The Dubuque Campaign for Grade-Level Reading was recognized for making measurable progress on summer learning and overall grade-level reading proficiency for children from low-income families. In 2016, 246 students attended Summer Academy, a program facilitated by the Dubuque Community School District geared toward students not reading at grade level. Results showed that 64.9% of low-income students maintained or increased their reading proficiency, compared to 56.3% the year prior. Overall, 78% of students attending Summer Academy maintained or increased reading proficiency.
In the area of overall grade-level reading proficiency, Dubuque has also made gains with both low-income students and the student population as a whole. At the end of the 2015-2016 school year, 59% of low-income third graders in the Dubuque Community School District were proficient readers, compared to 53% the year prior. Grade-level reading proficiency also increased for all third graders from the 2014-2015 to 2015-2016 school year, climbing from 71% to 73%.
The Dubuque Campaign was also recognized for its efforts to use data to identify and serve its most vulnerable children through expansive cross-sector collaboration.
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 whom are from low-income families) are not reading proficiently. Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.