Cromwell and Hamden, Conn. (October 11, 2012) — The Discovery 2012 Stone Soup Conference unites communities and advocates from across Connecticut who support early childhood and literacy programs for children from birth through age nine. As part of the annual event, the State of Connecticut was honored by the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading as a Pacesetter. Ralph Smith, Vice President, Annie E. Casey Foundation, presented the award to Commissioner Stefan Pryor in front of more than 300 attendees.
“It is a tremendous honor for Connecticut and its communities to be recognized as Pacesetters,” said David M. Nee, Executive Director, William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, which spearheads the Discovery Program. “This award is a tribute to those who tirelessly dedicate themselves to helping each and every child in this state achieve their learning potential, regardless of their circumstances.”
The Pacesetter Honor recognizes states that are "leading by example" to solve one or more of the challenges that can undermine early literacy: chronic absenteeism, summer learning loss and a lack of school readiness. Connecticut’s efforts provide other states with promising models to replicate, as well as inspiration for working toward their own creative solutions.
“From small towns to your capital city, Connecticut has become a model of what a state should do,” said Ralph Smith, the Campaign’s managing director and a vice president at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Your governor and state house have advanced thoughtful legislation on early literacy, with tireless support from the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and the state Commission on Children. Your cities and towns are working collaboratively to ensure more low-income children learn to read well by the end of third grade. Connecticut's stellar philanthropic institutions also deserve credit for providing both patient capital and consistent support.”
During his remarks, Smith also recognized the 13 Connecticut communities that are charter members of the Grade-Level Reading Community Network: Branford, Bridgeport, Bristol, Chaplin, Danbury, Hartford, Meriden, New Britain, Norwalk, Plymouth, Torrington, Vernon and Winchester.
Commissioner Stefan Pryor, who accepted the Pacesetter Honor on behalf of the State of Connecticut, commended attendees for ensuring the success of children in each of their communities from cradle to college and through their careers.
In addition to the presentation of the Pacesetter Honor, the Discovery 2012 Stone Soup Conference featured professional development sessions for attendees on topics including marketing communications, childhood obesity prevention and inspiring parent involvement.
About the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund / Discovery 2012
The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund works collaboratively to improve education for Connecticut’s children by supporting school change, informing the public debate on educational issues, and strengthening the involvement of parents in the community in education. Its Discovery initiative aims to effect community change and policy reform that will create an early childhood system that ensures early learning success for all children. To learn more, visit www.wcgmf.org.
About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to ensure that low-income children succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on the most important predictor of school success and high school graduation—grade-level reading by the end of third grade.