3rd Grade Reading Success Matters

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Dubuque, Iowa Finalist Summary

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Dubuque, Iowa

The GLR Campaign and National Civic League recognize Dubuque, Iowa, as a 2017 finalist for the All-America City Awards. A three-time All-America City Award winner, Dubuque is cited for reporting measurable progress in school attendance, summer learning and overall grade-level reading for children from low-income families, as well as for exemplary efforts in promoting civic engagement and inclusiveness. Building on a history of community-wide visioning and strategic planning, the campaign for grade-level reading in Dubuque was developed with inputs from students, parents and educators, as well as leaders from nonprofits, business, government and philanthropy. Partners in the campaign come from every major institutional sector in the community — education, government, business, nonprofit, faith and philanthropy. The mayor and city council have made third-grade reading a priority in the city’s strategic plan for each of the past five years, while the school district has also identified third-grade reading as a strategic priority. The local GLR effort receives strong support from the Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation recently began tracking third-grade reading as one of its success indicators. Continuous outreach to new partners and groups has ensured that diverse perspectives are brought to the network. As a result of the efforts of the local campaign, the number of kindergartners who were chronically absent in five Title I schools fell from 14.5 percent in 2014–15 to 9.5 percent in 2015–16. Results from the Summer Academy showed that 64.9 percent of low-income students maintained or improved reading scores in 2016 compared with 56.3 percent in 2015. At the end of the 2015–16 school year, 59 percent of low-income third graders scored at the proficient level in overall grade-level reading compared with 53 percent the previous year.

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