The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading announced today that it will recognize Newport, Rhode Island with Pacesetter Honors for its work in 2017.

“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,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading in a press release on Thursday. “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.”

Each year, the GLR Campaign uses its Pacesetter Honors to highlight communities that report 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 within the GLR Network, currently comprised of more than 360 GLR Campaign communities, representing 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.

“Through our collaborative initiatives and efforts and our Newport Grade-Level Reading Campaign, the Newport Public Schools has been working with families, community partners, and several agencies developing models to help ensure year-round, before and after school supports for our students. Our summer programs are thriving and continue to help maintain and grow our students’ reading levels during the summer months. Newport Hospital and our pediatric physicians are sharing books with families of newborns and young children, our Newport Public Library along with the Boys and Girls Club, Martin Luther King Center, Baby Steps, Parents as Partners and the RI Department of Health – along with so many more are there rolling up their sleeves assisting teachers and parents to make literacy one of our top priorities.  We are working with everyone – being One Newport for all students.” said Colleen Burns Jermain, Superintendent of Newport Public Schoolsin the press release.

In Newport, the Campaign initiated in the Newport Public Schools, works with other partners helping to support these efforts towards the goal of grade level reading.  Partners such as the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the Prince Charitable Trust, Saving Institute Bank and Trust (formerly Newport Fed), the Herbert E. and Daisy A. Stride Memorial Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation Newport County Fund, the East Bay Community Action Program, the Newport Community School and Bank Newport all play a role directly and indirectly through collaborative efforts.

City agencies and community groups led by Newport Public Schools, the Newport Partnership for Families, the Boys & Girls Club of Newport, the Newport Housing Authority, the East Bay Community Action Program, Newport Hospital, RI Department of Health, Newport Child and Family Opportunity Zone, Child & Family, Chartwell’s Food Service, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Newport Health Equity Zone, RI Kids Count, RI Association for the Education of Young Children, and the Center for Early Learning Professionals are working together using a multi-pronged approach to help all children in literacy.

The plan focuses on addressing the three underlying challenges that can keep young children, especially those from low-income or stressed families, from learning to read proficiently:

School readiness — too many children are entering kindergarten already behind so the plan addresses the importance of pre-K and 0-3 initiatives
School attendance — too many young children are missing too many days of school; school attendance impacts ability to read
Summer learning — too many children are losing ground academically over the summer
Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” National tests show that two-thirds of U.S. fourth-graders (four-fifths of whom are from low-income families) are not reading proficiently. Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.