National Grade Level Reading Campaign
In 2012, Urban Strategies Council (USC) began a body of work that looks at the impact of health on learning in children from birth to third grade. This work uses Urban Strategies Council’s Equity Framework, designed to understand the specific needs and issues of subpopulations. This framework includes a systematic approach to defining equity, using data to inform analysis, engaging the community, and targeting interventions.
The first phase of this work focused on providing tools, information, and technical assistance to the cities applying for the All-American City Award through the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The Campaign for Grade Level Reading is a collaborative effort by dozens of funders and nonprofit partners across the nation to ensure that more of our low-income children succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. For this work, Urban Strategies Council brought together the research around health, learning, and child health disparites to inform the Campaign around this issue. We also developed data profiles for three counties, Alameda, Fresno, and Sacramento, to show relative indicators across communities, among subpopulations, and over time. Prepared with these background findings, the Council developed a tool for the cities participating in the Campaign to think about the health and learning issues in their own cities and with their own unique populations. This tool was presented at the Campaign’s national conference and used in a workshop for cities to develop skills around the issue.
The Role of Urban Strategies Council:
The work has since expanded to broader contexts where the Council continues to provide expertise on the intersection between health and learning in different communities and to help communities learn to apply the Equity Framework in their own context. The Fresno community in particular is interested in using our model to address these issues within the Fresno Unified School district in partnership with local efforts such as Promise Neighborhoods, the Fresno Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and the Central California Children’s Institute.