Richmond Selected To Participate In National Initiative To Help Young Children Succeed

The City of Richmond has been selected by the National League of Cities (NLC) to receive technical assistance as part of a national initiative to increase the likelihood that city children will achieve educational success demonstrated by reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Researchers, practitioners and policymakers increasingly believe that a more seamless educational pipeline that addresses a range of academic, behavioral, health and family issues could serve young children more effectively. Through the Municipal Leadership to Promote Educational Alignment for Young Children initiative, Richmond will receive practical guidance as it takes steps to implement and improve educational alignment from PreK to 3rd grade. 

NLC will provide cities with customized assistance, access to best practices and national experts, and opportunities for peer learning as they develop or enhance a plan for educational alignment and work with stakeholders from across the community. Emphasis will be placed on collaboration among city agencies, school districts and PreK organizations.

 “I am extremely pleased that Richmond was selected by the National League of Cities to participate in the Municipal Leadership to Promote Educational Alignment for Young Children initiative as I believe our city can benefit immensely and the NLC can benefit from the work we have done here in Richmond,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones.

In August, Mayor Jones announced that the Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Commission would continue its work as the Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty. The Maggie Walker Initiative is comprised of seven task forces to include the Early Childhood Education and Parental Engagement task force and the task force addressing Adolescent Transitions. These two task forces are already in place and will directly benefit from the technical assistance offered through the NLC Educational Alignment initiative.

Richmond also has the Grade Level Reading coalition and the Out of School Time Standards coalition. Bridging Richmond, based at Virginia Commonwealth University, is assisting these coalitions and is positioned to offer data analysis to assist with the NLC initiative. Mayor Jones stated, “We want to move ideas from concept to a discernible action plan to implementation. I am committed to do all I can to reach the implementation stage as quickly as possible as our children deserve every opportunity to obtain a brighter future.”

NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families is coordinating the six city initiative, which will run through December 2014. The project is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation with help from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Other cities selected to receive assistance through the initiative are Austin, TX; Fort Worth, TX; Hartford, CT; Longmont, CO; and Rochester, NY.

The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. The Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, a special entity within the National League of Cities, helps municipal leaders take action on behalf of the children, youth, and families in their communities.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions where vulnerable children can realize their full potential in school, work and life.