Newport, Rhode Island
The GLR Campaign and National Civic League recognize Newport, Rhode Island, as a 2017 finalist for the All-America City Awards. Newport is cited for reporting measurable progress in school readiness and school attendance for children from low-income families, as well as for exemplary efforts in promoting civic engagement and inclusiveness. The Newport Campaign for Grade-Level Reading was launched in 2015 in coordination with the Newport Data in Your Backyard presentation, an annual event hosted by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. This event attracted representatives from more than 60 organizations and stakeholder groups that are part of the local GLR campaign’s broad and diverse coalition, including a state senator, several city council members and leaders of major community organizations, such as the Newport Public Schools, Newport Partnership for Families, East Bay Community Action Program, Child & Family, Boys & Girls Club of Newport, Newport Public Library, Newport Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center, Reach Out and Read Rhode Island, and the van Buren Charitable Foundation. The community has the highest percentage of affordable housing in the state and has made the Newport Housing Authority a key partner in its GLR campaign effort. Through the Walking School Bus program, community partners, volunteers and university students help walk students to school from nearby housing communities, while also working with the housing authority to ensure that sidewalks and pathways are clear of snow after winter snowstorms. As a result of Newport’s GLR efforts, child outreach developmental screening rates for 5-year-olds increased from 31 percent in 2014–15 to 51 percent in 2015–16. During the 2012–13 school year, 17 percent of students in grades K–3 were chronically absent, compared with 11 percent in 2014–15.