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Worcester Honored as a Pacesetter for Early Literacy Work

Kim Davenport 508-792-0220

Publication Date: 
April 5, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Kim Davenport
(508) 792-0220
KDavenport@edwardstreet.org

Patrick Lowe
(508) 439-9359
Patrick.Lowe@umassmed.edu

WORCESTER HONORED AS A
PACESETTER FOR EARLY LITERACY WORK
Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Recognizes Worcester as Exemplary

WORCESTER, MA (March 29, 2017) – Worcester has been honored as a Pacesetter community by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for exemplary work using proven and promising strategies as well as for its work in addressing the health determinants of early school success. This recognition comes as part of the review of Worcester’s 2017 All-American City Award application which was submitted in January.

“Pacesetter Honors are among the highest awards presented by the GLR Campaign,” said Ralph Smith, the managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “We are very proud of Worcester and the numerous organizations and individuals behind the community 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."

“Worcester is on the move. We are seeing the momentum across the city. Even more exciting is that we are changing the trajectory for our youngest citizens. This Pacesetter Award recognizes our strategic collaboration to address key issues that can impede a child’s success,” said Kim Davenport, Co-Chair of Worcester Reads and Managing Director at Edward Street. “We are making progress and need to deepen our efforts to mobilize the entire community to support children and families, and finally close the achievement gap. Children are, after all, the heart of our Commonwealth.”

“Children make up 20 percent of our population, but 100 percent of our future. Everything we do now to improve their lives will improve our community for generations to come,” said Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. “I’m so honored that Worcester has been recognized as a leader in this area. By bringing together city government, public schools, social service agencies, doctors’ offices and families, we have been able to impact the lives of thousands of young people, and that’s something to be proud of.”

“UMass Memorial is pleased to be a part of efforts to improve school attendance and aid in the success of students in the classroom,” said Monica Lowell, Vice President Community Relations, UMass Memorial Health Care. “In addition to reducing Emergency Room use and hospitalization, the city-wide Prevention and Wellness Trust Pediatric Asthma Intervention program co-chaired by UMass Memorial Medical Center, targets reducing high rates of school absenteeism among high-risk asthmatics. Dental pain due to decay is also a leading cause of school absenteeism and UMass Memorial’s Ronald McDonald® Care Mobile provides preventive dental services to children in need across the City of Worcester.”

In Worcester, the local GLR campaign is led by Edward Street Child Services and Worcester Education Collaborative. Worcester Reads is a coalition of more than 20 organizations, early learning programs, schools and funders focused on engaging children and families to read, talk, play and sing together. Reading 20 minutes a day makes all difference. Founding sponsors included Edward Street Child Services, The Fuller Foundation, The Hanover Insurance Group, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and Worcester Education Collaborative. Significant support for the Summer Literacy Initiative comes from Greater Worcester Community Foundation, United Way of Central MA, Worcester Public Schools, and the City of Worcester.

Members of the 2016 Leadership Worcester program led the effort to bring the Worcester education community together to apply for this year’s All-American City Award. The application process included a community meeting with over 40 attendees from organizations such as: Worcester Public Schools, Worcester Public Library, United Way of Central Massachusetts, Family Services of Central Massachusetts, Worcester Education Collaborative, Worcester Family Partnership, Worcester Community Action Council, Head Start, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Reach Out and Read, Worcester Reads, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Worcester Regional Research Bureau and Greater Worcester Community Foundation.

Patrick Lowe of Leadership Worcester and Kim Davenport of Worcester Reads and Edward Street Child Services prepared the application. All-American City Award finalists will be announced in early April and winners announced in Denver, CO in June, 2017. Worcester is a five-time All-American City having last won the award in 2000.