Burien One of 7 South King County Towns Named ‘All-America Cities’

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Burien is one of seven South King County cities, along with Seattle, to be named ‘All-America Cities’ by the National Civic League, for its work with the education-based Road Map Project.

The other six local cities include Auburn, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, SeaTac and Tukwila.

The honor is based on the region’s “ambitious plan to ensure that more children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade,” according to an announcement.

Chosen from a field of more than 100 entries, the proposal for the winning cities was submitted by the Road Map Project, a cradle-to-college-and-career initiative aimed at improving education in South Seattle and South King County.

Burien was one of 14 awardees selected from 32 finalists.

The awards were handed out at the conclusion of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading conference in Denver. Awardees will compete again in 2016 based on results obtained from efforts to improve third-grade reading.

Objectives of Seattle and the South King County cities’ plan include building and sustaining a major regional commitment to improving grade-level reading and developing broad public awareness efforts to make third-grade reading a regional priority. The award also recognizes the impressive accomplishments and work already under way in our area:

  • Let’s Read is a regional campaign that is underlining the importance of summer reading for children through a partnership of cities, districts, libraries, nonprofit organizations and other groups. So far, the campaign has distributed 40,000 flyers at 123 King County elementary schools and enlisted local mayors to record public service announcements. The effort also aims to connect families to library resources, book recommendations and events.
  • Many City of Seattle departments are joining forces with community groups and parents to help improve third-grade reading at Northgate Elementary School. Seattle voters also just passed a new Families and Education Levy, which has a strong focus on improving third-grade reading outcomes.
  • Summer Boost, a new project in Highline, aims to support children’s learning over the summer and connect families to the library system. Families participating in the project are connected with library story times and are given materials and activities to take home.

“We are thrilled to win the All-America City Award. It is an honor to have our region’s ambitious plan for improving third-grade reading recognized on the national stage,” said Auburn Mayor Peter Lewis. “Local efforts, such as Let’s Read, are already boosting awareness of the importance of reading in our communities. All these initiatives are possible thanks to hard work and strong partnerships between schools, cities and families in our region.”

Beyond the award contest, Seattle and South King County’s plan makes the region a charter member in the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Communities Network, a national movement of local and state leaders, nonprofits, and foundations putting a stake in the ground on third-grade reading. That milestone marks the point when children shift from learning to read and begin reading to learn. Students who haven’t mastered reading by then are more likely to get stuck in a cycle of academic failure, drop out of school, and struggle throughout their lives.

The awards are given each year by the National Civic League for outstanding civic accomplishments. Ordinarily, applicants choose their own local projects to showcase, but this year NCL is teaming with the Campaign to encourage community-based partnerships to improve reading proficiency among young students.

“This partnership with the Campaign has been an amazing experience for our All-America City Awards,” said Gloria Rubio-Cortes, president of the National Civic League which has sponsored the award for more than 60 years. “We were overwhelmed by the quality, passion and thoughtfulness of all the action plans submitted by more than 100 cities, towns and regions. There is a real and deep commitment to ensuring that our children are prepared to succeed.”

The 124 cities and counties in the network, representing 350 school districts with 8 million students, are adopting a collective impact strategy, engaging the full community around the goal of supporting low-income children from birth through third grade.

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5 Responses to “Burien One of 7 South King County Towns Named ‘All-America Cities’”
  1. fred says:

    Sounds like this was another one of these awards that the Burien City Staff nominated itself for again. Remember how they nominated themselves for the wonderful animal control model they invented and then Leslie Kasper resigned because the model was so poorly funded and supported by the city. Then there was the award for how wonderful our maps specialist was, the same guy who could not figure our that he was reading an inaccurate King County map to do calculations on areas in the city. I would be curious to see who really nominated Burien for this award. The Summer Boost program mentioned in this article seems to be the work of the Highline School District and/ or the King County Library System and not the City of Burien. Someone feel free to correct me with the real facts. I am tired of Mike Martin and city staff constantly applying for these phony awards as a smoke screen to cover up less than quality work by the city.

  2. elizabeth2 says:

    So Burien was one of seven cities in “South King County” to win – how many cities ARE there in South King County – not many more than that?

  3. Paula says:

    “The award also recognizes the impressive accomplishments and work already under way in our area:”

    Really? “Impressive accomplishments.”

    So what’s next–a National Award if kids show up at school at all?

    Stop wasting time and money on creating ‘programs’ and patting each other on the back and just teach!

  4. Jill-Chloe-Dexter says:

    Why are we awarding schools for doing their job? And why are we striving to make third-grade reading a regional priority? Shouldn’t reading already be a priority – at any level?

    How embarassing is it that there has to be a “Campaign for Grade-Level Reading”? Really, a CAMPAIGN a CONFERENCE and a COMPETITION dedicated to grade level reading? Isn’t reading the absolute basic and fundamental function of a school? WTF?

    Even more embarassing – Seatac and Burien recognized for their accomplishments in this area…there should be no reward given for doing the very basic of function of the job…it should be a given that the kids are reading at their appropriate grade level.

    I certainly don’t get rewarded for doing my job well…I get a paycheck.

    How about an award for excelling at a subject ..how about an award for not striving for mediocrity…how about a reward for a school that does not need to be bribed with a title/reward/money in order to get their studens reading well?

    I’m sorry, but being part of a campaign to get third graders reading at a third grade level is not an accomplishment…it is an embarassment that there has to be such a campaing…


  5. Inside Outsider says:

    What a joke! Let’s all clap our hands, throw confetti and have a party. Whoopee! Our 3rd graders can read at 3rd grade level and we’re getting special recognition? By whom — a bunch of warm and fuzzy do-gooders who don’t keep score, because there shouldn’t be any winners or losers? I’m sick of catering to the lowest common denominator and rewarding THAT group. Reward the kids who do better than average, foster competition and instill ambition to achieve. This is a friggin’ joke to reward mediocrity! I apologize to those 3rd graders who read above their grade level … they have been taught a loser’s incentive ~ fail or underachieve and you will get special attention and you will be rewarded for doing nothing more than what you should have done in the first place. What’s the point of doing better? The joy of winning has been sucked out of generations of kids and now we are getting adults who contribute nothing constructive and feel entitled to food, clothing, shelter, cell phones, tatooes and body piercings at someone else’s expense ~ and if we don’t give it to them they will steal it from us after destroying our homes and/or vehicles and doing physical harm to us and/or our loved ones. There’s nothing wrong with the old addage “No workie, no eatie”.

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