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What’s Happening

Dear Grade Level Reading Coalition,

I hope this message finds you well. It’s been a busy month here at Grade Level Reading!

We partnered with the Family League of Baltimore to host a Summer Fair for providers at the Maryland Book Bank. Over 100 providers attended and we gave out almost 1,000 books to be used at programs this summer! In addition, we’ve been working in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools and the Enoch Pratt Free Library to increase the number of students who sign up for the Pratt Summer Reading Program. You can read more about each of these efforts below.

Please save the date for our next GLR Coalition Meeting. It will be on Wednesday, June 1st from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM at the Family League of Baltimore. I hope to see everyone there.

In Partnership,
Kimberly Manns
Program Director

B’More, Read More Summer Fair

In a survey conducted by the GLR Campaign’s Extended Learning Opportunities work group, afterschool and summer providers identified a need for leveled books to use in programs and to send home with students. In response, B’More, Read More (an initiative of the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading) partnered with the Family League of Baltimore, the Office of the Mayor and the Maryland Out of School Time Network to host a Summer Fair at the Maryland Book Bank for providers. Our goal was to provide summer providers with information about resources available and allow them to get books for their programs as a way to introduce them to the Book Bank.

Almost 100 providers from a diverse set of organizations, including schools, summer camps and community organizations, attended. There were almost 25 vendors present to share resources available to providers and we gave out almost 1,000 books! Most importantly, for many providers, this was their first introduction to the Book Bank and it’s resources. Many shared that they would be returning frequently to get books for their programs.

You can see more pictures of the event here.

Grade Level Reading Featured on Education Nation

We are excited to announce that the Baltimore Campaign for Grade Level Reading was featured on an episode of Education Nation focused on Baltimore. You can watch the 60 second spot that ran during the program here. Thanks to Annie E. Casey for financing this spot.

Improving Transitions from Early Childhood Settings into Pre-K & Kindergarten

For the past eight months the Family Literacy Coalition in partnership with Family League, Baltimore City Public Schools, Head Start, the Baltimore City Child Care Resource Center and Behavioral Health System Baltimore have been working to develop a pilot project to strengthen transitions from early childhood to public Pre-K and Kindergarten — the Improving Transitions from Early Childhood Settings into Pre-K and Kindergarten Pilot.

As part of the pilot project, the partners held a professional development opportunity focused on information sharing with the childcare providers, Head Start Centers, Judy Centers and Pre-K and K public school teachers participating in the Improving Transitions form Early Childhood Settings into Pre-K and Kindergarten Pilot. During the April 4th program, participants were provided an overview of the Maryland’s childcare system, Head Start’s curriculum as well as City School’s Pre-K and K curriculum and assessment. The training created a chance for participants to engage in conversations between their organizations to identify similarities across curriculums and opportunities for deeper collaboration. It was clear from participant feedback that these types of relationship building opportunities and collaboration are invaluable to both early learning providers and public school teachers. This session was only the first step in developing and embedding multi-stakeholder trainings for early childhood professionals into traditional professional development plans.

Raise Awareness About Pratt Summer Reading Program

We know that low income students can lose over 2 months of reading over the summer. In order to help fight the summer slide, we are continuing our partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools and the Enoch Pratt Free Library to increase participation in the Pratt Summer Reading Program to encourage daily reading. City Schools will once again distribute the Pratt Summer Reading log to all rising K-5th graders. We need your help spreading the word about the importance of daily reading over the summer and ensuring the logs are distributed!

Please sign up to notify the schools you work with about the Pratt Summer reading program and make sure the logs are distributed. Our goal is to secure partners in at least 60% of schools to be champions for summer reading. You can use this tool that shows how many students from each school signed up for the program over the past two years and a video of best practices to start a conversation with principals.

Facilitate a Conversation About School Choice

In the last two years, the Fund for Educational Excellence has held community conversations with more than 1,000 Baltimore residents – City Schools students and parents and interested community members – to learn about issues like school-community interaction and college readiness. (See the two reports based on those first two listening campaigns).

In 2016, the Fund is exploring school choice in City Schools with a particular focus on equity and opportunity for all students to attend great schools. You can help the Fund to learn from City Schools students and parents about how they navigate school choice and whether the available options are meeting their needs by volunteering to be facilitator. The Fund anticipates running between 40 and 50 community conversations from May through October and relies on a corps of volunteers to facilitate many of these conversations. (Each conversation is a two-hour commitment).

If you can spare a couple of hours to facilitate a community conversation (or two or three), please complete this survey, and Corrie Schoenberg from the Fund will reach out to you to schedule a time for a quick training session.

Coalition Updates

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

  • Join the Fund For Educational Excellence and more than 40 corporate and community sponsors to honor and celebrate Baltimore City Public Schools principals at the Heart of the School Awards on May 23rd. For tickets or to donate click here.
  • Join the Maryland Book Bank for Books for Kids Day this Saturday, May 7th from 9am-2pm in the parking lot of Poly Western High School. Their goal is to collect over 25,000 new and gently used books for kids in need. For more information, click here.
  • Join the Family League of Baltimore for Assessing the Implications of Parental Incarceration on Families: A Conference to Explore Practices & Policy Solutions That Strengthen Our Communities from June 29th- July 1st. To register or for more information, click here.

Scholastic, Inc. through the Scholastic Reading Club is accepting applications to author James Patterson’s special initiative, to save school libraries. The 2016 program has been funded with a total of $1.75 million available. Applications are due May 31st.