SPRINGFIELD – The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) has announced that Springfield is one of 20 communities across the nation to be named a 2022 All-America City (AAC) finalist, a coveted honor created 73 years ago by the National Civic League. CGLR has also announced that Springfield is one of 22 communities nationally to be named a Pacesetter finalist for exemplifying extraordinary vision and best practices for their 2021-22 efforts in early school success.
This year, the All-America City Award will recognize communities that are committed to improving the prospects for early school success and equitable learning recovery for the hundreds of thousands of children whose families are served by the nation’s public housing agencies and affordable housing organizations. Springfield is the only community in Massachusetts to be named an All-America City finalist.
Reading Success by 4th Grade (RS4G)—the city’s community-wide reading proficiency initiative–partners with the Springfield Housing Authority to work with families in public housing on early literacy strategies through the Talk/Read/Succeed program. Talk/Read/Succeed also engages families where they are to help with early school success.
This year’s AAC finalists are located across 15 states and represent the diversity of American communities, from large urban centers to rural towns. Finalists will present their community’s work to a panel of jurors, network with other finalists and take part in learning and engagement opportunities through a series of virtual sessions from July 19–21, 2022. AAC recipients will be formally announced and honored at a closing ceremony on July 21. The AAC Awards will be held in conjunction with GLR Week 2022, CGLR’s annual conference.
To be named a Pacesetter finalist, Springfield proved to have emphasized the seven “Must Do Priorities” through their work for early school success: Stop playing catch-up; end chronic absence; reverse the summer slide; address health-related challenges; equip parents to succeed; advance grade-level reading and math; and slow learning loss and accelerate equitable learning recovery.
Submissions for Pacesetter Honors called for specific examples of ways communities are engaging to fuel progress in early literacy. Springfield was chosen as a finalist for RS4G’s work to equip Springfield families with more than 30,000 books in 2021, during the height of the COVID pandemic. RS4G partnered with the radio station 94.7 WMAS to hold a two-day giveaway event at the Basketball Hall of Fame. RS4G also held book giveaway events outdoors at the Mason Square Library and other community locations where families could walk or drive up to receive free books.
Springfield was also recognized as a Pacesetter finalist for RS4G’s inaugural Building Bridges Conference, which convened more than 500 Springfield educators virtually for the first-of-its-kind professional development conference for early educators. The second annual Building Bridges Conference was held in March of 2022, and will continue to be an annual event.
Communities across 12 states are considered for Pacesetter honors. From the finalist group, CGLR will announce those selected for Pacesetter Honors on Thursday, July 21, during GLR Week. Springfield has previously received seven Pacesetter Honors by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The City was previously recognized in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and 2019.
According to Chrissy Howard, Manager for RS4G, “I’m so proud of the work we’ve done in Springfield, and that we’ve approached all of our work with an equity lens.”
RS4G has engaged a coalition that includes the early childhood education community, the business community, legislators and community organizations, the Springfield Public Schools, Springfield Housing Authority, medical and behavioral health providers, as well as the funding community.
CGLR is a collaborative effort by funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. CGLR focuses on promoting early school success as an important building block of more hopeful futures for children in economically challenged families and communities.
About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
Since its launch in 2012, the GLR Communities Network has grown to include more than 350 communities, representing 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and two Canadian provinces — sponsored by 5,200+ local organizations, institutions and agencies and supported by 500+ state and local funders, including 200+ United Ways. To learn more, visit gradelevelreading.net and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.
About the National Civic League
National Civic League’s mission is to “advance civic engagement to create equitable, thriving communities.” The National Civic League was founded as the National Municipal League following a gathering of civic leaders in 1894. This respected group of about 100 community leaders, including Teddy Roosevelt, Louis Brandeis, and Frederick Law Olmstead, came together to address “incompetence, inefficiency, patronage and corruption in local governments.” Local civic leaders needed inspiration and new models for governing and managing the nation’s cities.
During the next 120+ years, the National Civic League led major reforms in the way local communities were governed, including the professionalism of city services, the creation of the city manager system, the nonpartisan makeup of many local elected bodies, electoral reform and inclusive civic engagement. No history of American politics and civic engagement would be complete without a chapter on the National Civic League. National Civic League achieves its mission through community assistance; research and publications; and awards and recognition.
About Reading Success by 4th Grade
Read! Reading Success by 4th Grade is a broad coalition of leaders in education, child development, business, philanthropy and government working towards the goal of all of Springfield’s children reading proficiently by the end of third grade. To learn more, visit www.readby4thgrade.com.