The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has announced that it is recognizing Southeast Mississippi with Pacesetter Honors for its work in 2019 in the community solutions impact areas of School Attendance/Chronic Absence.
“We applaud the civic leaders and local funders whose time, talent, energy and imagination have fueled progress in these Pacesetter Communities,” says Ralph Smith, managing director of CGLR. “Mobilized communities support our big bet on the problem-solving potential of proximity, and we all have much to learn and emulate from their success.”
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.
“Being recognized as one of the 16 Pacesetter Communities in the United States emphasizes the success occurring in the Hattiesburg Public School District,” says Tracie Fowler, CEO of United Way of Southeast Mississippi. “Increased attendance improves not only third grade reading levels, but graduation rates as well. And our entire community benefits from that.”
The Hattiesburg Public School District is a key partner in the Southeast Mississippi CGLR Coalition and is being recognized for the tremendous strides being taken to improve school attendance. Chronic absence, or missing 18 or more school days in an academic year, can be detrimental to a student’s academic success. HPSD ensures that students and families understand the importance of daily attendance, led by Superintendent Dr. Robert Williams who has signed the Superintendent Call to Action.
Information is shared with students and families at the start of each year through the coalition’s attendance awareness campaign. This messaging, in addition to other district initiatives, has shown great results: chronic absenteeism has decreased by 271 students from the 17-18 to 18-19 school year.
“We are thankful for the support that United Way has provided to Hattiesburg Public School District,” Superintendent Williams says. “As we continue to provide resources to produce better readers, our attendance rate will continue to improve along with our reading proficiency.”
The Southeast Mississippi GLR campaign, led by United Way of Southeast Mississippi, is made up of 23 individuals representing 15 school districts, community organizations and businesses dedicated to the early success of students living in the greater Hattiesburg area.
About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
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 nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. Since its launch, CGLR has grown to include more than 350 communities, representing 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and two provinces in Canada — with 5,000+ local organizations and 510 state and local funders (including more than 200 United Ways). To learn more, visit gradelevelreading.net and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.