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Cobb County Recognized for Work in Supporting early School Reading Success

July 15, 2019

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) announced today that it will recognize Cobb County with Pacesetter Honors for its work in 2018.

“Recognizing Pacesetters is our way of applauding and thanking the civic leaders, organizations and agencies that have joined forces to build brighter futures for children in their communities,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of CGLR. “We are learning with them and from them what it takes to move the needle and close the gap. Mobilized communities — like these Pacesetters — are essential to achieving early school success.”

Each year, CGLR uses its Pacesetter Honors to highlight communities that report making measurable progress on key indicators of early school success. These communities serve as proof points and represent the “leading edge” of innovation, impact and improvement within the Grade-Level Reading Network, currently comprised of more than 300 GLR communities, representing 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Alberta, Canada.

“Through our collaborative initiative and efforts, we are increasing awareness of the importance of reading proficiency and working on collective impact models to provide children with the tools they need to be successful in school,” said Irene Barton, Executive Director of the Cobb Collaborative. “As the local point of contact for the Get Georgia Reading Campaign, we are thrilled with the partnerships and coalition building that we have cultivated. We know that children who are not reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to not graduate from high school, ultimately leading to poor lifestyles choices and health outcomes.” 

The Cobb Collaborative, in partnership with Marietta City Schools, hosted a Get Georgia Reading summit in March which brought together nearly 100 community members to hear from content experts, examine community data and explore the 4 pillar framework of the Get Georgia Reading Campaign. The work will continue into the 2019-20 academic year. In addition, the Cobb Collaborative has collected books for distribution to low-income areas and is actively supporting the expansion of Ferst Readers of Cobb County which increases access to books and also provides ways for caregivers to be engaged in literacy. 

Irene continued by saying: “There are many factors that influence a child’s ability to learn, which means that there is room at the table for a wide variety of stakeholders who are likewise interested in improving outcomes for children and families.   As this Pacesetter designation shows, we’ve made impactful progress and need to continue to mobilize our community by working with our schools, city agencies, nonprofits, civic leaders and parents.”

Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” National tests show that two-thirds of U.S. fourth-graders (four-fifths of whom are from low-income families) are not reading proficiently. Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.

About the Cobb Collaborative

For over 21 years, the Cobb Collaborative has provided infrastructure support, training, networking opportunities, organizational development services, and managerial best practices to its members. It is the local Georgia Family Connection Partner and the point of contact for statewide initiatives around children’s literacy, family health and well-being and thriving communities. The Collaborative works diligently to connect community-based stakeholders to improve outcomes for children and families. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading seeks to disrupt generational poverty by mobilizing communities to promote early school success for those children currently on the high-risk side of the achievement gap. To date, these efforts have helped to spark a “grassroots to governors” movement for ensuring early school success, advancing grade-level reading and reducing chronic absence as important policy priorities. More than 4,100 organizations have formed “big tent” sponsoring coalitions in 300+ communities across 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Alberta, Canada. To learn more, visit and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.

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