Quad Cities, Iowa and Illinois
The GLR Campaign and National Civic League recognize Quad Cities, Iowa and Illinois, as a 2017 finalist for the All-America City Awards. Having previously won an All-America City Award, Quad Cities is cited for reporting measurable progress in school readiness, school attendance and overall grade-level reading for children from low-income families, as well as for exemplary efforts in promoting civic engagement and inclusiveness. With eight school districts and five different city governments located along the Mississippi River in two separate states, cross-sector collaboration and coordination in the Quad Cities has been important to achieving results for the area’s children. In 2012, representatives from 18 local organizations came together to focus initially on school readiness and other strategies. Since then the coalition has worked to establish a community-wide data warehouse, which houses individual-level identified data from all eight local school districts and is working toward incorporating data from local social service agencies. This has helped to clearly establish community-wide benchmarks to measure progress on a range of issues. To inform its messaging and engagement with parents, the coalition organized Community Conversations focus groups with parents. As a result of its GLR efforts, between fall 2012 and 2016, the percentage of children in low-income neighborhoods assessed with the Kindergarten Skills Inventory who were ready for kindergarten increased from 74.3 percent to 80.4 percent. The chronic absence rate for K–3 students at three elementary schools decreased from 21 percent in 2014–15 to 14 percent in 2015–16. Reading scores for third graders in the Bettendorf Community School District (one of the partner districts in the collaborative) increased from 73.5 percent proficient in 2014–15 to 78.9 percent proficient in 2015–16.