Council Bluffs received the prestigious All-America City Award for its civic engagement to help more young children from low-income families achieve grade-level reading proficiency and early school success. Council Bluffs was one of just 15 communities nationwide to receive the award from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the National Civic League, which created the program 67 years ago, during Grade-Level Reading Week in Denver, Colorado at the All-America City Awards.
The mayor of Council Bluffs, Matt Walsh, said, “A key component to predicting future student achievement is the level of competency that each student reaches by 3rd grade. In the blink of an eye, our third graders will graduate and enter our local workforce, so ensuring student success ultimately benefits the entire community. It’s great to see so many of our community partners working together to provide opportunities for our students to succeed.”
To select the 15 awardees, a panel of judges examined the self-assessments from the 27 communities that were nominated as finalists. Community Self-Assessments are a rigorous process designed to help communities reflect on what’s working and prepare for the next phase of learning and action.
The 2017 All-America City Award winners are communities that:
•Demonstrated they have moved the needle on outcomes for children from low-income families in at least two of the following community solutions areas: school readiness, school attendance, summer learning and/or grade-level reading.
•Addressed the National Civic League’s key process criteria of civic engagement, cross-sector collaboration, and inclusiveness.
•Created a plan for sustainability and for aligning, linking, stacking and bundling proven and the most promising programs, practices, and strategies.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to have the school district join forces with the city, the Iowa West Foundation, United Way, and Family, Inc. to support "Raise Me to Read." Together with many other supporters, we are making a difference child by child,” said Dr. Martha Bruckner, Council Bluffs Community School District superintendent.
“This is a wonderful recognition of a tremendous amount of work that has happened in the community over the past five years,” said Pete Tulipana, president and CEO of the Iowa West Foundation.
Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” National tests show that two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders (four-fifths of students from low-income families) are not reading proficiently. Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.
To learn more about the AAC Award criteria and to view profiles for each AAC Award recipient, visit gradelevelreading.net/aacaward.
About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Launched in 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, public officials, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. Since its launch, the GLR Campaign has grown to include more than 300 communities, representing 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with more than 3,800 local organizations and 250 state and local funders (including 168 United Ways). To learn more, visit gradelevelreading.net and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.
About the National Civic League
For more than 120 years, the National Civic League has worked to advance good governance and civic engagement to create inclusive, thriving communities. We achieve this by inspiring, supporting and recognizing equitable approaches to community decision-making. Through its signature effort, the All-America City Award and its work on racial healing, sustainability, health equity and fiscal sustainability, NCL supports cities to create a better, more equitable and inclusive future.