Kansas City Mayor James and 30 community partners submitted a letter of intent today to pursue the National Civic League’s All American City Award. “Our City is fortunate to have individuals, community organizations, and school districts who are motivated, experienced, and that we can count as assets,” said Mayor Sly James in the letter.
The focus of Kansas City’s All American City program will be to define, in conjunction with community partners, a strategy to improve grade level reading in Kansas City. School readiness, school attendance, and summer learning are key issues that will be addressed during the joint planning process.
In submitting its letter of intent, the assembled coalition will gain access to technical assistance from the National Civic League, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and National League of Cities to develop a set of programs to ensure students are reading at grade level or above by the end of the third grade.
“It all starts with reading,” said Mayor James, “We recognize that these complex educational issues have existed in Kansas City for a generation or more. However, we are committed to doing everything we can to get our children in a position to succeed. The team I have assembled includes five school districts in Kansas City and will work on creative ways to improve educational outcomes for our students. This is different than what has happened in the past. I am asking the city, the school districts, public, private sectors and non-profits to focus on improving the reading skills of our youngest students. This team is committed to addressing gaps in the education for our youngest students because we know that the earliest years are the bedrock for a successful, fulfilling education.”