San Antonio’s campaign to improve reading proficiency among its youngest students has been recognized as a 2013 Community Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, an honor that reflects the energy, mobilization and creativity that the local community has brought to this important work.
“This recognition highlights that we’re making good progress toward preparing San Antonio children for academic success,” Mayor Julián Castro said.
On July 2, 2012, San Antonio was selected as one of 14 All America City communities for its plan to ensure proficient readers by the end of third grade.
“We are honored to receive this special recognition,” said Rey Saldaña, City Council Member, Council District 4, and Chair of the Educational Excellence Committee, a Subcommittee of the San Antonio City Council. “This acknowledgement is a reminder of our city’s continued commitment toward improving education within our community.”
Through this award and continued commitment to the Campaign, the City of San Antonio is now one of 140 communities working with the GLR Campaign, a nationwide movement of local leaders, states, nonprofits, and foundations putting a stake in the ground on third-grade reading. The communities are adopting a collective impact strategy, engaging the full community around the goal of supporting low-income children from birth through third grade.
Acknowledging that schools alone cannot address all the challenges that keep children from learning to read, the City’s Department of Human Services in collaboration with community partners and local non-profits developed a plan to ensure that all San Antonio third graders are reading at grade level by 2020. Partners include: United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, P16Plus Council, Family Services Association, Avance, University of Texas Science Health Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, City Year San Antonio, Excel Beyond the Bell, Harlandale ISD, KLRN San Antonio, Literacy San Antonio, San Antonio Public Library, Valero, Boys & Girls Clubs, Edgewood ISD, Girls, Inc., HEB, Kronkosky Foundation, Northside ISD, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio Youth Literacy, University of Texas at San Antonio and YMCA.
The work done through the Campaign included the development of an Attendance Awareness Coalition, formed to help increase city-wide school attendance to improve SA2020 Indicators – Kindergarten Readiness, 3rd Grade Reading, College and Career Readiness, and High school Graduation, among others.
San Antonio described its work, challenges and lessons for other communities on the GLR Campaign website’s Tell Our Story page.
“We are impressed and inspired by what San Antonio has accomplished so far,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and a senior vice president at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “With its commitment, resourcefulness and collaborative spirit, the City of San Antonio truly is setting the pace and providing a model for communities across the nation who are seeking to give more children from low-income families a chance at a brighter future."
San Antonio is one of 37 Pacesetters named for 2013.