New Britain Early Childhood Collaborative Explains How Local Students Can Make the Grade

Recent Goal Setting Session of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading Addresses New Britain’s 2nd to Last Ranking in 3rd Grade Reading Scores

On January 26th, the New Britain Early Childhood Collaborative (NBECC) held a goal setting session at City Hall with political leaders, educators, non-profits and representatives from the Community Foundation which houses and partially funds NBECC.

The facts are daunting for sure.
  • Only 42 percent of New Britain’s 775 third-graders read at a third-grade level. The state average is 74 percent. This ranks New Britain students as 2nd to last in the state. Bridgeport ranks last.
  • Students who don’t read at grade level by the third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma.

“Establishing ambitious, time specific goals is a key step towards accomplishing big things,” said Merrill Gay, NBECC Director. On the 26th, the gathered community leaders set the goal that by 2020 the percentage of New Britain’s 3rd graders reading at grade level will exceed the state average. The group also set the interim goal of exceeding the average of the other urban school districts by 2015.

While reading instruction falls primarily to the school district, the Collaborative has identified three key areas of work to support the district in their efforts to improve student reading ability. Those areas are: readiness for kindergarten, reducing chronic absence from school and reducing summer reading loss. Goals were set to make sure that by 2020:
  • Every 4 year old has access to a full day preschool program (by 2015 at least a half day program)
  • Chronic absence is reduced to 5% of the student body, and
  • Students start school in the fall reading at least as well if not better than they did the previous spring.

NBECC’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading has received funding from The William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund, The Children’s Fund of CT, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the State Department of Education and the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain.

You can follow the progress of the Campaign and support NBECC’s efforts through their web page hosted on the CFGNB site here and at the NBECC Facebook page.

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