OUR PARTNERS: Literacy Pacesetters in Hartford
On Wednesday, May 3, members of the Hartford Campaign for Grade Level Reading (HCGLR) had two reasons to celebrate. First was the receipt of a Pacesetter award through the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading for achieving population-level, measurable progress in school attendance and overall grade-level reading for children in Hartford. In addition, Comcast was on hand to present an award of $8,000 to Summer Smarts, the HCGLR’s summer initiative.
The United Way convened the HCGLR in partnership with the district in 2012 to increase the number of 3rd grade students reading on grade level. Additional partners include Achieve Hartford!, City of Hartford, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Hartford Partnership for Student Success, Hartford Public Library and Mega Education, LLC. These partners have rallied around the district’s 2020 goal of 60% reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade. Third grade reading is a powerful predictor of high school graduation and career success and is a pivotal point in a child’s development where they move from learning to read, to reading in order to learn content, in fourth grade and beyond.
One focus of the Hartford Campaign for Grade Level Reading has been a community-wide, systemic, and site-based strategy to reduce chronic absence through an education and awareness campaign targeting teachers, families, and students along with the provision of staff support to address attendance policy at the school level for schools with the highest need. This collaborative work has led to a 4.6% decrease in chronic absence.
Another major part of the campaign has been United Way’s leadership in creating a volunteer reader program. Since piloting the program in 2012 at two schools, United Way Readers has mobilized volunteers to serve more than 600 students and now operates at six schools in Hartford including Asian Studies Academy, Burns, Burr, Milner, Rawson and Wish. Currently, nearly 90 volunteers are working with over 130 students in Hartford. Last year 90% of students in the program demonstrated improved reading proficiency. United Way recruits volunteers through workplaces such as Aetna and UTC, colleges and universities, and social media. These efforts helped Hartford Public Schools to achieve a 2.3% increase 3rd grade reading scores last year.
Many thanks to all of our partners who support our students in reaching their literacy goals!
Celebrating the receipt of the Pacesetter Award from the National Campaign and the receipt of an $8,000 award from Comcast to support the work of the Hartford Campaign for Grade Level Reading are from left to right: John Bairos – Senior Manager, Government and Community Relations, Comcast; Bridget Quinn-Carey – CEO Hartford Public Library; Karen Perham-Lippman – Manager of Community Investment, Comcast; Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin; Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez – Hartford Superintendent of Schools; Paula Gilberto – President & CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern CT