Jackson County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Hires New Coordinator
Contact: Mary Jo Gothard
For Immediate Release
Joanne Evans, a resident of Maquoketa, has been hired as the new Jackson County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR) coordinator. A former social worker, she retired in May of 2017 after teaching second grade for 17 years.
“Before I was a teacher I was a social worker for about 17 years, and I ended up working for the school district on parent involvement programming,” said Evans. Her career experiences have prepared her for her new position with GLR, expanding her reach from a single school district to all of Jackson County.
“We are so excited to have Joanne come in, coordinate the campaign and work with all of our amazing partners,” said Rachel Williams, who oversees Jackson County GLR in her role as youth impact coordinator with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.
In her new role, Evans will make connections with school counselors and principals, help track and improve school attendance, assist with family literacy nights and coordinate plans for Summer Adventure, GLR’s summer enrichment program.
“I’ve worked with young children learning to read for a long time,” said Evans. “I’m looking forward to helping them along and equipping parents with ways to get their kids excited about reading.”
Jackson County GLR was established in December 2015 after a Community Foundation needs assessment determined that programs focusing on summer learning, school readiness and attendance would help children succeed in school.
Since then, the campaign has collaborated with many partners and stakeholders to host community events, distribute books to families, research emerging needs and find ways to address issues in the county related to the education of young children.
“The biggest focus in the past has been on the summer learning,” said Evans. For the past three years, Jackson GLR’s four-week Summer Adventure program, a partnership with schools and other organizations in the county, has provided literacy education and extended learning activities to help combat “summer slide,” when students can actually lose reading abilities while on break from school.
In the 2017-18 school year, only 77 percent of third-grade students in Jackson County read at grade level. During 2017, 72 percent of Summer Adventure participants maintained or improved reading proficiency over the summer break.
Funding for Jackson County GLR is supported by Dave and Penny North through the North Family Foundation and the Community Foundation of Jackson County, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. “I’ve always respected the foundation and I’m very excited to be supporting them in this way,” said Evans.