Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) has announced its 2017 All-America City Award Finalists, and tomorrow it will announce the winners at an event in Denver, Colo.

“Each year, the All-America City Award, America’s oldest and most prestigious community recognition, is given to communities that exemplify outstanding civic accomplishments,” CGLR’s website says. “In 2017, NCL and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will recognize communities that have made measurable progress for low-income children on the key drivers of early reading success.”

We’re proud to note that two of this year’s finalists are Springfield and Worcester.

“Springfield has been recognized as a Community Pacesetter for making measurable progress in school attendance, summer learning and overall grade-level reading for children from low-income families,” according to a press release.

“The GLR Campaign also acknowledges Springfield’s impressive work to prioritize children and families in public housing. Its program with the Springfield Housing Authority, Talk/Read/Succeed! targets families with children from birth through age 9,” and it is “designed to support parents as their children’s first teachers…”

“Sally Fuller, project director for Springfield’s Reading Success by 4th Grade, says the city’s collaborative initiatives have ‘brought the entire community together to move the needle on grade-level reading proficiency for Springfield’s third graders.’”

Springfield’s focus is on “two critical and intertwined strategies that promote healthy development for all children: 1) Aligning community systems and 2) Building the professional capacity of those who impact children’s lives every day, from program director to parent to educator.”

And in Worcester:

“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.”

“Worcester has always been an All-American City,” said Patrick Lowe of Leadership Worcester, the community lead on the 2017 application. “We’ve won this award five times in the past, but this year’s award is special. We brought together a tremendous team from the community – young leaders, teachers, funders, early childhood educators – to rally around this award and celebrate the tremendous programs in our City focused on improving early education.”

The Massachusetts Municipal Association explains that, “The 2017 applicants will be evaluated on whether they’ve made progress in at least two of the key drivers of early reading success: school readiness, school attendance, summer learning and grade-level reading.”

Good luck to Worcester and Springfield.