Read On Phoenix

Mayor Stanton Speaking to School ChildrenWe know that education is the key to building a strong future economy. That's why I'm proud to join Councilman Daniel Valenzuela to launch Read On Phoenix. Together we will engage parents, businesses and our community to improve third-grade reading proficiency through school readiness, summer learning opportunities, after-school literacy and volunteerism. 

Phoenix is battling a literacy crisis. Of the 25 school districts serving elementary students in Phoenix, only eleven have 70 percent or more of third grade students passing the AIMS Reading Test in 2012. And study after study shows that if our kids are not reading by the third grade, they are more likely to continue struggling, less likely to graduate high school and will not meet the expectations of the 21st-century workforce. At the heart of Read On Phoenix is a challenge. The Dbacks and I are challenging everyone - adults and kids - to read 100,000 books together this summer so we can make sure every child in this city is reading by the third grade. 

With partners like Valley of the Sun United Way, the Dbacks, Read On Arizona, the Phoenix Public Library and other city departments, Read On Phoenix will offer some great programs such as:

  • My 100,000-Book Challenge encourages families to collectively read by reaching the goal of 100,000 books.
  • 20,000 Library Card Drive to get parents and kids signed up for library  cards.
  • Eight-week summer reading programs for children, teens, and adults.
  • Ready to Read workshops for parents and caregivers to learn how to develop early literacy skills in young children.
  • Summer recreation programs for youths ages 6-12 years that features a variety of recreational activities, educational guest speakers, and nutrition education. 
  • Lego Clubs and Science Explorers classes at local libraries for afterschool literacy enrichment. 
  • Family Reading Events at local libraries and after-school sites. • Million Minute Volunteer Reading Challenge to encourage parents and caregivers to read to young children and track their minutes. 
  • Teen Reading Volunteers trains teens to be library volunteers to implement the summer reading program. 
  • Variety of structured classes in local community centers for children birth to five that provide educational activities for positive child development and interactions between caregivers and their children that include arts, sciences, child development, nutrition, gardening, music, and physical activity.

Check out all the great Read On Phoenix events and programs at at the Read On Phoenix website. 

Mayor’s Education Roundtable 

With mayors from across our state, I formed the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable, pledging to work together with their local school district and with other community leaders to prepare students to be college and career ready.

Eight mayors from across the state agreed that the future economic strength of the state is tied to the ability of all young people to have the skills necessary to perform in a 21st century workforce. 

The organization received initial funding from the Helios Education Foundation and will be supported by WestEd, a research, development and service agency. Mayors, who typically have limited opportunities to become involved in their public schools, will have the chance to share ideas, learn from peers and experts, and participate in discussions—among each other, their staff members, school superintendents, school district leadership and community members. 

Founding members of the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable include Stanton, along with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, Gilbert Mayor John Lewis, Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Miami Mayor Rosemary Castañeda, Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath, Sahuarita Mayor Duane Blumberg, and Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. 

Phoenix Great Start Program 

The Phoenix Great Start Program consists of two components. It provides a parent guide to early brain development and its importance for kindergarten readiness. The guide focuses on the first three years of a child’s life with an emphasis on Language and Literacy, Thinking Skills, Self-Control and Self-Confidence. It also includes a list of suggestions by kindergarten teachers and child development experts that a new kindergarten should master before beginning their school experience. 

The second component provides a list of 10 things every child who enrolls in kindergarten at the Balsz Elementary School District should experience during the summer before starting kindergarten. The list of “10 things” includes a free pass to cultural institutions such as the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Science Center, the Pueblo Grande Museum, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center (ALAC), the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum and the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix. 

In addition there’s a recommendation to visit their elementary school and get a City of Phoenix library card. 

School Safety 

In my state of the city address, I said we would work with public and charter school superintendents to address the issue of school safety. Together with the Chief of Police and school administrators we discussed successful school safety practices, additional preventative measures, remaining problems and possible solutions. The Phoenix Police Department will continue working with Phoenix schools to further the dialogue and implement mutually agreed strategies to address school safety. 

Degree Phoenix 

This is a City of Phoenix partnership with the Maricopa Community Colleges, Phoenix Union High School District, and Valley of the Sun United Way. The goal of this initiative is to increase Latino graduation rates by 20 percent by 2016. I serve as an honorary tri-chair along with Dr. Rufus Glasper, MCCD and Dr. Kent Scribner, PUHSD.

Faculty Exchanges

Degree Phoenix is taking the lead in bridging crucial communication gaps between partners. Faculty exchanges between Maricopa Community College and Phoenix Union High School District faculty have been established to better prepare students for success in college, beginning with math. The curriculum produced from the exchanges will be aligned to state Common Core Standards as well as college-level math and will be ready for implementation as early as spring 2014. Plans are under way to develop similar articulation exchanges in English. 

College Access

For the first time, PUHSD’s senior class (beginning with 2013) will receive a community college acceptance letter. Focus groups conducted with Latino youth reported not knowing whether they had been accepted to college, especially community colleges, or what steps to complete in the college enrollment process. The letter will serve as the initial welcome to the student and will delineate the necessary steps to complete the enrollment process.

Degree Phoenix Summer Bridge Programs

The community college summer bridge programs are giving students a boost. Participating students receive a stipend upon successful completion but end up with so much more. Besides math preparation, students are mentored and armed with college success strategies. With an 86-percent success rate, the colleges are exploring ways to expand. 

Career Workshops

In May 2013, a collective effort between SRP, Gila River, Friendly House, Tumbleweed, AWEE, JAG, United Way and Degree Phoenix held a “Teen Career Forum.” More than 330 youth participated in this full day event. Career workshops included resume writing, interviewing skills, a work-place fashion show and much more. 

UNAM Phoenix 

In response to expressed interest by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), City Manager David Cavazos, Councilman Michael Nowakowski, Consul General of Mexico Victor Treviño and I discussed establishing a UNAM Phoenix campus in Phoenix. UNAM Phoenix has expressed an interest in professional and educational development opportunities in Phoenix, and other academic programs and services to institutions, groups and individuals.