COLUMBUS, Ohio — Leaders announced new funding for an initiative aimed at improving 3rd grade reading proficiency in Columbus area school districts on Monday.
Success By Third Grade aims to provide resources and access to programs that will help students thrive and set them up for success during the more formative years of their education.
According to Lisa Courtice, president and CEO of United Way of Central Ohio, how proficient a child is at reading by the end of 3rd grade is the greatest predictor of high school graduation.
During the 2018-19 school year, seven of the 16 Franklin County school districts showed reading proficiencies under 75%. Amid the pandemic, Courtice said that number has plummeted.
With that in mind, the City of Columbus and Franklin County have allocated $1 million in funding that will help build community coalitions in each of the participating districts.
Those districts include:
- Columbus City Schools
- Gahanna Jefferson Schools
- Whitehall City Schools
- Goveport Madison Schools
- Reynoldsburg City Schools
- Southwestern City Schools
- Westerville City Schools
“Our goal is to reduce the non-academic barriers for students and their parents and caregivers so that students are better prepared to learn in the classroom,” said Courtice.
Experts have attributed those non-academic barriers to factors like food insecurity, lack of stable housing and mental health services, among others.
“We have a responsibility to support our community’s youth and invest in them,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.
You can learn more about the Success By Third Grade initiative by clicking here.