Caitlin Pemble spoke to the club on the mission of Pittsfield Promise to assure the education and reading abilities of children zero to five years of age in Pittsfield.
Pittsfield Promise makes the city a charter member in a national movement of local leaders, nonprofits and foundations focusing intently on third-grade reading proficiency. Education experts recognize that third grade marks the point where children shift from learning to read and begin reading to learn. Students who haven't mastered reading by the end of third grade are more likely to get stuck in a cycle of academic failure, to drop out of school, and to struggle throughout their lives.
The city-wide Pittsfield Promise has set a goal to have at least 90% of Pittsfield third graders reading at grade level by 2020. Ty Allen Jackson then told the club that to meet this goal, it first needed to create its plan and then develop strategies. Through this – it was named an All America City Award from the Campaign for Grade Level Reading in July 2012 for its ambitious plan to ensure that more children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade.