Improving the quality and accessibility of education in our five-county region is one of the primary areas of focus for the Bold Goals Coalition of Central Alabama. A collaborative network of organizations, agencies and individuals works tirelessly to reach one milestone after another. And now, thanks to its achievements in the category of early learning, the Coalition is earning national recognition.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has announced that it will recognize the Bold Goals Coalition of Central Alabama with Pacesetter Honors at the National Grade Level Reading Week event in Philadelphia this month. Pacesetter Honors highlight communities that are making measurable progress on key indicators of early school success. These communities serve as proof points and represent the “leading edge” of innovation, impact and improvement nationwide.
Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading said, “Recognizing Pacesetters is our way of applauding and thanking the civic leaders, organizations and agencies that have joined forces to build brighter futures for children in their communities. We are learning with them and from them what it takes to move the needle and close the gap. Mobilized communities — like these Pacesetters — are essential to ensuring school success.”
Three of the Bold Goals education action networks are included in the Pacesetter Honors designation.
- The Early Learning Action Network helps pre-existing childcare centers become better candidates for Alabama’s First Class Pre-K grant funds. Using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS), network members assess participating centers to determine the standard of each center’s environment and provision, and to identify steps for improvement. Once needed improvements are made, centers are encouraged to apply for funding and network members work closely with centers through the grant-application process.
- The Attendance Action Network includes education leaders such as administrators and community partners who share the common goal of reducing chronic absenteeism at schools in our five-county area by (1) developing staff capacity to adopt effective attendance practices, (2) using chronic-absence data to determine supports for students, (3) advocating for resources and policies to improve attendance and (4) cultivating a school-wide culture of attendance.
- The Birmingham City Schools (BCS) Network creates collaborative space for school and system-level staff to meet regularly with business leaders and nonprofit partners to better align in-school and out-of-school supports for early-grade literacy. This collaboration has produced a data-sharing agreement that allows nonprofit partners to tailor their in-school and after-school supports to the specific needs of each student based on the most recent in-school reading assessments. The school system has also agreed to give nonprofit partners access to the in-school reading curriculum so that instructional practices can be aligned across all learning settings.
Launched in 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the country to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. To learn more, visit www.gradelevelreading.net.