Tahoe-Truckee reading program gets national recognition | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee reading program gets national recognition

Shelly Purdy
Special to the Sun

KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Over the past few years, you may have heard a lot about summer reading programs in the Tahoe Truckee area.

While it might seem obvious that encouraging kids to read throughout the summer will keep them engaged in learning, the fact that students in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District have a variety of structured and fully-supported summer learning programs available to them is quite unique.

The Tahoe Truckee Reads literacy campaign was established in 2011 as a partnership between Excellence in Education, the school district and local youth and health-related non-profits.

The campaign goal is to increase grade-level reading proficiency by focusing on three main areas — school readiness, attendance, and summer learning. Since 2011, measurable progress has been made in each area, particularly in expanding summer learning opportunities.

“Tahoe-Truckee is truly setting the pace for the rest of the communities involved in the Grade-Level Reading Network across the country.”Ron FairchildPresident and CEO of the Smarter Learning Group

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The new summer offerings include reading programs in five low-income neighborhoods throughout Tahoe Truckee, summer school — called Summer Scholars — for at-risk elementary students, K Camp for incoming kindergarteners, Aim High (an academic enrichment program for middle school students), and new this year, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) camp for middle schoolers

The investment the school district and community partners have made in summer literacy is receiving national recognition. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading recently recognized Tahoe Truckee as a Pacesetter Community for the third year in a row. Tahoe Truckee is one of only 38 Pacesetter communities from across the nation given this recognition.

Two representatives from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading visited Tahoe Truckee last month to see the summer learning programs in action and present the community with the Pacesetter award.

"Tahoe-Truckee is truly setting the pace for the rest of the communities involved in the Grade-Level Reading Network across the country. It was so inspiring to witness firsthand the community's commitment to improving reading proficiency for low-income and at-risk kids," said Ron Fairchild, President and CEO of the Smarter Learning Group after he presented the Pacesetter award. "I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the summer learning programs that we visited and the depth of the partnerships between so many individuals and organizations who are working collaboratively to generate better results for children."

"I am proud to share the various programs and services that our community offers to support our youth. Tahoe Truckee truly is unique and it's validating to be recognized for our collective achievements," added Laura Brown, Excellence in Education executive director.

The Excellence in Education Foundation works closely with other local nonprofits and the school district to promote the Tahoe Truckee Reads efforts and keep summer educational opportunities available.

The Foundation is a non-profit organization that enhances public education within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. It provides over $250,000 annually in classroom support through grants, resources, and partnerships that directly benefit students and teachers. Partnerships with business and community make this all possible.

Shelly Purdy is an Excellence in Education board member. Visit ExinEd.org to learn more.