Providence selected as 2013 Community Pacesetter


Providence Selected as 2013 Community Pacesetter for Efforts to Promote Grade-Level Reading

National honor recognizes collaborative campaign to ensure more low-income students are reading on grade level by the end of third grade

– Providence was named a 2013 Community Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading today based on the Capital City's work to ensure that more low-income children are reading on grade level by the end of third grade. The honor reflects the energy, mobilization and creativity that Providence has brought to its grade-level reading campaign.

"Achieving reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a key predictor of academic success later in life," said Mayor Angel Taveras.  "Our Providence Reads campaign is focused on reducing chronic absenteeism, expanding summer learning opportunities and ensuring that our English Language Learners have the additional support they need to be successful in the classroom."

Providence is one of the 140 communities working with the Grade Level Reading (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 community around the goal of supporting low-income children from birth through third grade.

Providence has set an ambitious goal to increase grade-level proficiency for students entering fourth grade to 70 percent by 2015. Only 46 percent of Providence fourth graders were reading on grade level at the beginning of 2011. Research shows that low-income children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are up to 13 times more likely to drop out of school.

In November 2012, Mayor Angel Taveras, Providence's Children and Youth Cabinet (CYC) and Providence Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi launched Providence Reads, an initiative in partnership with more than a dozen businesses and organizations to increase grade-level reading, promote school readiness, improve school attendance and support summer learning in Providence.

"We are impressed and inspired by what Providence 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 a collaborative spirit, Providence truly is setting the pace and providing a model for communities across the nation that are seeking to give more children from low-income families a chance at a brighter future."

Providence is one of the 35 Pacesetters named for 2013. The Capital City was also named a Pacesetter in 2012, was named an All-America City by the National Civic League, and its public education efforts have been recognized by the White House Office of Faith Based Initiative, America's Promise Alliance, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.