New Britain, Connecticut
The GLR Campaign and National Civic League recognize New Britain, Connecticut, as a 2017 finalist for the All-America City Awards. A previous winner of the All-America City Award, New Britain is cited for reporting measurable progress in school readiness, 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. The local campaign is led by the Coalition for New Britain’s Youth, which is a citywide group that includes parents, educators, government officials, health and social service agencies, and others as members committed to improving the lives of New Britain’s youth, birth through age 24. The New Britain GLR Campaign reaches approximately 5,000 low-income children in a school district of roughly 10,000 students. When it first started its work in 2001, the coalition pursued a two-pronged strategy of (1) mobilizing parents to advocate for more school readiness funding from the state and (2) working with preschools to plan for additional classrooms. As a result, New Britain has made the following measurable progress: From 2013 to 2016, the percentage of low-income kindergarten students scoring in Performance Band 1 on the NWEA Reading Assessment increased from 30.4 percent to 41.8 percent. The percentage of low-income first-grade students who were chronically absent dropped from 25.1 percent in 2011–12 1to 13.3 percent in 2015–16. The percentage of third-grade students from low-income families who participated in the Summer Enrichment Experience and who did not experience summer reading skill loss improved from 36.3 percent in summer 2014 to 60.7 percent in summer 2016. Similarly, New Britain saw an increase from 35.7 percent in spring 2014 to 45.7 percent in spring 2016 in the percentage of second-grade students achieving reading proficiency.