Delray Beach, FL
The Delray Beach, FL, Grade-Level Reading Campaign is recognized as a 2014 Pacesetter for making measurable progress in summer learning. The community implemented multi-year summer reading programs at local camps, with support from the school system to administer pre- and post-reading assessments in 2012 and 2013, serving nearly 600 students. The assessments revealed an 11% increase in number of students assessed as “early fluent” (from 28% to 35%) or “fluent” (from 12% to 16%) readers.
Since 2012, Delray Beach has worked with several organizations to implement summer reading programs at local camps. In the summer of 2013, an arts integrated reading curriculum — that combines reading a book out loud with a craft project — was added into daily activities at five summer camps, two run by the city, three run by a nonprofit. Approximately 600 students received the same two hours of integrated academics four days a week during the eight-week summer camp. The camp was provided for free to 120 students at a particularly high-needs elementary school, thanks to $200,000 worth of resources provided by a collaborative local partnership. The kindergartners also received five books via the city’s Kindergarten Backpack program to take home over the summer to build their home libraries.
The Delray Beach GLR Campaign reaches approximately 1,900 low-income children. The city-focused GLR Campaign has a data-sharing agreement with its county-run school district, the Palm Beach County School District, one of the nation’s largest. In partnership with the district, the local Campaign regularly tracks the following summer learning indicators as key measures of its overall impact on student outcomes: percent of children from low-income families who participate in pre-K high-quality summer learning opportunities that include a literacy or pre-literacy component; percent of children from low-income families who participate in a summer reading program; and percent of children from low-income families who participate in summer meals programs.
Reflecting on the community’s progress since it joined the Campaign in 2012, local GLR Lead, Janet Meeks, commented, “It’s amazing that in a short three years we have made so much progress to stem summer learning for so many low-income children. We could only identify 150 children that were attending a program that included a meaningful academic component in the summer. That number has grown to over 600 children and we’ll be growing that number again in 2105.”
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading proudly recognizes the shared ownership for the progress in Delray Beach among the following members of the local sponsoring coalition:
- City of Delray Beach
- Delray Beach Education Board
- Delray Beach Public Library
- Achievement Center for Children and Families
- The Center For The Arts at Old School Square
- The School District of Palm Beach County
- The Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce
- Palm Beach County Human Services Division
- The Palm Beach County Children’s Services Council
- Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County
- Pine Grove Elementary School
- Orchard View Elementary School
- Village Academy
- Plumosa School of the Arts
- Amtrust Bank