Dear Grade Level Reading Coalition,
Happy New Year! The New Year is a fresh opportunity for us to ground ourselves in the reality of the challenges we face to ensure all children in Baltimore City are afforded the basic right to read and to renew our resolve to achieve this vision.
According to the PARCC results released last month, only 20.4% of the city’s students meet or exceed English Language Arts/Literacy standards compared to the state wide average of 38.1%. Moreover, within Baltimore a devastating disparity persists with only 17.5% of African American students meeting expectations compared with 45.6% of their white counterparts.
Central to these results is what can be called “the math of reading”: City students’ concentrated poverty and intense academic needs are not balanced by the city schools’ limited resources. How do we create solutions when that math simply doesn’t add up?
Through the members of the Coalition, we have seen many hopeful glimpses of the solution. Our vision is to harness the potential of these collective efforts to truly drive sustainable results for our children.
I delve deeper into how many of our Coalition members are driving change and how, collectively, our efforts have the potential to ensure the “math of reading” stops working against our kids in an op-ed published in last week’s Baltimore Sun.
I hope you will take a moment to read the full piece here.
I look forward to working with you in 2016.
Attendance Challenge Grants
Last year the Baltimore Attendance Collaborative, powered by Family League, funded five schools to support strategies to improve attendance through Attendance Challenge Grants. Three of the five schools funded specifically focused on improving Pre-K and K attendance. Two of these schools saw improvement in Pre-K and K attendance.
One of those schools, Armistead Gardens Elementary/Middle School, focused on improving Pre-K and K attendance through a summer parent outreach program that included an August orientation for the students and families. The school not only saw a slight increase in attendance as compared to the prior year in both Pre-K and K, but also saw a marked increase in family engagement as 94 families attended the orientation. As a result, the school saw an increase in parent volunteers this school year.
Another school, John Eager Howard, worked to improve end of year attendance for Pre-K and K students by integrating youth development activities into the school day during the last two weeks. These activities were delivered by their out-of-school time partner, Child First Authority. As a result of this work, the school saw a 2% increase in attendance for Pre-K students and an impressive 15% increase in Kindergarten attendance as compared to the previous year.
As a way to stay connected, we include Coalition needs in our monthly newsletter. Please email Kimberly Manns if there is a need or announcement you would like the Coalition to know about at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Thanks to all who agreed to test out our daily reading materials at the last Coalition meeting. If you have feedback on our daily reading brochure or website, please submit it here.
- The next Grade Level Reading Coalition Meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 10th from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the Family League of Baltimore. We hope to see you there.
- MOST will hold its 6th annual statewide conference on out-of-school-time at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, Maryland, on January 7th and 8th, 2016. More information can be found here.
- Reading Partners is looking for volunteer tutors to work with struggling readers throughout the school year. Find out more.