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Georgia Family Connection Partnership Hosts Get Georgia Reading
Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) became the new host organization of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign this month. Taking over from The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site, GaFCP will lend its established network of local Collaboratives and partners in all 159 counties in Georgia to activate the Campaign in areas where Georgia most needs to get reading.
With Georgia Family Connection at its back, Get Georgia Reading will increase its stride toward its expectation to get all Georgia’s children on the path to reading proficiently by the end of third grade by 2020. Right now, nearly two-thirds of Georgia’s children are not reading on a level they should be.
The Campaign connects Georgia’s public and private sectors, nonprofits, community groups, and advocates that will create the conditions to get kids reading. They will achieve this ambitious expectation by focusing on a common agenda that rests on four pillars to addresses the major drivers of increased reading proficiency:
- Language nutrition: All children receive language-rich, adult-child interactions that are as critical for brain development as healthy food is for physical growth.
- Access: All children have year-round access to learning opportunities and nutritious meals, along with supportive services for healthy development, and quality early childhood and elementary education.
- Productive learning climate: All educators, families, and policymakers understand and address the impact of learning climate on social-emotional development, school attendance, engagement, and ultimately student success.
- Teacher preparation and effectiveness: All educators provide high-quality, evidence-based instruction and effective learning experiences tailored to the needs of each child, regardless of the child’s background.
Within these pillars are realistic, everyday footholds where parents, educators, and leaders can jump in and create more readers. That’s why the relationship between Georgia Family Connection and Get Georgia Reading is a natural fit.
“The Get Georgia Reading Campaign has emerged as a national model for how public-private partnerships can support statewide efforts that affect every single citizen—in this case, improved educational and life outcomes for Georgia’s children,” said Kweku Forstall, The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site director. “Georgia Family Connection Partnership is uniquely qualified to undergird this kind of statewide effort because it has a proven track record for bringing public and private stakeholders together to develop and implement programmatic and policy solutions to issues that have an impact on communities across the entire state.”
The Annie E. Casey Foundation named GaFCP the state’s KIDS COUNT grantee in 2003 to provide a more detailed, community-by-community picture of the condition of children. Grade-level reading has been a piece of that picture for the past 13 years.
“Family Connection was founded on the principal of data-driven decision-making,” says GaFCP Executive Director Gaye Morris Smith. “We’ve been tracking data that describes the well-being of children and families in Georgia since 1996. Becoming the KIDS COUNT grantee reinforced the importance of data to us, and the importance of how we use that data. What we as host organization bring to the Campaign is our statewide reach and strong credibility with our public and private partners.”
Together, GaFCP and Get Georgia Reading apply data, research, and best practices to reimagine the educational and social landscape of Georgia. Children who can’t read by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers, for example. Only 70 percent of Georgia’s students from the class of 2014 received a H.S. diploma. But it doesn’t take a statistic to show that reading is transformative and that it will open young minds for success throughout life. Change can begin rolling slowly through the state with a network of partners supporting a fresh take on how to develop reading rituals for young children, no matter the obstacles they face at home or at school. Reaching out to Georgia Family Connection and its partners will be a catalyst for more of the Campaign’s ideas and objectives.
“GaFCP is a respected public-private partnership that has a Collaborative already in place in all 159 counties that focus on improving outcomes for children and families,” said Arianne Weldon, Get Georgia Reading Campaign director. “One rudimentary way we’re doing this work is to bring the strength of many powerful organizations together over a shared population. Because getting kids to read takes more than good schools, more than great teachers, more than loving parents. It requires every Georgian to play a role. So visit our website to make your promise to Get Georgia Reading.”
Get Georgia Reading Campaign Communications Associate
GaFCP Communications Director