Campaign for Grade Level Reading



In partnership with the Hellman Foundation and the California Endowment, the Richmond Community Foundation established the West Contra Costa Literacy Coalition in 2015.  The Coalition is a collaboration of of literacy service providers, librarians, educators, parents, foundations, businesses, public agencies, the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD), and other community partners committed to the goal that all children in West County read at grade level by the time they finish third grade.

The Coalition aspires to support academic achievement, reduce the achievement gap, and facilitate the collaborative efforts of direct service providers in three key areas of need: Early Learning, Attendance, and Out of School Time.

In July of 2016, the Literacy Coalition conducted a community scan about early literacy supports in West Contra Costa County. The information collected will be used to shape the Coalition's efforts towards advocating for resources that are calibrated to match West County's early literacy needs.

The Literacy Coalition conducted outreach to community providers, including West Contra Costa Unified School District, community based organizations, and other service providers about early literacy opportunities offered to families with children up to age 9, with the goal of understanding notable gaps that would complement the Coalition's forthcoming needs assessment. 

On September 21, 2016, the WCC Literacy Coalition presented the results of our community Needs Assessment, focusing on gaps in summer and after-school literacy programs for children 0-9 years old in West County. The results of our Needs Assessment can be found below. To see the power-point presentation from the event (and data in more detail), please download the presentation here.*

*Access the file without signing into Dropbox, by clicking on "No thanks, continue to view" at the bottom of the sign-in box.



literacy readingThe end of 3rd Grade marks the point when children transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Children who read proficiently by the end of 3rd Grade are more likely to graduate from high school and be college and career ready.

Unfortunately, many children, especially those living in low income families, have not met the developmental milestones necessary for future success in school or life. Low income children are also more likely to miss out on high quality early learning experiences, which can help mitigate these delays.

The conventional six hour, 180-day school year is insufficient to adequately educate many students in urban public schools. Simply adding hours and days to the schedule will not eliminate the problems unless children are engaged in programs that include activities known to boost learning. That said, the Coalition recognizes that academic achievement is a year round activity that embraces Out of School Learning to include after school and summer learning programs.

Click to learn more about Summer Learning Loss 

Coalition Members: 

 Contact  Organization
Alisha Fowler Bloom Educational Enrichment
Alison McKee  Hercules and Crocket Libraries
Bertha Romo Youth Services Program Coordinator, City of San Pablo
Betsy Merzenich*  Hellman Foundation  
Betty Burris-Wright City of Richmond Human Rights Commission
Beverly Roberts Charles Writer Coach Connection 
Blanca G. Esparza Teacher
Consuelo Lara Retired Teacher
Cristal Banagan* Learning Out Loud Educational Community 
Dedan JiJaga Richmond Grinders Track Club
Demetrio Gonzalez WCCUSD - Teacher
Diana Lin Occupational Therapy Training Program-SF
Diana Aranda The California Endowment
Dulce Torres Tandem Partners in Early Learning
Eric Aaholm Youth Enrichment Strategies
Erica Goode* RCF Board Member
Gia Paolini Contra Costa Library
Gabi Rivas First Five Contra Costa
Genoveva Calloway City of San Pablo Councilmember
Gloria Scoggins BlackBoard/RCF Board Member
James Becker Richmond Community Foundation 
Janet Scott Director of Early Learning, WCCUSD
Jennifer Caban Tandem Partners in Early Learning
Joel Mackey The Ed Fund
Kathleen Maloney Irene S. Scully Foundation 
Katie Melara* Contra Costa Child Care Council

Katy Curl

Richmond Public Library
Kristen Turek Marin Community Foundation
Laura Rodriguez Tandem Partners in Early Learning
Lucy Parada Tandem Partners in Early Learning
Lyn Potter West Contra Costa Unified School District
Maureen Powers Gemstone Foundation
Mialisa Bonta* Bring Me A Book/Literacy Lab
Michelle Torgersen Reading Partners
Neal Bottom WCCUSD - Teacher
Nicole Kyauk* East Bay Community Foundation
Olanrewaju Ajai* Coordinator of Early Learning WCCUSD
Pamela Mirabella CCC Office of Education
Pat Loomes Girls Smart Literacy Program 
Qiana Washington Washington & Associates
Robert Bunce* The Ed Fund
Robin Wilson* West County Reads
Rochelle Monk  City of Richmond
Ron Shaw Youth Service Bureau
Ruth Major* Read Alound Volunteer Program
Sandra Stewart Administrative Librarian, City of Richmond
Shabnaz Yousefia* Richmond Community Foundation
Sherry Drobner* Literacy for Every Adult Program
Shirley Kalinowski REading ADvantage
Sonja Neely-Johnson* Director of Educational Services WCCUSD
Teodora Ildefonzo-Olmo Community Services Coordinator/Community Schools Initiative, City of San Pablo
Tyler Hester Teach for America
Zulema Inai*  Literacy Lab

 To join the Coalition or receive more news regarding the Grade Level Reading Campaign This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

* = Steering Committee Member


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1014 Florida Ave, Ste 200
Richmond, CA 94804

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(510) 234-3399