Third-graders at Fairview PreK-8 School in Dayton check out their new books courtesy of the Read On program in this May 19, 2016, file photo. Preschool through third-graders at all Dayton Public Schools and seven participating charter schools got to pick 10 books each to read over the summer and keep. About 85,000 books were donated. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF
Photo: JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF
Photo: JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Local group one of 32 agencies to win national education honor

Dayton-Montgomery County was one of 32 communities nationally and the only one in Ohio honored last week by the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading as a “pacesetter” in early education.

CGLR’s annual Pacesetter honors highlight communities that report measurable progress on key indicators of early school success in the previous year. The group said these communities represent “the leading edge of innovation, impact and improvement.”

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“Recognizing Pacesetters is our way of applauding and thanking the civic leaders, organizations and agencies that have joined forces to build brighter futures for children in their communities,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of CGLR. “We are learning with them and from them what it takes to move the needle and close the gap.”

Pacesetter award winners are recognized for improved student outcomes, or for national collaboration, or for structural and strategic changes to improve education.

The Dayton-Montgomery County honor specifically named Learn to Earn Dayton’s work. Learn to Earn officials said it was a result of community-wide efforts they led to analyze student data by demographic groups, “leading to system changes and targeted interventions that promote all students’ success.”

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Learn to Earn has worked for years on school readiness, school attendance, summer learning and other K-12 benchmarks, getting all of Montgomery County’s public school districts and other groups to collaborate on solutions.

“We have learned so much by partnering with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading,” said Robyn Lightcap, executive director of Learn to Earn Dayton. “Our partnerships and coalitions have allowed us to ensure professionals have the tools they need to close the educational achievement gap. That’s our goal — ensuring that all children are realizing their potential.”

Educators consider reading proficiency by the end of third grade a critical milestone toward high-school graduation and career success. By that time, students transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” in all of their other subjects. Research shows students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely drop out and struggle economically.

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Locally, Learn to Earn has been heavily involved in the Preschool Promise effort to expand high-quality preschool access and improve children’s school readiness. A review of the 2017-18 school year showed Preschool Promise students made “significant gains in school readiness” but added the program was not succeeding yet in closing racial achievement gaps, another key goal.

Learn to Earn officials said Dayton/Montgomery County has a new Summer and Afterschool Collaborative working on out-of-school programming and is giving parents resources to continue teaching their children at home, through programs like Preschool Promise’s mailed book of the month effort.

Pacesetters communities in the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for 2018

Avondale, Ariz. — Read On Arizona

Tahoe-Truckee Calif. — Tahoe Truckee Reads

Hartford, Conn. — Hartford Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

New Britain, Conn. — Coalition for New Britain’s Youth

Wilmington, Del. — Get Delaware Reading Wilmington

Broward, Fla. — Broward Reads

Delray Beach, Fla.

Indian River County, Fla. — Moonshot Moment Literacy Movement

Suncoast, Fla. — Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Cobb County, Ga. — Get Georgia Reading

Whitfield, Ga. — Get Georgia Reading

Cedar Valley, Iowa — Cedar Valley Readers

Council Bluffs, Iowa — Raise Me to Read

Des Moines, Iowa — Read to Succeed

Dubuque, Iowa — Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Grinnell, Iowa — Grinnell Education Partnership

Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill. — Quad Cities Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Sioux City, Iowa — 0–3: Prime Age to Engage

Story County, Iowa — Story County Reads

Shawnee County, Kansas — Shawnee County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Flint and Genesee County, Mich. — Flint & Genesee Literacy Network

Gulfport, Miss. — One Coast Coalition

Kansas City, Mo. — Turn the Page KC

Northern Nevada — Northern Nevada Grade-Level Reading Coalition

Wake County, N.C. — WAKE Up and Read

Montgomery County-Dayton, Ohio — Learn to Earn Dayton

Lane County, Ore.

Philadelphia, Pa. — Read by 4th

San Antonio, Texas — ReadyKidSA

Salt Lake City, Utah — Promise Partnerships of Salt Lake

Roanoke, Va. — Star City Reads

Virginia Beach, Va. — Virginia Beach READS

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