3rd Grade Reading Success Matters

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

Worcester, Massachusetts Finalist Summary

Download the Worcester, Massachusetts finalist summary.

Worcester, Massachusetts

The GLR Campaign and National Civic League recognize Worcester, Massachusetts, as a 2017 finalist for the All-America City Awards. A five-time All-America City Award winner, Worcester is cited for reporting measurable progress in 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 Worcester Grade-Level Reading Initiative leverages numerous community partnerships to drive action and measurable progress: In 2012, 60 percent of children participating in Worcester’s Summer Literacy Initiative maintained or gained in their DIEBELS reading scores and by the summer of 2015 the percentage had reached 74 percent. In grade-level reading, the percentage of third graders at Tatnuck Elementary School who scored proficient or higher on the MCAS increased from 35 percent in 2013 to 46 percent in 2016, coinciding with the opening of an in-school community library branch and a “Read 20” messaging campaign. Notably, Worcester is the leading city for refugee settlement in Massachusetts with more than 40,000 foreign-born residents. Through partnerships with a coalition of immigrant communities, education organizations and the Worcester Public Schools (WPS), the Worcester Institute for Parent Leadership in Education was launched last fall with 50 parents graduating by December. Providing contextual information for immigrant and refugee families is critical. Worcester Family Partnership hosts playgroups for families at area laundromats, along with a meal and free laundry, helping to build community ties while also creating access points for young children to engage with educators and the school system. Another community initiative led by UMass Memorial Medical Center, WPS and others identifies meaningful interventions for students with asthma to reduce some of the health determinants that contribute to chronic absenteeism. Services include focused medical treatment and prevention as well as legal aid for home environmental mediation.

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