Why Early Literacy Matters
The Commit! Partnership has prioritized its 3rd grade reading indicator because of its outsized impact on student’s long-term academic trajectory. Nationally, fewer than one in five children who are reading below level in 3rd grade go on to college, hindering their chances to realize the opportunity to generate ~$600,000 more in lifetime earnings vs. a high school graduate or dropout.
In 2014-15 in Dallas County, 36% of 3rd graders read at grade level, with a wide achievement gap between students who are economically disadvantaged (29%) and those who are not (59%). Our community cannot meaningfully strengten its cradle-to-career education pipeline without first building strong readers by 3rd grade.
Dallas County Snapshot: 3rd Grade Reading
Only 30% of 3rd grade students in Dallas County read at a level that indicates they are on track to be prepared for success in college
There is a 28% gap in reading proficiency between non-economically disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged 3rd graders
Only 22% of 3rd grade students in South Oak Cliff and Molina feeder patterns read on a level indicating they are on track for college
Around 97% of the 3rd grade students we work with in South Oak Cliff and Molina feeder patterns qualify for free and reduced lunch
Learn What We’re Doing About It
In close collaboration with other districts, community leaders, volunteers and local businesses, the Partnership is working in the following areas related to early literacy: data-driven support, quality instruction, school culture and public-private partnerships.
Data Driven Support
Learn how we use data to help leaders pinpoint opportunities to enhance student outcomes.
DataOnce a month, we meet with principals to analyze early literacy data (including usage data of the IStation reading curriculum) to identify both areas of strength and opportunities.
Leveraging data to identify professional development opportunities for teachers.
Quality Using student data, we paired up with Teach For America to deliver professional development in early literacy to campus instructional coaches across all 14 campuses.
The Commit! Partnership is working closely with Dallas ISD and community partners to support principals, instructional coaches, teachers, parents and students within 14 elementary schools educating over 8,400 students in the South and West Oak Cliff areas of Dallas. Our goal is to create a successful pilot program that increases literacy proficiency in Kindergarten through the 3rd grade which can be replicated throughout Dallas County.
Ensuring education beyond high school is an aspiration for all of our children.
School CultureWe organized 200+ volunteers and raised $150,000 to set up ~750 classroom entries (within 28 Dallas ISD schools) with college décor and inspirational quotes.
Public Private Partnership
Supporting partnerships between private high schools and public elementary schools.
PartnershipsCommit! is supporting connections between 10 private schools and 18 Dallas ISD elementary schools. To date, over 12,000 volunteer hours have been donated as a result of the partnership.
Aided by the Boston Consulting Group, the first steps in creating a model for change in early literacy was seeking examples of outlier success while controlling for poverty. Our “Hope Charts” helped us demonstrate that demography was not destiny and that there were, in fact, a number of schools helping all students achieve. Visits to these schools helped us understand what practices they were employing that could be replicated in other schools.
What Collective Impact Looks Like
Supporting implementation of a strategy co-developed with the Boston Consulting Group, the early literacy network is working together to convene principals monthly to analyze data, convene instructional coaches monthly to deepen knowledge around literacy practices and also to develop and implement action plans aimed at strengthening parent engagement at these 14 schools.
Initiatives Partner Organizations Have Collaborated On
Community-Wide Resource Drives for Classrooms
Established A SOC/Molina Teacher Reading Academy
Campus Enhancements Through Equipment and Installation of Leveled Libraries
Early Literacy News and Events
Dallas is at the forefront of a national movement to reverse summer learning loss – a critical challenge given research showing that low-income students, on average, experience more than 2 months’ loss in reading achievement [...]
Summertime is when the opportunity gap grows widest; some children have access to summer learning experiences while far too many do not. And these hours of learning loss add up, year after year. In Dallas, [...]
Nationally, low-income students lose two months of reading proficiency in the summer. And every year, this “summer slide” loss adds up; research finds that two-thirds of the achievement gap among high school students is attributable [...]
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