NC Campaign for Grade-Level Reading communities from across the state gathered recently in Raleigh to share what’s working, as well as their challenges to build a strong foundation so more NC children are reading on grade-level by the end of third grade. The 13 rural and urban Campaign communities in NC lead collaboratives to support children’s academic success. Knowing this work requires an “all in” attitude, school systems, local Smart Starts, congregations, libraries, PTAs and more make up the collaboratives.
Campaign communities identified data use as a top area of interest for shared learning at the meeting. Munro Richardson, Executive Director of Read Charlotte and NCECF board member, started the morning with a presentation outlining three, easy-to-remember areas for data use:
- Data for impact – to show the results of our work
- Data for action – to improve the quality of our work
- Data for learning – to better learn how the world works
Munro provided real-life experiences from Read Charlotte’s work, including how they use data to show the impact of their summer literacy programs, and improve how they provide tutoring. Common data myths were also addressed. Data doesn’t answer everything, or solve all our problems. Simplicity is often best.
Three community leaders from Guilford, Moore, and Orange counties also shared from their experiences on a panel. They described how their collaborative’s measure their short-term wins that contribute to long-term, hard-to-move outcomes, like grade-level reading. They also talked about their use of data platforms, partners and qualitative data. Discussions continued in small groups on different topics such as using data to measure school readiness, and to address racial disparities in their communities.
At the end of the meeting, participants were asked “what’s one next step you will take in your community as a result of what you learned today?” Responses include:
- Reflect on how we are using data to show impact, affect action, and continue learning.
- Work with school systems to share Diebls data between K and 1st grade.
- Follow-up with team about own challenge/success with data.
- Simplify data strategies.
- Look at how we present data to community.
- Change how we talk about school readiness and how we measure it.
Since 2015, the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation has led the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in NC. The Campaign is mobilizing communities to ensure that more children from low-income families succeed in school. It is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders and government agencies. Across the country there are more than 300 communities, including state and local organizations and funders who have joined the effort. Visit NCECF’s website to learn more about the NC Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.