The Kansas City community continued to rally around the 3rd grade reading movement in 2017. While we are proud of what we have done so far, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that every 3rd grader in Kansas City has the opportunity to read at grade level or above.
Here are a few highlights from 2017 to celebrate:
The All-American City Award: In June, Kansas City earned national recognition as a recipient of the All-American City Award (AAC) for accomplishments in improving education outcomes for children age 0-8. Kansas City is one of just 15 communities nationwide to receive the award from the National Civic League during Grade-Level Reading Week in Denver, Colorado. A five-time winner of the All-America City Award, Kansas City is cited for reporting measurable progress in school attendance, summer learning and overall grade-level reading for children from low-income families, as well as for exemplary efforts in promoting civic engagement and inclusiveness.
School Readiness: The Early Learning Hub was open for business in January of 2017. It is a place for parents to connect with the resources they need to provide their children with the best possible early childhood experiences. The Hub is a collaborative space where Kansas City’s early learning community can gather to design innovative tools for parents of kids under the age of 5. Located on Hospital Hill (2401 Campbell Street), parents of young children can access free books and other early childhood resources via a United Way funded Success by Six Center.
In the fall, Turn the Page KC began a new longitudinal data project using the LENA Start model and their Digital Language Processors (DLPs). This project, affecting at least 1540 families in Kansas City over the course of 2 years, aims to help close the 30 million word gap for parents and caregivers who elect to participate in the program. Participating families have received “word-pedometers,” (DLPs), developed by the Colorado-based LENA Research Foundation. The DLPs capture an entire day’s worth of conversation in the child’s environment. The DLPs and associated software will enable KC Talks participants to measure adult words count. During weekly cohort meetings, families discuss data collected by the DLP and share in data co-discovery and goal setting.
Community Engagement: At the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading convening in May, Turn the Page KC was recognized for accomplishments in instigating public awareness around 3rd grade reading proficiency. The Campaign awarded Turn the Page KC for exemplary work in social media, photo, video, print collateral, and media story. These recognitions reflect progress towards elevating third grade reading as an economic priority in our city. Business leaders, volunteers, school staff, community leaders, and most importantly, families, are engaged in our efforts to build positive futures for the leaders of tomorrow. Later in the year, Nonprofit Connect recognized Turn the Page KC for having an exemplary website.
School Attendance: In September, Turn The Page KC collaborated with the Kansas City, MO Health Department and the Kansas City, MO Mayor’s Office to host a summit on elementary school suspensions. The summit, prompted by a 2015 study released by The Center for Civil Rights Remedies, identified Missouri as one of the states with the worst suspension disparities between blacks and whites in grades K through 12. At the summit, elementary school leaders were provided with data reports for their schools, as well as recommendations and funding opportunities to help close suspension racial disparities.
Summer Learning: Our summer kicked off with our 3rd annual summer reading celebration at the Sprint Center called Building a City of Readers. Mayor James read, “Let’s Meet a Construction Worker” with local author Bridget Heos to over 1,000 kids.Sponsors, including Hallmark, Mad Science, the Library Systems, JE Dunn, the Builders Association, KC AERC, and Planet Play, provided booths to develop and inspire STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) skills in our young readers. This coming summer we will be hold the event again at the sprint center. Along with this Turn the Page was able to provide summer tutors to kids through the Americorps VISTA program. These tutors were professionally trained and then sent out into the community to be a summer reading tutor and mentor for elementary school students in Kansas City.