In Dubuque, 26% of third-grade students are not reading at grade level. Reading proficiently by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn. Studies show that 74% of students who fall behind in reading proficiency at the end of third grade do not graduate from high school, and research shows that children from low-income households are disproportionately affected. Reaching this milestone is important for both our students’ and our community’s future.
Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
The Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading brings focus to a key predictor of school success and high school graduation: grade-level reading by the end of third grade. The Campaign is a collaborative effort by funders, nonprofit partners, schools and parents to help ensure that more low-income children succeed in school and are prepared for college, a career and active citizenship.
What Has Been Accomplished
Dubuque’s Campaign was formed in 2012 by Every Child/Every Promise and the Community Foundation. Since then, it has successfully built a network of partners addressing three critical areas: summer learning, school readiness and attendance. In 2014 and 2015, the network was named a Pacesetter Community by the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for producing measurable outcomes. Some key accomplishments include:
- Nearly 250 first- and second-graders attended Summer Academy in 2016, and 78% of students maintained or increased reading proficiency.
- New strategies for responding to chronic absence and improved attendance data have led to a measurable decrease in chronic absence at Title I schools, and data is now collected district-wide.
- Northeast Iowa Community College and the school district have partnered to enhance the pathway to a secondary education in early childhood.
- In 2015, the Campaign supported the increase of quality-rated preschools and child care centers in the community enhancing school readiness.
- In 2016, CFGD and the Campaign partnered with Vision To Learn to pilot a mobile vision clinic aimed at improving kids’ vision. Through the program, 178 students were examined and 90 received two free pairs of prescription glasses.
- The Campaign continues to collect and publish shared data to measure progress and inform future work among partners.
What We Are Working On
In 2017, Campaign partners will plan for the future by updating the Community Solutions Action Plan. The network is also competing for an All-America City Award, which required a completion of a self-assessment reflecting on accomplishments, challenges and measurable progress made in the past four years.
Vision To Learn will expand during the 2016-2017 school year to serve 40 schools in seven counties, with the potential to reach more than 700 kids. The mobile clinic will travel to Allamakee, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones counties to provide eye exams and glasses to kids to help them succeed in the classroom.
Summer Academy will take place again in 2017, and additional efforts to improve outcomes for students in summer learning, attendance and school readiness continue as we strive to get more kids reading at grade level by the end of third grade.