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For Immediate Release  • December 11, 2013
Staff Contact: Linda Kopecky, Bright EYES Coordinator, 303-774-3762

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Longmont Wins National Assistance for Reading Program


December 11, 2013 - Longmont has been selected by the National League of Cities (NLC) to receive technical assistance as part of the Municipal Leadership to Promote Educational Alignment initiative, with the mutual goal of ensuring that our students will be reading on grade-level by the end of third grade. Achievement in reading is strongly linked to academic, economic and personal success.  Children who read on grade-level by the end of 3rd grade have a much higher rate of graduation and college attendance and a much lower rate of  high-risk behaviors and contact with the criminal justice system. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a supporter of this initiative, several factors contribute to achieving reading proficiency, including children being ready when they get to school – cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically – as well as access to high quality early childhood opportunities.

Longmont’s Bright EYES initiative has been providing local leadership in creating a Grade-Level Reading Plan that brings together community stakeholders such as the City of Longmont, St. Vrain Valley Schools, non-profits and private early childhood providers towards the common goal of access to the programs and services that prepare our youngest learners for success once they enter our school system. Our community partnerships are crucial to the success of our children; as Regina Renaldi (Assistant Superintendent of Priority Programs, St. Vrain Valley School District) mentioned in support of the initial proposal: We value our partnership with the City to improve readiness and learning opportunities for all students.

The technical assistance provided by this project is directed at some of the most difficult strategies of our Grade-Level Reading Plan. These strategies include data assessment and collection for all preschool age children including those in private programs, creating a smooth and uniform method for transition to Kindergarten, and understanding more fully the link between the work done in early childhood and youth violence prevention.Bright EYES, part of the City of Longmont’s division of Children & Youth Resources, is a  coalition of early childhood providers, advocates and consumers Not only does Bright EYES oversee the implementation of the Grade-Level Reading Plan, but recently brought 2 nationally known parenting programs to Longmont: Nurturing Parenting and Abriendo Puertas. These 10-12 weeks programs are for families with young children and focus on parent capacity, family communication and participation of the entire family in achieving school readiness and school success.

Other programs of Bright EYES include the Mayor’s Book Club and the Reading League, age- and culturally- appropriate community-based literacy programs that support and complement school-based literacy instruction. The Mayor’s Book Club is especially well-loved and wide-ranging in Longmont; one parent recently commented: My son has improved greatly in his speech while in your program and he absolutely loves books. He also encourages his 2 year old brother to open a book nightly.

NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families is coordinating this 6 city initiative, which will run through December 2014. The project is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation with help from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Other cities selected to receive assistance through the initiative include Austin, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; Hartford, Conn.; Richmond, Va.; and Rochester, N.Y.

For more information on Bright EYES, the National League of Cities, or anything else you have read here, please contact Linda Kopecky, Bright EYES Coordinator, or 303-774-3762.