Three Georgia Counties Receive Annual Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Pacesetters Honors

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Colquitt, Seminole, and Whitfield Counties Recognized for Achieving Measurable Progress in Advancing Early Literacy

The Campaign for Grade-­Level Reading (GLR) this week announced its fifth Annual Pacesetter Honors. Colquitt, Seminole, and Whitfield counties in Georgia are among the 48 communities across the nation recognized as Pacesetters for “leading by example” to solve one or more of the challenges that can undermine early literacy—school readiness, school attendance and summer learning.

“Recognizing the Pacesetters is our way of applauding the civic leaders, organizations and agencies that have joined forces to build brighter futures for the children in their communities,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. “We are learning with them and from them what it takes to move the needle and close the gap. Mobilized communities—like these Pacesetters—are essential to closing the achievement gap.”

This year’s Pacesetter Honorees:

Pacesetters are part of a nationwide network of more than 300 GLR Campaign communities, representing 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Campaign communities are dedicated to narrowing the achievement gap between children from low-­income families and their more affluent peers. According to the U.S. Department of Education, that gap has widened significantly in recent years, with 80 percent of children from low-income families failing to read proficiently in fourth grade compared with 49 percent of their more affluent peers. Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a milestone on a child’s path to high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.

The 2016 Pacesetter communities will be formally honored at the Funder Huddle held June 13-14, 2017, during Grade-Level Reading Week in Denver, Colorado. Pacesetters will receive a certificate and special recognition banner to showcase their award throughout their communities.

“We’re proud of our pacesetter counties,” said Gaye Smith, Georgia Family Connection Partnership executive director. “Low achievement in reading translates to struggles in school and lifelong health issues. Children who grow up without reading skills struggle to be productive adults and are costly to our state in terms of remediation and Georgia’s ability to compete in a global economy. Our Get Georgia Reading Campaign partners are redesigning Georgia’s approach to language and literacy instruction to get every child on the path to literacy. This is a daunting task, but we can succeed, because we’re  working together in our own communities where new ideas come to life.”

To learn more about the Pacesetter Honors criteria and to view profiles for each Pacesetter Honoree, visit

Bill Valladares
GaFCP Communications Director
[email protected]

Ernestine Benedict
[email protected]


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