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Indian River Honored as a Pacesetter for Early Literacy Work

 


School District of Indian River County

Mark J. Rendell, Ed.D., Superintendent

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

CONTACT:            Flynn Fidgeon, PIO

Phone: 564-5527            

 

 

DATE: March 9, 2016    

 

SUBJECT:  Indian River Honored as a Pacesetter for Early Literacy Work

Indian River County has been honored as a Pacesetter by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for making measurable progress on eliminating barriers faced by children from low-income families on the path to becoming proficient readers.

 

“Pacesetter Honors are among the highest awards presented by the Campaign,” said Ralph Smith, the managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “We are very proud of Indian River County and the numerous organizations and individuals behind them for joining forces and working tirelessly to uplift children and families. They remind us that we are seeing great progress and real results all across the country."

What we should be proud of is that the culture of this community has changed to be one of collaborative learning and innovation,” said Barbara Hammond, Co-Founder of The Learning Alliance. “All who work on this across the community and within schools are to be congratulated.”

“This is quite a big deal,” said Dr. Mark Rendell, Superintendent of the School District of Indian River County.  “It’s not a School District award, it’s a community award.”

 

In Indian River County, the Campaign is supported by The Learning Alliance, the Education Foundation of Indian River County, Indian River Community Foundation, The United Way of Indian River County, Literacy Leaders of Indian River County, The Early Learning Coalition, Kindergarten Readiness Collaborative, Vero Beach Museum of Art,  Big Brothers Big Sisters and AmeriCorps Programs, Gifford Youth Achievement Center, Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County, Fidelity Investments, Ray Oglethorpe, Riverside Children’s Theatre, Indian River Chamber of Commerce, Smart Baby Ambassadors, Childcare Resources of Indian River, Feed the Lambs, School District of Indian River County, and many more literacy leaders in the community.

 

Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and success in later life 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 whom are 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.

 

“If we’re going to close the achievement gap, we need mobilized communities – like these Pacesetters – working with schools, city agencies, nonprofits, civic leaders and parents to focus on third-grade reading,” Smith added. “These Pacesetter communities inspire us to believe that great things can happen when all of us support parents, care providers, and educators, as they work to ensure more hopeful futures for our children.”

 

This year, 38 Pacesetter communities will be honored at an annual awards luncheon during the Campaign’s 2016 Funder-to-Funder Huddle in Washington, D.C., on April 7. Each Pacesetter will receive a certificate and special recognition banner to showcase their award throughout their communities.