents to focus on third-grade reading,” Smith added. “These Pacesetter communities inspire us to believe that great things can happen when all of us support parents, care providers and educators as they work to ensure more hopeful futures for our children.”
Pacesetter Honors have been awarded to communities and partners in the Campaign network since 2012. View the complete list of honorees. This year, 38 Pacesetter communities will be honored at an annual awards luncheon during the Campaign’s 2016 Funder-to-Funder Huddle in Washington, D.C., on April 7. Each Pacesetter will receive a certificate and special recognition banner to showcase their award throughout their communities.
About United Way of Lake County:
United Way of Lake County (UWLC) is preparing our children to succeed in a changing world by focusing on education and building safe and stable families. Working with nonprofit agencies and community partners, we have identified four key programs to prepare children to succeed: Success By 6 Program – prepare for kindergarten; Reading Success Program – read at grade level; Stay in School Program – graduate high school; Safe and Stable Families Program – empowering families. UWLC is overcoming reading and educational barriers by reaching children, from preschool through high school, through these key programs. The overall effect and benefits are multiplied by the strong collaboration with agencies and our community partners. For more information, visit www.LIVEUNITEDlakecounty.org.
About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading:
Launched in May 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. By 2020, the Campaign aims to increase by at least 100 percent the number of children from low-income families reading proficiently by the end of third grade in 12 states or more. Since its launch, the Campaign has grown to include more than 240 communities, representing 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with 2,100 local organizations (including 130 United Ways and 250 state and local funders). To learn more, visit gradelevelreading.net and follow us on Twitter @readingby3rd.
[SC1] The Waukegan Collaborative is led by United Way of Lake County in partnership with Waukegan Public School District 60, Waukegan Park District, Waukegan Public Library and Kohl Children’s Museum with the common goal towards eliminating the achievement gap for third grade reading between Waukegan schools and the state of Illinois.