Springdale Wins National Award for Efforts to Improve Early Literacy

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The City of Springdale received the prestigious All-America City Award for its civic engagement to help more young children achieve grade-level reading proficiency and early school success. Springdale was one of 15 communities nationwide to receive the award from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the National Civic League.

“We are so honored to receive the All-America City Award, which recognizes the efforts of our entire community and the collaboration of so many organizations, educators, parents and volunteers working together to ensure that all our children can read proficiently and reach their full potential,” said Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse.

“This award demonstrates Springdale's commitment to achieving the state-wide Arkansas Campaign for Grade Level Reading and R.I.S.E. Arkansas (Reading Initiative for Student Excellence) goals to build a culture of reading, educate parents about the importance of reading, increase access to books at home and boost professional development for educators,” said Superintendent of Springdale Public Schools, Dr. Jim Rollins.

Springdale’s "OneCommunity Reads, UnaComunidad Leyendo!" program, which started in 2013, was critical in achieving the All-America City Award.

“When OneCommunity Reads, UnaComunidad Leyendo! launched, its goal was to develop a culture of reading among Springdale School District families, including where Spanish and Marshallese are spoken at home,” said Diana Gonzales Worthen, Chair and Co-founder of OneCommunity. “This award signals the progress we have made towards the grade-level reading impact areas through enhanced parent engagement, reduced chronic absences and decreased summer learning loss. It takes all of us to move the needle — we are grateful for the many organizations and individuals who have worked so hard on behalf of the children and families of Springdale.”

To select the 15 All-America City Award winners, a panel of judges examined self-assessments from the 27 communities that were nominated by National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading as finalists. Community self-assessments are a rigorous process designed to help communities reflect on what’s working and prepare for the next phase of learning and action.

The award recognized Springdale for exemplary progress to support student and parent success in the Springdale School District. Through community-wide partnerships, Springdale has:

  • Reduced chronic absenteeism rates by nearly 70 percent at Monitor and Parson Hills elementary schools. In Arkansas, a student is defined as chronically absent when they miss 18 or more days of school per year. Both elementary schools moved the needle by informing parents about the importance of good attendance, monitoring attendance data monthly for patterns and trends, establishing a positive and engaging school climate, and reaching out to parents proactively and personally when a student misses school.
  • Increased the percentage of children experiencing no summer learning loss among rising first through fourth graders from 81 percent in 2014–2015 to 89 percent 2015–2016 at George and Jones elementary schools in part to OneCommunity’s Feed Your Brain program. Through Feed Your Brain, students have the opportunity to read bilingual books and learn reading techniques to encourage learning over the summer months.
  • Increased parent engagement through the Parents Taking Leadership Action program, which provides parents interactive lessons in their native language aimed at strengthening parent-school communication, increasing educational awareness and enhancing the leadership potential of parents from diverse populations.

To learn more about Springdale’s success, read their community profile on the award website.


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On Wednesday, June 21, the Moonshot Rocket Bus stopped at Parsons Hill Elementary on its national tour to promote literacy. 


On June 21, the Moonshot Rocket Bus stopped at Parsons Hill Elementary on its national tour to promote literacy. Parsons Hills is a Feed Your Brain program participant. Moonshot Moment was founded by the Indian River, Florida Campaign for Grade Level Reading, another local grade-level reading peer community. 

Check out press coverage of the All-America City Award and the Moonshot Rocket's stop in Springdale:

In Springdale, OneCommunity Reads is supported by the City of Springdale, Springdale Public Schools, The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and the Arkansas Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

This fall, the community-wide attention on reading will build with the introduction of the new “Springdale Reads” campaign, part of ForwARd Arkansas, which is a partnership between the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and the Arkansas State Board of Education.

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 students from low-income families) are not reading proficiently. Only 31 percent of Arkansas students are reading proficiently by the end of third grade. Students who have not mastered reading by third grade are less likely to complete high school or college.

To learn more about the All-America City Award criteria and to view profiles for each All-America City Award recipient, visit gradelevelreading.net/aacaward.