“The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) included Lane County, Oregon among its 2018 Community Solutions Pacesetters. According to Ralph Smith, managing director of CGLR, “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.”

Lane County was recognized as a pacesetter in two categories: building stronger data systems and focusing on funder collaboration.

Better Data Demonstrates the Impact of Early Education

The data sharing system implemented in Lane County will allow United Way of Lane County, the Lane Early Learning Alliance, Head Start of Lane County, Early Childhood CARES, and five local school districts to track students’ preschool experiences, helping to demonstrate the impact of early childhood programs over time.

“This data sharing … will help us understand better how pre-Kindergarten experiences impact children and prepare them for school as they enter kindergarten as well as longer term outcomes with third grade reading and math scores.”

New Funding Allows for Program Expansion

The Kids in Transition to School (KITS) program, local to Lane County, has been shown to improve school readiness skills for participating children.

“The KITS program … boosts children’s early literacy, numeracy, self-regulation, and social skills just prior to kindergarten through 24 school readiness classes, 12 parent/family workshops, and extensive professional development sessions for school staff.”

The program has received funding from the State of Oregon’s Department of Education, a federal social innovation fund, and community and national foundations. In 2018 the program served 450 children and their families at 25 elementary schools.

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The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a national initiative that seeks to disrupt generational poverty by mobilizing communities to promote early school success for those children currently on the high-risk side of the achievement gap.

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