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Reading proficiency by 3rd grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success. Nationwide more than 80 percent of low-income children miss this crucial milestone.  In 2020, with the support of the Grinnell Education Partnership, the Grinnell-Newburg District reported:




of 3rd graders were reading proficiently



of incoming kindergartners were prepared for school



of summer school students improved reading skills


The Grinnell Education Partnership has been recognized on the state and national level for effective cross-sector collaboration benefitting kids and families. 

  • 2016 Leave It Better Than You Found It Award for highly collaborative community involvement and effective success during its initial stages. (Grinnell-based Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation)

  • 2018 Pacesetter Award for outstanding alignment between private, public, and social sectors to achieve measurable progress in literacy achievement (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2018 Bright Spot for inspirational solutions (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2018 Council of Champions for extraordinary individual contributions. Five community members were inducted into the Council of Champions for their outstanding contribution to the campaign — Sarah Seney, Karen Neal, Chad Nath, Doug Cameron, and Julie Gosselink (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2019 Presidential Excellence Award for volunteerism (International Town and Gown Association)

  • 2019 Pacesetter Award for demonstrating population-level progress in the key progress indicator of grade-level reading proficiency in K-3 for low-income children. Also received recognition for serving as a proof point in strengthening cross-sector collaboration, interagency partnership and community-wide mobilization (Campaign for Grade Level Reading)

  • 2019 Outstanding Nonprofit Collaboration Award for demonstrating excellence in collaborative efforts that increase the effectiveness and efficiency of services with the long-term goal of enhancing Iowa communities (State of Iowa)

  • 2020 President's Engaged Campus Community Partner Award and Community Collaboration Award (Iowa/Minnesota Campus Compact)

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“The Grinnell Education Partnership is an incredible network of organizations and individuals who collectively address community wide needs and solutions. Consisting of more than 20 community partners, we work together to support and enhance local educational programs. Since its inception, the Grinnell Education Partnership has worked to strengthen community connections through creative partnerships. It's truly a community effort!”

—Karen Neal
Drake Community Library Director
“Our school district is lucky to have such a great support system with the Grinnell Education Partnership and the key enrichment opportunities they provide. Equipping our students with more ways to learn not only positively impacts their current growth, but prepares them for life after graduation.”

—Dr. Janet Stutz
Grinnell-Newburg School District Superintendent
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“The Grinnell Education Partnership results are outstanding. The City values local talent and wholeheartedly supports giving our youth a fair chance at success. The statistics certainly speak for themselves.”

—Dan Agnew
Grinnell Mayor
“Grinnell College – together with the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation – supports a network of more than 20 organizations, who serve as community-based innovators, bringing their respective resources, skills, trustworthiness, influence, access and knowledge to the table. Demonstrating measurable improvements in student success, the Partnership has transformed the way the College works with our community’s nonprofits and how those organizations work together especially as they continue to adapt to the current social, economic and health challenges of our time. The College is proud to serve as a backbone agency for this important community wide initiative.”

—Anne Harris
Grinnell College President
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